Franklin Delano Roosevelt An Example to Remember When somebody asks to pick a favorite leader, a number of the great ones pop into mind, like Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Douglas McArthur, Franklin Delano Roosevelt among others. It is a tough choice. They were all great. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had so many great accomplishments during his life time; the only way to list and discuss them would be in the biographical manner the Author chose.
The reason the author chose to write about Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the similarity of todays economy that he faced at the time of his first term in the office as well as our current president elects choice to use some of his strategies to correct the present state of our economy. Faced with World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), guided America through one of its greatest domestic crisis, His presidency, which spanned twelve years, was unparalleled, not only in length but in scope.
FDR took office with the country mired in a horrible and debilitating economic depression which not only sapped its material wealth and spiritual strength, but cast a cloud over its future, not unlike what we are facing today. Roosevelts combination of confidence, optimism, and political savvy, all of which came together in the experimental economic and social programs of the New Deal helped bring about the beginnings of a national recovery (Baliles, 2005, p. 1). FDR also committed the United States to the defeat of Germany, Japan, and Italy, and led the nation and its allies to the brink of victory.
This triumph dramatically altered Americas relationship with the world, putting the United States into a position of international power, as well as political and moral leadership. By virtue of its newfound political and economic power, the United States would play a leading role in shaping the remainder of the twentieth century. Inside the United States Franklin Roosevelt stirred a domestic political revolution on several fronts. FDR and the Democratic Party built a power base which carried the party to electoral and ideological, dominance until the late 1960s (Baliles, 2005, p.
1) . FDRs policies, especially those comprising the New Deal, helped redefine and strengthen both the country as well as the American presidency, expanding its political, administrative, and constitutional powers of the office (Baliles, 2005). FDR was born in Hyde Park, New York, in 1882, to James and Sara Roosevelt. His parents were well off, if not wealthy by New York High society standards. While growing up, they were able to provide a succession of nannies, and at age 14 send him to a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts.
He went on to Harvard College, where he spent most of his time at the college paper, where he declared himself a Democrat. While at Harvard, he grew close to his cousin Theodor Roosevelt, who was moving up the political ladder in the Democratic Party, and began courting his distant cousin, Elanor Roosevelt. Although FDR started attending law school at Columbia at this time, he had little interest and dropped out after one year. Elanor and FDR were married in New York City in 1905. He had six children: Anna Elanor, born 1906; James, born 1907; Franklin Jr.
, born 1909 and died the same year in November; Elliott, born 1910; Franklin Jr. , born 1914 and John Aspinwall, born 1916 (Coker, 2005). In 1910 FDR ran and got elected to the New York Senate and was re-elected in 1912. One year later he began his tenure as assistant secretary of the Navy under the Wilson administration at the age of 31, helping to prepare the country for entry into the world war. He moved his family to Washington for this reason. WWI lasted from April1917 until November 1918. On more than one occasion, he was subject to ribbing by those around him as being a little boy.
Nevertheless, in characteristic Roosevelt fashion, he was undaunted by his lack of experience and plunged into the job with enthusiasm and confidence (Coker, 2005, pg. 28). As a matter of fact, he did such a great job, that in 1920 the Democratic Party named him the vice-presidential candidate on James Coxs ticket. They lost the election in November of that year. Roosevelts most significant responsibility in the Navy Department had to do with labor negotiations with defense contractors. His primary goal in this area was to encourage positive relations between workers, industry leaders, and the military.
In this capacity he gained appreciation for labor issues and learned how to handle sometimes rocky labor disputes (Coker, 2005). FDR proved to have the exceptional ability to juggle various administrative and political responsibilities. Part of the reason he was able to do so many things simultaneously was that he insisted on bringing the indispensable Louis Howe to Washington with him to serve as his personal secretary. Howe seemed to be everywhere at once, assisting Roosevelt in all matters-scheduling appointments, helping with clerical work, and even helping Roosevelt keep an eye on, and a hand in, New York politics.
