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Franklin Roosevelt

By jurcuyo Mar 26, 2014 750 Words

1. Did Roosevelt’s upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans? Explain your answer.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 to a wealthy father and mother. They had educated him of the different social classes, including the wealthy and the poor. In other words, they told him that since he was wealthy, he would have to help support the poor population, whether it was public service or direct relief. Up until the fourth grade, private tutors taught Roosevelt the elementary topics. Afterwards, he was exposed to the public school system. He then realized that he had the gift of socialization. His teachers had described him as ‘the popular kid’, mainly due to his successful communication skills. Roosevelt had more time to build on this skill when he went to Groton, a boarding school in Massachusetts. The goal of this school was to provide “intellectual, moral, and physical development” for the students. It was more successful to carry out its goals due to its small class sizes, consisting of about twenty students. Life was not easy there though. Groton had a busy, structured schedule, including academics, athletics, and chapel. Roosevelt had fit in, even though he was not the most successful student, or the best athlete. He was still very social due to his outgoing nature. This school had nearly everything needed for a successful student. The only issue was the annual tuition, which was 500 dollars. At the time, this was a very significant amount of money. It was about twice the amount of money that the average American family lived on in a single year, including food, clothing, and necessary accessories. The only way Roosevelt and the other students were able to afford the Groton was because their families were some of the most elite and powerful families in the United States.

Roosevelt had graduated from Groton in 1900, and moved to go to college at Harvard to study law. This was the first time that Roosevelt had a chance to live his life to the fullest, mainly because he was not being constantly monitored. He had lots of extra time on his hands, so he began to fill it with other extracurricular activities, such as by becoming the editor of the Harvard school newspaper. On the other hand, Roosevelt began to do less and less work. One of his professors commented that Roosevelt had “little aptitude for the law.” Later, he moved on with his luxurious life to the Columbia Law School. Shortly after, he passed the bar exam and dropped out of law school. Roosevelt had even worked on public service, remembering what his father had taught him about the poor. After the service, he was the New York State Legislator for three years. From then until 1920, Roosevelt would achieve one of his goals of becoming the Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson. A few years afterwards, Roosevelt was the New York Governor until 1932. It was then when he ran for president, but that comes later.

In 1931, President Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio, where he had lost complete use of his legs. He was able to make it more positive by viewing it as a political asset. When he ran for president in 1932, he clearly showed his persistence and ability to overcome anything, including paralysis. One commentator claimed that Roosevelt “would probably make the weakest President of the dozen aspirants.” Proving the commentator wrong, Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1932 and had pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, successfully.

In the end, I would say that Roosevelt’s upbringing, background, and character did make it easy for him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans. His father had taught him that being wealthy meant that he also had the responsibility of helping people who were not so lucky. This stuck with him and influenced life decisions later in life, but he was always aware of the poor and needy. Since Roosevelt was not in that category, he sympathized with those who did not have his luxury of a childhood. Lastly, Roosevelt’s diagnosis of polio had mad a large impact, not only on his two legs, but also on his view on life. He was then able to understand the worries, fears, agonies, and the pains of the elderly, the sick, and the handicapped. In result, Roosevelt was able to turn around the United States and propel it out of the Great Depression.

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