FDR: The Great American President Jacob WagmanProfessor Christy ChapinHIST102Due: 25OCT12 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is easily the best president of his era. He had the single best approach to the economic problems and social problems that followed the economic problems of the time. Many people would say that he couldn’t make decisions for himself because of how he was constantly changing his ideas but in truth, his plan was to do whatever it took to work and he was going to make something work. In case it was not known, FDR was a fighter. He never gave up on the USA or stepped down even after being stricken by polio.
A lot of his ideas came from his “brain trust” which was comprised of many advisors of all different back rounds and political beliefs. He was constantly keeping the American people informed with the state of the government and economy through a new invention popularly known as the radio. He would go out of his way to help the banks and would do anything to dig the US out of the pit that Hoover had dug and did nothing really to dig them out other than laying the foundation for FDR to bring America back from the brink of complete collapse.
Using the foundation laid by Hoover many Administrations, Acts, and even some Corporations were put in place and somewhere welcomed and others weren’t, but FDR took all of the success and failures and made sure it worked out for the American people and the world when WWII came around. His foreign policy in WWII was very much respected and still is today because FDR would not let the crimes of others go unpunished. All in all everything FDR did was for the best of this country and the way he handled WWII both domestically and overseas.
When FDR was elected into office he was left with quite a mess left by Herbert Hoover, but Hoover had left a very nice foundation to start FDR’s famous “New Deal. ” Programs during this time focused on trying very hard to help bring the US out of the Great Depression by working on reform, recovery, and relief efforts. Many of the programs put together by FDR came from his “brain trust” which was FDR’s circle of advisors which ranged from democrats to republicans and even to progressives. This is why it seemed like his ideals were always changing because he was trying to here from verybody to see which would work best to pull the US out of the muck. He started with starting a bank holiday in which every bank in the US was forced to close so that government officials could come into each of the banks and decide if the banks were suited to re-open for public use. In order to guarantee the money people put into the bank for safe keeping, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created and this gained the public’s usage of the banks again because they could not possibly lose their money because of a bank failing because the government backed up the money 100%.
The Securities and Exchange Commission Act was also implemented to regulate the stock market so that another stock market crash could be avoided. Many people disagreed with these economic policies but if they were alive they could see that these two government sectors are still in use today because of how effective they have been throughout the years. FDR’s next goal was to provide jobs for all the people who were unemployed, which was about 25% of the entire population.
Programs to fix this problem were such like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which hired young adults around 18 to plants tress and help the National Parks, the Public Works Administration (PWA), which contracted with private businesses to build roads, schools, hospitals, and other government-esc buildings, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TWA), which was set up to build dams along the Tennessee River, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was an administration that directly hired people and also white collar workers such as teachers and nurses, and they also trained unskilled workers so they could perform specific tasks.
Looking back nobody could even argue with these programs because it provided thousands of jobs for the unemployed which did much more good than bad. There was some controversy over the TWA forcing people out of their houses but it was for the good of the entire Tennessee River Valley so it was more necessary than anything. ,
Many programs were welcomed with open arms like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which tried to lower the foreclosure rate and made more long term mortgage loans that made owning a house more possible, but there were programs like the National Recovery Administration (NRA) which wanted to eliminate competition so all businesses could thrive, but it ailed very oorly because the little businesses were still eaten alive by the bigger companies, and another unpopular program was the Resettlement Administration (aka Federal Security Administration), tried to make farming more like the USSR in which farming was more collective and controlled by the government but the program was met by much resistance both from Farmer’s and the Chamber of Commerce.
But if it had not been for these failure than FDR would not have been able to come up with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which was the government paying farmers not to produce so that the goods on the market could be purchased at a slightly higher price to attempt to stimulate the economy. At first the Supreme Court shot down the AAA, but it was later brought back by congress in 1938 because it actually helped farmers and made them happy.
During the start of WWII when it was strictly in Europe and China, the USA became extremely isolationist to the point where they even pulled out of Haiti and Nicaragua so that they were involved in as little foreign conflict as possible. The USA even refused to sell weapons to Great Britain and France because they didn’t want to risk getting pulled into another World War again. While the war kept going on the USA passed acts such as the Neutrality Acts which banned US citizens from traveling on ships from foreign nations that were in war with another country and they banned selling weapons to foreign nations.
FDR pleaded with congress to allow the USA to at least attempt to assist the allies fighting in Europe because they were just that, the USA’s allies. But congress kept turning down FDRs pleas for help until he managed to convince congress to allow for the first Military draft and for the US to start building and selling arms to the Allied powers. This was when FDR decided to run for a 3rd term which he won by a landslide because people saw how he had started to help the economy grow bit by bit. In 1941, FDR got the Lend-Lease act to be approved.
The Lend-Lease Act made it possible for the US to fully help the Allies by giving them arms and munitions. In order to provide these items for the Allies more jobs had to be created to produce the weapons and so thousands of jobs were created which helped the economy out that much more. The Lend-Lease Act also stopped all trade with Japan in an attempt to discourage them from continuing the atrocities they were committing over in China. This unfortunately provoked Japan into launching a preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor where over 2000 service men lost their lives and about 200 aircrafts were destroyed and 18 naval ships were lost.
FDR immediately requested a declaration of war in his famous address to congress in which he quoted the attack on Pearl Harbor as “a day that will live in infamy. ” FDR’s policy on isolationism and then all-out war is an extremely well thought out strategy considering the position the US was in. He wanted to help GB and France desperately but Congress wouldn’t help him at all. But he pushed and pushed till he finally succeeds and ultimately, helped the Allies push to victory and overcome the most outstanding odds against them.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is not only one of the best Presidents the USA has ever had, but he also had some of the most ingenious ideals for how to fix the economic crisis the US has ever faced, and then later one of the worst crisis the world has ever faced in World War Two. His plans or creating jobs worked unlike those of Hoover, and even though some of his programs failed, he learned from the failures only to make the successful programs even more helpful and long lasting for the US.
To top his economic policies, his policies on World War Two were even better because he found a way to stay isolationist at the beginning where he could still make jobs by avoiding the war and then joining the war when it was absolutely crucial the US did, which ultimately ended up pulling the USA out of the Great Depression even if he were not alive to see them win the war and there to see the Great Depression end due to all the good he did for the USA. Nobody can argue that his ideals and policies were anything shy of some of the best of any president.