(Coker, 2005, pg. 31) In1921 FDR contracted polio, an incurable disease that left his legs paralyzed. By investing a considerable part of his fortune in renovating a spa in Warm Springs, Georgia, whose curative waters, together with strenuous physical therapy and the support of his wife, children and close confidantes, was he able to regain some use of his legs. By 1928 with the relentless help of his wife, Howe and a new personal secretary, Marguerite (Missy) LeHand, FDR was apparently sufficiently recovered to resume his political ambitions to run and win the governorship of New York.
The very next year FDR had to cope with the stock market crash in October. The stock market was pretty volatile in the 1920s. With no regulation, Americans and investors bought stock on credit. By the second half of 1929 the economy slowed because of rising unemployment and high interest rates. When everybody started selling stock and found no buyers, the market nosedived. October 24th (Black Thursday) and October 29th ( Black Tuesday) were two days that marked the beginning of the depression, although not the only cause.
At the same time, farmers were taking advantage of new technologies, which caused overproduction. The Stock market crash, along with overseas competition, and urban areas lacking the income to buy agricultural products, caused those prices to crash also. Because of the prosperity in the 1920 over 80% of Americans held no savings at all and the rich stopped buying. Because of all these factors, 5000 banks collapsed, one in four farms went into foreclosure and 100,000 jobs vanished each week. By 1932 one quarter of this countrys people in were unemployed (Baliles, 2005).
FDR implemented a number of innovative relief and recovery initiatives: unemployment insurance, pensions for the elderly, limits on work hours, and massive public works projects. These programs labeled him as a liberal reformer and won him reelection as governor in 1930. It is important to note that FDR as Governor surrounded himself with best minds that worked with him in the State Senate, as well as some members of Al Smiths former gubernatorial administration, to solve his States problems.
At the same time he had Louise Howe, as his chief campaign strategist and the head of the state Democratic Party, James Farley laying the ground work for a presidential campaign (Coker, 2005). In the grip of the great depression, the Democrats turned to FDR in the election season of 1932 to run for President. He was a popular and successful governor for two terms, with a recognizable last name, that could challenge President Hoover. He won the presidency in a landslide, promising the American People a New Deal.
Voters extended FDR approval to both houses of congress, giving the democrats overwhelming majority, which would prove vital in FDRs first year in office. In his inaugural address, FDR promised the distraught Americans hope by telling them that they had nothing to fear but fear itself (Baliles, 2005). True to his character, FDR surrounded himself with a group of advisers nicknamed the brain trust. This brain trust included former progressives, liberal-minded professors and bright young lawyers.
One of the traits FDR is consistent on is the ability to recognize when expert help is needed, and then surrounding himself with it (Dubrin, 2004). An array of emergency measures proposed by FDR, and passed by Congress reflected three basic goals: industrial recovery through business-government cooperation and pump-priming federal spending; agricultural recovery through crop reduction; and short-term emergency relief distributed through state and local agencies when possible, but directly by the federal government if necessary. ( Boyer, P. et. al. (2008).
pg. 734) Between March and June 1933, a period labeled Hundred Days, Congress enacted more than a dozen key measures ( Boyer, P. et. al. (2008). pg. 736). These measures were all directed to solve every aspect of the depression, including regulating the stock market. Because so many people had been unemployed for some time, the help did not come fast enough. By 1934 the unity spirit of the hundred days was fading, industry was chafing under increasing National Recovery Administration (NRA) regulations. Even Nature seemed to work against recovery efforts.
Between 1930 and 1939 the drought in the Oklahoma panhandle region turned much of the Great Plains in the Midwest into a dust bowl. Depression persisted, despite all efforts. FDR put great store in talking to the people, and he used radio to talk to them. He would talk regularly and informally on shows called fireside chats about results and plans to help the nation and alleviate peoples fears (Boyer, P. et. al. (2008). At this point in his research the author remembered the first four chapters of required reading for the class.
It is without exaggeration, when saying, that it is hard to single out any one part of these chapters to describe FDR. They simply seem written about him. From the definition of leadership to the nine leadership roles in chapter one, the personality traits, motives and cognitive factors of effective leadership in chapter two, to initiating structure and consideration and attitude and behaviors of a leader in chapter four. FDR had it all. If it has been noticed the Author left out chapter three, because this chapter dealt with Charisma and transformational leadership.
