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What Is the Most Important Event in Us History Between Civil War and Today?

By madysonnelee May 24, 2011 1107 Words
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidency

What is the most important event in US history between the Civil War and today? I could say that it is the Great Depression, the downfall of the economy. I could say 9/11 a shock to the US that had started an 8+ year war. But I won’t, I think the most important even is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidency. When Franklin Roosevelt became President on March 4, 1933, America was a nation in despair. The Great Depression had left millions of Americans out of work. Franklin Delano Roosevelt took immediate action to end the crisis and to inspire Americans to overcome their fears. As the chaos of war spread across the world, FDR prepared the country for the challenge and ultimately led a grand coalition of nations against the Axis Powers. He served as President for over 12 years, longer than any other person, during the two greatest crises of the 20th Century. Those crises were The Great Depression, which he led America out of, and World War II. Herbert Hoover was the President during the Great Depression; however Franklin Roosevelt was the President who brought America out of the Great Depression. When Herbert Hoover was only 8 months in office, the stock market crashed and that is what started the Great Depression. The stock market crashed, because of margin buying and buying and selling stock for a quick profit. After the stock market crashed, Hoover trusted the idea that it all would self correct. Because Hoover didn’t do much to help the economy, people started to blame the Great Depression on him. They named things after him, such as Hoovervilles, Hoover Flags, and Hoover Blankets. A Hooverville was a popular name for a shanty town built by the homeless. A Hoover Flag was an empty pants pocket turned inside out. A Hoover Blanket was a newspaper used as a blanket. On November 8, 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President of the United States, defeating Herbert Hoover. The Depression worsened in the months preceding FDR’s inauguration on March 4, 1933. After that inauguration, the inauguration date was moved to January by the 20th Amendment which is also known as the Lame Duck Amendment. In those months, factory closings, farm foreclosures and bank failures increased, while unemployment soared. The unemployment rate was 25% and farm prices had fallen by 50%. FDR faced the greatest crisis since the Civil War, and he undertook immediate actions to initiate his New Deal. The New Deal was the name that FDR gave to his package of economic programs. The New Deal goals were giving Relief to the poor, Reform of businesses and financial practices, and promoting Recovery of the economy during the Great Depression. The New Deal can almost be divided into 2 New Deals. The reason for that is that some of the original programs were decided unconstitutional, and they were redone. On November 3, 1936 Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected President, and he defeated Alfred M. Landon of Kansas. In February of 1937, FDR sent a bill to Congress to change the composition of the federal judiciary. It was called the Court Packing Bill. The bill was Roosevelt’s attempt to expand the membership of the Supreme Court so that he could nominate justices who would uphold the New Deal legislation. By 1939, Roosevelt was concentrating increasingly on foreign affairs with the outbreak of war in Europe. New Deal reform legislation diminished and the ills of the Depression wouldn’t fully subside until the nation mobilized for war. When Hitler attacked Poland in September 1939, FDR stated that, although the US was neutral, he didn’t expect America to remain inactive in the face of Nazi aggression. He tried to make American aid available to Britain, France, and China. He also took measures to build up the armed forces in the face of isolationist opposition. On November 5, 1940 FDR was re-elected for a third term as President, and he defeated Wendell Willkie. With the fall of France in 1940, the American mood and Roosevelt’s policy changed dramatically. Congress enacted a draft for military service and Roosevelt signed a “lend-lease” bill in March 1941, to enable the nation to furnish aid to nations at war with Germany and Italy. America, though a neutral in the war and still at peace, was becoming the “arsenal of democracy,” as its factories began producing as they had in the years before the Depression. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, followed four days later by Germany’s and Italy’s declarations of war against the United States, brought the nation irrevocably into the war When Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese and the US entered WWII, FDR said that it was a day “that will live in infamy”. Not too long afterwards, on February 20, 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which evacuates Japanese-Americans from the Pacific Coast to interior internment camps. That was done, because there was a fear that they might be spies from Japan. During WWII Roosevelt had fireside chats, which were radio broadcasts that he made to share his intentions and progress of those intentions with the American people. They helped Americans to understand what FDR was doing to help them survive the conditions of the Depression. That is how he gained the trust of Americans, and by the time WWII that’s what they needed, someone they trusted and were familiar with to pull them through the war. They didn’t want a change. On November 7, 1944 FDR was re-elected President for his fourth and final term and he defeated Thomas E. Dewey. FDR had lived to see the D-Day invasion, but sadly, he didn’t live to see V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) which was May 8th, 1945. By early 1944, FDR had serious heart and circulatory problems. The pressures of war and domestic politics weighed heavily on him. On April 12, 1945, he suffered a massive stroke and died 2 ½ hours later without regaining consciousness. FDR was 63 years old at the time. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an amazing President who truly pulled the American people through times of great trial. He pulled them out of the Great Depression with his New Deal and entering WWII, and he pulled them through WWII. He is a true American hero. Although FDR had Polio, he didn’t let that stop him. He kept trudging on, and pulling the American people out of that rut with him. God Bless Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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