President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Pros of His Presidency

About the pros or positve aspects of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.


His 12 Years, 39 Days as President


Roosevelt restored the confidence of the people in their Government at a time when that confidence was failing. He not only promised "Action, and action now...."--but he kept that promise. It was only through his leadership that a disastrous social upheaval was avoided in the Depression-torn U.S. Responding to the worst domestic crisis in our history, FDR's magnificent buoyancy, self-assurance, and political skill gave the U.S. a new sense of purpose and direction.


With its free-wheeling, experimental approach to America's problems, the New Deal provided jobs and relief for millions of hungry Americans. For the 1st time, Government recognized its responsibility for the economic well-being of ordinary citizens. While the captains of industry howled, FDR began dismantling the mighty fortress of special privilege that had been built up over the course of a century. The Wagner Act guaranteed labor's right to organize, while other New Deal programs such as Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Works Progress Administration, provided lasting benefits for the country and its citizens. The New Deal put an end to the bad old days of laissez-faire capitalism, and moved the nation toward a more healthy and rational economic structure.


In an era of rampant isolationism, Roosevelt worked effectively to make his countrymen aware of their international responsibilities. His "Good Neighbor Policy" in Latin America was an unqualified success, restoring friendly relations after a generation of high-handed U.S. imperialism. He ordered diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union, after 16 years of blind hostility to the Communist regime. Against fierce domestic opposition, he provided crucial aid to Britain in her lonely fight against Hitler in 1940 and 1941. Without this support, England might well have succumbed to the Nazi onslaught.


Roosevelt's contributions to the Allied victory were enormous. He personally kept the alliance together through difficult times, and his eloquence and determination inspired millions of people throughout the world. As Commander-in-chief, he chose an unusually gifted group of men for the top military positions, and then backed them up effectively. FDR showed great vision, though he angered Churchill, with his insistence that a permanent postwar peace required the breakup of the old colonial empires. The United Nations--established by Roosevelt over the doubts of other world leaders and political opponents--is a permanent legacy of his wartime leadership. Roosevelt was determined to pursue friendly relations with the Soviet Union after the war, and if he had lived the "Cold War" might have been avoided.

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