It would not be fair to pick any part of this chapter in the authors opinion FDR was the embodiment of this chapter (Dubrin, 2004). While he was loved by the people, the new deal was criticized from all directions. Some saying that the New Deal was going to far, others saying it was not going far enough. FDR seemed to relish the attacks of his critics, saying that the New Deal protected the average American, not the rich. In 1935 FDR fought back the criticism with a series of legislation that eclipsed the first hundred days termed the Second New Deal.
He also lost support from the business community because of his support for the Wagner Act and Social Security. Both were the more memorable of FDRs accomplishments, the former allowed labor unions to organize and bargain collectively, the latter set up programs designed to provide for the needs of the aged, the poor, and the unemployed, but excluding farmers, domestic workers, and the self employed (Baliles, 2005). Because of his popularity with the American people, FDR wins the election of 1936 against Republican Alf Landon by a major majority.
What this proved, was that the Democratic Party was the major party in the states. At his inauguration he promised the people to continue to fight for the nations underprivileged. FDR put together a group of voters from different regions of the country. This diverse group became the core of the Democratic Party. It came to be called the New Deal Coalition or Roosevelt coalition and included members from different labor, racial, religious and ethnic groups, along with academics and intellectuals (Coker, 2005).
FDR is first to realize he can not do it all himself, and has the presents and humility to put together a group that can give him, information, ideas and feedback from every segment of the population he is trying to help (Dubrin, 2004). FDRs second term in office started with doing something about the resistance he has been encountering to his New Deal. The Supreme Court was on top of his lists of concern. They had overturned some agricultural and industrial New Deal reforms earlier and Roosevelt was concerned for future programs. He found it unbelievable that this body could overrule not only the presidency, but the Congress as well.
He blamed it on the lack of vision of several older judges and was determined to do something about it. If they refused to retire or to die, he would find a more systematic way to protect his policies from them. He consulted legal experts and advisers within the organization and came up with the idea to expand the number of judges on the Supreme Court. In 1937 FDR proposed legislation stating that because the age of some of the judges, and in the interest of efficiency, adding an additional new and younger justice for every one of the sitting ones over the age of 75.
Most of his opposition called FDR a dictator, but having such a majority in both houses of congress, the bill would have probably passed. Perhaps that was the reason later that year, that the Supreme Court upheld some state and federal legislation. By the time the bill reached the Senate, all the steam went out of the argument and did not pass. The possibility of the event coming to pass however, had such an impact on the Supreme Court that they have not invalidated any legislation concerning regulating business or expanding social rights for the remainder of the century.
Having won his point with the court, he was finding the whole federal bureaucracy moving to slow for his tastes, started to bypass established procedures, creating emergency agencies to carry out policies. In 1937 Roosevelt had a plan for reorganizing his cabinet. It called him to receive 6 full time executive assistants, for a single administrator to head the Civil Service Commission, for him and his staff to assume all responsibility in budget planning, and for every executive agency to be under the control of a cabinet department.
Although he did get some of these things passed by Congress in 1939, his opposition was able to paint him as imperious and power-hungry (Baliles, 2005). The Author can empathize with FDR on the point of the Judges, mainly because of a similar difficulty in his work environment, involving very high sonority workers that could retire and make room for younger people to work in this difficult economy. He would have told him that he is also of the opinion that any political appointment should not be for life.
Frustrated by red tape of bureaucracy FDR shows a segment of entrepreneurial leadership (Dubrin, 2004). To top all this controversy, FDR also tried to eliminate some of the conservatives within his own party by supporting their more liberal opponents in the 1938 primary. This attempt was later labeled The great Purge and failed. Of the 10 Democrats targeted, only one lost. All these were reasons the party suffered significant setbacks, as the Republicans reclaimed 81 seats in the House of Representatives and 8 in the Senate in the 1938 midterm elections.
In the midst of these setbacks, international events were becoming more important and harder to ignore. During the internal struggle of the depression the administration had adopted a position of isolation and neutrality toward the rest of the world claiming the United States was dragged into WWI by trade entanglements with European factions. The Japanese invaded the Chinese Mainland in 1937 and the fact this happened with very little resistance, FDR considered responding, concerned Japan might be encouraged to continue to press forward threatening crucial United States locations in the Philippines.
