Fdr\'s Influence As President


Some have called him the best president yet. Others have even claimed that he was the
world\'s most influential and successful leader of the twentieth century. Those
claims can be backed up by the overwhelming support that he received from his citizens
throughout his four terms in office. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a new
era in American history by ending the Great Depression that the country had fallen into in
1929. His social reforms gave people a new perspective on government. Government
was not only expected to protect the people from foreign invaders, but to protect against
poverty and joblessness. Roosevelt had shown his military and diplomatic skill as the
Commander in Chief during World War II. This wartime leadership and international
relations policy won him an award in the hearts of many Americans.
Roosevelt threw his hat in the ring in 1931 in order to prepare for the
election of 1932. Democratic Party chairman James A Farley directed his campaign.
He
started a nationwide radio address, outlining a program to meet the economic problems
of the nation. He coined the term forgotten man to mean all of those who had been
hard hit by the evils of the depression. These radio addresses were the start to what he
called the fireside chats. Overall, Roosevelt was the most energetic and dynamic
candidate, and he was nominated by the party on the fourth ballot. Although he
displayed excellent characteristics, his competition was fairly tough. He was up against
John Nance Garner of Texas (who would be his Vice Presidential running mate);
Newton
D. Baker of Ohio, who was former Secretary of War; and former Governor Alfred E.
Smith of New York. For three ballots, Roosevelt held a large lead, but lacked the two-
thirds margin necessary for victory. Farley then promised John Garner the vice
presidential nomination, which he accepted grudgingly. Then FDR took the presidential
nomination on the fourth ballot.
One of the purposes of the national convention is to bring the party together in a
movement of support behind the nominated candidate. Although there was rough
competition during the choosing process, most party leaders were happy with the
Roosevelt choice. It would help pull votes from the urban-Eastern region of the country.
Also, Roosevelt made a dashing introduction at the Chicago convention by being the first
nominee to ever write an acceptance speech. In this speech, he brought emotions from
the audience in his last line, I pledge to you, I pledge to myself, to a new deal for the
American people.
During the November campaign against Hoover, Roosevelt suggested a few parts
of the so called New Deal. He spoke of relief and public works money. He wanted to
develop a plan to cut agricultural overproduction. He was for public power,
conservation
and unemployment insurance. The repeal of prohibition and stock exchange regulation
were also big items on his platform.
However, other than the aforementioned items, Roosevelt was quite vague about
other plans. He mentioned little about his plans for industrial recovery or labor laws. As
much foreign policy experience as he had, he talked very little of it during the campaign.
Many believe that he was simply trying to home in on the problems that the American
public saw most prominent at the time.
When it came to election day, Roosevelt was the only viable alternative to
Hoover, who many blamed for the Great Depression, although critics argue that it was
the presidents preceding the Hoover Administration. The outcome reflected this
thinking: Roosevelt won 22,821,857 votes compared to Hoover\'s 15, 761,841.
Roosevelt
also won the electoral 472 to 59. The voters had sent large majorities of Democrats to
both houses as well, which would enable Roosevelt to accomplish more by pushing
through more bills.
Roosevelt\'s second election was in 1936. The Democratic National Convention
re-nominated him by acclamation-- no vote was even taken. Vice President Garner was
also nominated. The Republican opponents were Governor Alfred M. Landon of
Kansas
and Frank Knox, a newspaper publisher. Republicans, seeing Roosevelt\'s overwhelming
popularity, were reaching for a tomato to throw. They claimed that he had not kept his
promise to the people to balance the budget. Roosevelt replied by pointing to the
actions
of fighting the depression and returning the nation to prosperity to precedence over the
budget.
As expected,