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Politics

Battle of the Roosevelts: FDR

Why Franklin D. Roosevelt is the better Roosevelt President


Franklin D. Roosevelt took office during the greatest crisis in American history since the Civil War. When he was inaugurated in March of 1933 at least one quarter of the United States was unemployed, factories and banks were closing, and America was losing hope. Roosevelt came in like a white knight with the confidence to slay the dragon that was the Great Depression.

His first 100 days were perhaps the most important of any in history, and set an unremarkably high standard for future presidents to come. FDR changed the political landscape through his New Deal action, bringing America and it’s people back from an economic despair that deeply crippled the country.

In FDR’s inaugural address he told the American people, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Restoring hope and faith into a nation that had lost to so much.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s confidence led him to act quickly with restoration of the economy. His first action, as part of the New Deal was to declare a four-day bank holiday, in order to prevent people from withdrawing money.

From there, according to History.com, Congress passed “The Emergency Banking Act” which allowed him to close down the banks that were broke. He advocated for the people to put their savings back into the open banks, through his first “Fireside Chat,” and due to this about three quarters of the banks reopened.

FDR’s Fireside Chats are one of the most important aspects of his presidency, and for the first time in history of the country it was not longer an “us” in the government but “we” the government, enforcing the very standards from the development of the country of by the people, for the people.

The Fireside Chats provided people with comfort, hearing the issues directly from the president and his course of action within their homes. The President had the means to lift their spirits, which helped them restore their faith in the government and pull out of the economically hard times. 

Within his first 100 days, Roosevelt had not only passed the Banking Act, but went on to end Prohibition, enact the National Industrial Recovery Act, funded Public Works Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act.

On top of the Acts he was able to pass the Glass- Steagall Banking Bill which separated commercial banks from the spending banks, which basically dividing investment banks from savings banks so peoples money were protected from investments.

As the Great Depression continued, FDR continued his efforts through the enactment of his “Second New Deal” which tackled unemployment through a program titled Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The WPA provided jobs throughout the community that did not compete with the private industry. It gave employment through the building of roads, bridges, schools, post offices, etc.

Also he signed the Social Security Act of 1935 which established the Social Security program, in order to provide insurance for those unemployed and help care for the children and disabled of the unemployed.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on to be elected four more times, eventually dying in office. He comforted the country after Pearl Harbor, being able to address the nation through his Fireside Chats, providing security within his words, and then continued to take action through the Second World War.

The War eventually lead to the end of the Great Depression, however it is Roosevelt’s economic policies through Social Security, job stability, and separation of the banks that led to continuing success after he was gone.

His confidence led him to be a successful leader, and thus the better of the two Roosevelt’s. He fought for the people and helped the ones who needed him. He was not afraid to take a stance that may have no been popular to the financial stable few, embracing what the role of a leader meant.

PHOTO TAKEN from learnersonline.com

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