Although FDR wanted to respond to the threat, he relented to his opposition. He sufficed to publicly quarantined Japan, mainly to express U. S. opposition to the invasion. He did ask and receive funding for increased naval development in the pacific under the guise of creating more jobs (Baliles, 2005). FDR shows his democratic leadership side as he cedes to the wishes of the population and the political majority and refrains from taking any direct and hostile action toward Japan.
He probably realizes that the internal problems need the most focus as Japan has not physically attacked the U. S. Although, like the entrepreneurial and situational leader that he is, he sees an opportunity to use the goals of economic recovery and job creation to build up the countrys defenses. The Author would most likely have suggested using this creative plan to enforce the navy in the Atlantic as well (Dubrin, 2004). In Europe, Germany lead by Hitler was also invading neighboring countries under the guise of reuniting Germanic people under one nation.
As long as his actions suited his declaration, France and England were content to stay out of the action. Russia under Stalin, seeing the lack of opposition, made a nonaggression pact with Hitler, and started seizing territory in Eastern Europe, while Hitler invaded Poland. These actions in 1939 shocked the world, with France and England declaring the start of World War II (Coker, 2005). Throughout this aggression in Europe, FDR was hamstrung because of the neutrality acts congress passed between 1935 and 1939.
Being as staunch supporter of England and France, he did manage to relax them in 1939, accomplishing two goals, boosting our economy with our allies able to buy arms and munitions from us, as well as supporting them. In a speech to Congress he voiced his opposition to the neutrality laws and his regret of signing them. Explaining that none of our ships would enter hostile waters, the allies buying from us would transport the munitions. He also refrained from using military language, afraid of loosing hard won political support, needed in the upcoming election.
At this time decisions war vying for supremacy in FDR between the future of the nation and his political career (Baliles, 2005). It is admirable and probably due to his inner circle of family and friend, that FDR has the presents of mind to divide his concentration between the troubles in Europe, trouble in the country and making sure he wins the election. FDR seems to see himself as a servant leader (Dubrin, 2004). Although expressing concern once that the Democratic Party was becoming to dependent on him, he was confidante he would win the nomination and be a favorite in the election.
After a period of indecision, that left the party hanging, FDR announced his full support for the ticket. He did win the nomination and promptly announced his intention to replace the vice president, conservative John Nance Garner with Henry Wallace, a progressive who had been a major player in the administration. This caused a major disagreement within the party as nobody wanted a change. FDR got his way by a narrow margin, simply because he threatened to drop out of the race and resign from the white house immediately (Baliles, 2005).
FDR seems to let his position go to his head somewhat as his actions describe a section of chapter 4 entitled the dark side of charismatic leadership. It describes that the end justifies the means (Dubrin, 2004). The race was the most challenging so far for FDR. The republicans, taking advantage of the strife in the Republican Party, tried labeling FDR as unstable and warmonger. In return FDR was warning the public of the threat the republicans would dismantle the New Deal and destroy the progress it had made.
FDR would win the presidency for a third term with a narrower margin than the last two. Without the concern of the an election FDR proposed a bill to congress, which he promoted through a Fireside chat as well as a speech in congress, stressing that while the country was a peaceful one, with no intention of entering the war, the country had a good neighbor responsibility to help defeat Hitler through the production of goods and weaponry and a Lend-Lease program, under which the Allies could borrow military hardware to return after use.
A bill was passed in congress in early1941 that greatly increased our help to Great Britain. As Hitler was fighting by now against England and Russia, having broken the nonaggression pack, FDR was able to increase the U. S. naval presence in the Atlantic on the threat that Hitler was out of control without breaking the neutrality act. This action caused our ships to come under fire, resulting in the sinking of several. In September of 1941, while mourning the death of his mother, FDR gave our navy orders to fire at will. Emboldened by its alliance with Germany, Japan attacked the U. S.
at Pearl Harbor hoping to invade and secure the natural resources, denied them after their alliance with Germany, which they were importing from the U. S. before. On December 8, 1941, FDR delivered his famous A ate which will live in infamy speech, to congress asking for a declaration of war and getting it that same afternoon (Coker, 2005). Despite Roosevelts lifelong interest in diplomacy, he never held illusions that he would formulate strategy in case of war. He did, however, expect to stay in close contact with his officers and surround himself with an able advisory team (Coker, 2005, Pg.
