When we analyze Presidents of the past and ask who are the most famous, or who did the best job while in their terms many tend to choose some of the much older Presidents. Many immediately refer to Presidents like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, however in today’s world is it fair to say that these Presidents would have done the same under the pressure of some of our modern day Presidents? While we may never know the answer to such a question is important to honor some of the great Presidents of the 20th century. When we honor the Presidents of the 20th century it is important to look at all of the achievements that these Presidents both foreign and domestic. When we speak of some of the great Presidents of the 20th century when easily refer to the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy. It is these four presidents that have changed not only the United States but the world in their efforts as President of the United States.
First we look at Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is thought that FDR is the most influential President of the 20th century. FDR came from a wealthy family in New York that held him high standards. He was the only child of James and Sara Roosevelt that instilled in him the ideals of gentlemanly conduct and civic responsibility. (Greenstein, 13) Although Franklin’s father passed away when he was in his first year at Harvard; and from that point on his became the focal point in his life. Sara was very much in control of the things that Franklin did including his finances well into his married life. However, it was another member of Franklin’s life that propelled him into doing his best in life, it was his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt. It was TR’s political career that that Franklin tried to model his own political career afterwards. First he was to strive to be governor of New York, then as the United States came upon its worst financial crisis since the founding, FDR then decided to run for the ultimate goal of President of the United States. It was on the ticket of his “New Deal” that would save the nation. He was elected with 57 percent of the popular vote and 89 percent of the Electoral College. (Greenstein, 15) From the first words spoken in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration speech through his first one hundred days FDR was an optimistic and creative leader that tried almost everything that he could do to get the United States out of the depression. His leadership is demonstrated through his inauguration speech as well as his first three fire side chats. These speeches gave the US people hope that he was working for them, and working to build the United States stronger so that it would be unable to fall deeper into depression. FDR then went on to explain to the American public that “Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” This line was spoken truly from Roosevelt knowing that he was going to have to be very creative to pull his great nation from the depression. His first concern was to put the unemployed back to work. He saw the way to fix this problem was to ask Congress to open government programs which to help the working man create some sort of income for his family. While many that were working on their own farms it was hard to not produce, so the call for redistribution was order and farmers were ordered wither to cut the production of their crop or asked to start growing something new so that the market would not be so flooded and prices would one again even out. Since restarting the American workforce was the primary concern Roosevelt felt to bring the US out of the depression, international trade was to take a back seat until the economy was once again stable. The first step to creating a more stable economy was to declare a state of war within the US so that he could use the appropriate powers. In order for America to...
Cited: Greenstein, Fred I. The Presidential Difference - Leadership Style from Fdr to George W. Bush. New York: Princeton UP, 2004.
Leuchtenburg, William E. In the Shadow of FDR : From Harry Truman to George W. Bush. New York: Cornell UP, 2001.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. "FireSide Chat." White House, Washington D.C. 7 May 1933.
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