FDRs Influence as president Essay

This essay has a total of 4350 words and 21 pages.

FDRs 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, Roosevelt won by a landslide. He received 27,751,491 popular
votes and carried 46 states with 523 electoral votes. His opponent only received
16,679,491 popular votes and 2 states with 8 electorals. This reflected the nation's
confidence in the man and his leadership ability. However, the nation still had a long
way to go. He stated in his inauguration address, "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed,
ill-clad, and ill-nourished".
After another over-all successful term, Roosevelt ran again in 1940. The
Democratic Party broke precedent with his re-nomination. There were some party
members that felt it was unfair to elect him again, so his margins of popularity fell
slightly. This time, he was not the only one up for the nomination. There was James
Farley, who received 72 13/30 votes, previous Vice President John Nance Garner,
receiving 61 votes; Millard Tydings of Maryland, receiving 9 1/2 votes; and Cordell Hull,

former Secretary of State, who received only 5 2/3 votes. Secretary of Agriculture
Henry
A. Wallace was chosen as a Vice Presidential running mate. The Republicans nominated

Wendell Wilkie of Indiana, a corporation president, to oppose the Roosevelt/Wallace
team. The two candidates had some similar views. Wilkie supported Roosevelt's
foreign
policy and favored many New Deal programs already in effect. However, Wilkie
opposed the controls that the Democratic Administration had put on business.
To obtain more Republican support for this campaign, Roosevelt used his
executive power of appointment to appoint two republicans to his Cabinet in 1940. The
first was Henry L. Stimson for Secretary of War, who held the office under the Taft
Administration. He also held the office of Secretary of State under President Hoover.
Stimson replaced Harry Woodring who was regarded as isolationist. Roosevelt's
previous
opponent who ran for as Vice President on the republican side, newspaper publisher
Frank Knox, was placed as the Secretary of the Navy.
The Republicans based their campaign on the tradition that no President had ever
gone for a third term in succession. To counter this, Roosevelt put the spotlight on his
administration's achievements. Because of the risky situation abroad, many felt that
Roosevelt's expertise was needed if war occurred.
The election results were closer this time than the previous two times. Roosevelt
received 27,243,466 popular votes and 449 electoral votes. Wilkie received
22,334,413
popular votes and 82 electoral votes.
When it was time for Roosevelt's third term to end, he initially said he wanted to
retire. However, he later declared that he felt it was his duty to serve if his country called

on him. Much of this feeling was based on the idea that it would be a bad thing for the
country to change leadership in the middle of the war. Many of the president's advisors
felt he would not live through a fourth term, considering his heart disease, hypertension,
and other cardiac problems. Because of his condition, the Vice President nomination for

the 1944 election was of utmost importance. Roosevelt was persuaded to drop Henry
Wallace, whom many regarded as too liberal and emotionally unsuited to be president.
Harry Truman of Missouri was chosen to fill the spot. Although Roosevelt received
party
nomination on the first ballot, there were two other candidates: Harry Byrd (89 votes)
and James Farley--again-- (1 vote).
The Republicans nominated Thomas Dewey of New York for President and John
Bricker of Ohio for Vice President. Again, their argument was term length. No
President should serve for 16 years, they declared. The opposing argument by the
Democrats was that no country should "change horses in mid-stream". Roosevelt drove
around the streets of New York City in a rainstorm and then made a speech to show that

his health was not a major issue.
The election outcome was even slimmer this time, but Roosevelt still captured a
hearty vote. Roosevelt received 25,602,505 votes and 432 electoral votes and his
Republican opponent received 22,013,372 popular votes and 99 electoral votes.

Many of the advisers who helped Roosevelt during his presidential campaigns
continued to aid him after he entered the White House. Below are the four cabinets:

FIRST TERM
March 4, 1933-January 20, 1937
POSITION NAME/ STATE DATE OF
INDUCTION
Secretary of State: Cordell Hull, TN 3/4/33
Secretary of Treasury: William Hartman Woodin, NY 3/4/33
Henry Morganthau, Jr., NY 1/1/34
Secretary of War: George Henry Dern, UT 3/4/33
Harry Woodring, KA 9/25/36-5/6/37
Attorney General: Homer Stille Cummings, CN 3/4/33
Postmaster General: James A. Farley, NY 3/4/33
Secretary of the Navy: Claude A. Swanson, VA 3/4/33
Secretary of Interior: Harold Ickes, IL** 3/4/33
Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, IW 3/4/33
Secretary of Commerce: Daniel Calhoun Roper, SC 3/4/33
Secretary of Labor: Frances Perkins, NY* 3/4/33
* first female to be appointed to the Cabinet
**previously the leader of the Chicago NAACP

SECOND TERM
January 20, 1937-January 20, 1941

POSITION NAME/STATE DATE OF
INDUCTION
Secretary of State Cordell Hull, TN from previous admn.
Secretary of Treasury: Henry Morgenthau, Jr., NY from previous admn.
Secretary of War: Harry Woodring from previous-5/6/37
Henry L. Stimson, NY 7/10/40
Attorney General: Homer Stille Cummings, CN from
previous-1/17/40
Robert Houghwout Jackson, NY 1/18/40
Postmaster General: James A. Farley, NY from previous-9/1/40
Frank C. Walker, PA 9/10/40
Secretary of Navy: Claude Swanson, VA from previous-7/7/39
Charles Edison, NJ 8/5/39-1/12/40
Frank Knox, IL 7/10/40
Secretary of the Interior: Harold Ickes, IL from previous
Secretary of Agriculture: Henry A. Wallace, IW from previous
Claude Raymond Wickard, IN 8/27/40
Secretary of Commerce: Daniel C. Roper, SC from previous
Harry Hopkins, NY 12/24/38
Jesse Jones, TX 9/16/40
Secretary of Labor: Francis Perkins, NY from previous

THIRD TERM
January 20, 1941-January 20, 1945

POSITION NAME/STATE DATE OF
INDUCTION
Secretary of State: Cordell Hull, TN from previous
Edward Stettinius, VA 11/30/44
Secretary of Treasury: Henry Morgenthau, Jr., NY from previous
Secretary of War: Henry L. Stimson, NY from previous
Attorney General: Robert Jackson, NY from previous
Francis Biddle, PA 9/5/41
Postmaster General: Frank Walker, PA from previous
Secretary of the Navy: Frank Knox, IL from previous-4/28/44
James Vincent Forrestal, NY 6/18/44
Secretary of the Interior: Harold Ickes, IL from previous
Secretary of Agriculture: Claude Wickard, IN from previous
Secretary of Commerce: Jesse Jones, TX from previous
Secretary of Labor: Francis Perkins, NY from previous

FOURTH TERM
January 20, 1945- April 12, 1945
POSITION NAME/STATE DATE OF
INDUCTION
Secretary of State: Edward Stettinius, VA from previous
Secretary of Treasury: Henry Morganthau, Jr. NY from previous
Secretary of War: Henry Stimson, NY from previous
Attorney General: Francis Biddle, PA from previous
Postmaster General: Frank Walker, PA from previous
Secretary of the Navy: James Forrestal, NY from previous
Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, IL from previous
Secretary of Agriculture: Claude Wickard, IN from previous
Secretary of Commerce: Jesse Jones, TX from previous
Henry Wallace 3/1/45
Secretary of Labor: Frances Perkins, NY from previous


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