134). He also took similar steps to reorient the country for war production, creating the War Production Board to oversee mobilization soon joined by an Office of War Mobilization. FDRs New Deal experience helped him create a cooperative venture between government and private industry to meet defense needs (Coker, 2005). During mobilization FDR brought about significant changes for the betterment of unemployed and minorities. Farmers streamed into cities, finding jobs, women were urged to work at jobs previously occupied by men and everybody was urged to join a union.
Unions saw the peek of membership during these years. If the New Deal was slow in turning the economy around, although creating enormous deficit, the Second World War kick started the economy into high gear. Although reluctant and concerned about violating civil liberties, FDR, as was his policy in most military matters, listened to his military advisors and issued Executive Order 9066, which forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps, for security reasons. (Coker, 2005) Controversial and widely criticized later, this action was done out of fear of espionage.
At that time, however not the Civil Liberties Union, nor the public objected to this action. If War was not one of FDRs strong points, organizing, creating smooth transitions using programs such as maintenance for membership and no strike-pledge was. He used fireside chats to explain to the public the need for such policies, applying to patriotism. While researching FDRs accomplishments during WWII, the author was amazed by his power of persuasion and organization during this time of mass confusion in this country. Had he lived in this time frame, the Author would have liked FDR to tell him how he kept it all straight
(Dubrin, 2004). The outlook did not look promising for the allies in the first months of 1942, but things turned against Germany and Japan when the U. S. won victories in the pacific theater in 1943 and D-Day operation was a great success in France in 1944. On the home front, FDR had to concentrate internally again for several reasons. First the Republicans, having won major advancements in the election of 1942 in Congress, were making it almost impossible to pass legislation to fund the war, which mainly consisted of significant tax hikes.
The Labor unions were also threatening to strike over this issue. Mainly the public was fed up with funding the war and having to do without. In 1944, FDR made it known to his party that he was willing to run for a forth term. The party acknowledged that he would be their best chance for victory, however, nominated Senator Harry Truman as Vice President. Although a sick man, run down from his years in office, his energetic campaigning and his medical condition, FDR downplayed the situation and convinced the public they should not change leaders in mid-war.
He won the presidency against republican New York governor Thomas Dewey by 54% of the popular vote (Baliles, 2005). FDRs stamina and drive at this point in his life is a little disturbing from the authors point of view. Highly regarded as a great leader, it is surprising he does not recognize his deficiencies and recommends the party choose a different candidate. But then, if his wife, doctor and friends could not persuade him to retire, the author doubts highly that his own powers of persuasion could have influenced FDR to turn the country over to somebody else, and concentrate on his health and family.
FDRs health deteriorated rapidly after the election. He would not live to see the end of WWII. Convalescing in Warm Spring, Georgia on April, 12, 1945; he collapsed and died of cerebral hemorrhage. His body was transported from Georgia to Washington D. C. and from there to Hyde Park, N. Y. for burial. Hundreds of thousands of people came to pay their respects during this final journey, attesting to the fact that he was considered the hero and savior of the 20th century (Boyer, P. et. al. (2008). Congress did limit the terms of a president to two terms shortly after FDRs death.
Actually, the Republican Party started legislation on this subject four years earlier, at the time of the last election. They did not pursue it on the grounds of seeming petty during the election. Over the decades the subject FDR, private life, political life and all his accomplishments, good or bad, would be studied by economists, politicians, and academics as well as students like us. One such example is a Policy Review interview of several students asked to compare the Contract with America which the 1995, 104th Congress and House Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to deliver in less than 100 days with FDRs New Deal.
The Author would like to show Quotes to prove several points. Sally C. Pipes, President of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the new Republican House Leadership deserve thanks and congratulations for the successful completion of the Contract with America. What a revolutionary series of events has taken place! With the Contract, a promise to the American people was made; in a little less than the promised hundred days, the promise was kept. Of what other Congress in this Century can that be said?
(Pitney, 1995) Mike Siegel, Former president of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. The Contract with America committed the House Republicans to raising and voting on each of the Contract Items. This was accomplished and should be considered a major shift from politics as usual (Pitney, 1995). Deroy Murdock, President of Loud & Clear Communication. Assuming the Senate and President Clinton cooperate, the enactment of most Contract items, per se, will not influence American politics as profoundly as did FDR in his First Hundred Days.
However, the paradigm shift that has accompanied the Contract likely will parallel the new thinking that FDR inspired 62 years ago. (Pitney, 1995) Mona Charen, Nationally syndicated columnist. The First Hundred Days of the Republican majority were like a laser show”full of color and sound, but so fast and furious that it was difficult for voters to single out the benefits of tort reform, welfare reform, or regulatory reform. (Pitney, 1995) Jeff Jacoby, Nationally syndicated columnist for the Boston Globe. So, no, in terms of legislation completed, Gingrichs First Hundred Days dont compare with FDRs.
So thoroughly did Gingrich and his army upend that piece of conventional wisdom, that by the end of a hundred days, Bill Clinton was reduced to insisting he still mattered. The President, he sniffled in a mid-April press conference, is relevant here. (Pitney, 1995) William A. Rusher, Former publisher of National Review. The First Hundred Days of the new House Republican Leaders will deserve that well-worn adjective historic even if relatively few of the measures listed in their Contract with America ever become law in the form they recognize (Pitney, 1995). Burton W.
Folsom Jr. , Senior Fellow in Economic Education at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. The House Republican Leadership did most of what it said it would do in the Contract with America. The Republican Contract was a conscious, thoughtful, and usually coherent plan that went from campaign document to legislative writ. The New Deal was improvisational and contradictory right from the start. (Pitney, 1995) John J Pitney, JR. Associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. The House GOPs First Hundred Day compared badly with FDRs.
Although all the items in the Contract With America reached the House floor, only two of them became law before the hundredth day. By contrast, FDR signed bushels of bills during the Hundred Days of 1933. Crisis is the great lubricant of the legislative process, and the economic calamities of FDRs early days briefly suspended Capitol Hills normal Friction. Government has become tangled in its own red tape. (Pitney, 1995) The Author would like to point out, that there is hardly mention of the president of this time and then only to point out that he was left out of the loop.
Apparently the House Speaker and the Republican majority in Congress decided they could upstage a Democratic President with a style of government by one of its own party example. As shown, none of the interviewees have lied, but it was entertaining to read just how much of the story a particular party adherent brings to light to prove his point of view. Clearly, the more is known of the story, the worse the scenario of the Contract With America sounds. We have just had a historical presidential election.
If FDR started with having blacks, women and other minorities in high office, this country as a whole just elected a black man into the White house. In 1995 Congress took up FDRs ideology but tried to upend the hierarchy. Since then the Countrys problems have just gotten worse. Again the cry has started and the president has taken up the challenge and stated publicly that he would use some of FDRs strategies. Immediately the media, economists and scholars exploded with the similarities of the state of the country then and now, advice and warnings to the administration.
We are closer to the FDR era state of the economy, the sharp rise in unemployment, the near collapse of the banking industry and the essential pessimism of the population. FDRs overall message is less caution and more boldness. The congress will also have a democratic majority next year and one of the most liberal caucuses ever, which should facilitate cooperation by past experience. Together with the lubricant of crisis stated earlier should help (Schlesinger, 2009). Two other similarities are contributed to Barack Obama.
He unusually charismatic person and is a great speaker, which should help him guide the general public through this crisis. He has surrounded himself with an experienced staff, headed by 101st Senator Rouse. To get his agenda passed, he just needs to convince Congress to take some political risks (Drum, 2008). There is hardly any advice this Author can offer that has not already been offered by persons more qualified other than hope. Hope that lessons have been learned from history and similar situations. God knows this country has had most imaginable, and the