A Look at Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency

A Look at Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Themes that Characterized his Presidency

 The presidency in the United States began with Franklin Roosevelt. During his term, it was evident that the presidency has gone through a shift and changes that have since influenced modern-day politics. Franklin Roosevelt was elected as the 32nd President of the United States in 1932 when he was in his second term as the governor of New York. He was elected as President of the USA four times from 1933 until his death in 1945. Franklin Roosevelt was the longest-serving President and the second most outstanding leader in United States history after Abraham Lincoln (Pederson, 2006). In this case, an evaluation of the achievements and themes that defined his terms will be crucial.

During the campaign period, President Roosevelt was identified by pledging himself to a new deal for the American people. Franklin Roosevelt won the election by two-thirds of the popular vote against the incumbent. The general election also saw the Democrats win the majority seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives. According to Brinkley (2009), the Great Depression had reached desperate levels when he was inaugurated in March 1933, with over thirteen people unemployed. President Franklin Roosevelt's presidency formed the basis of various significant decisions for the United States' future. Presently, the American presidents must strictly serve for two terms in office for a maximum of eight years.

Themes that defined Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency

The Great Depression

President Franklin Roosevelt took over the presidency when the world was suffering from the Great Depression's impact. This economic crisis began in 1929 and was not neutralized until the end of the 1930s. In October 1929, the stock market crashed, and by 1933 the unemployment rate stood at 25%. During this period, over 5,000 banks had closed down, and despite that President Hoover had tried to salvage the situation, he failed. Franklin Roosevelt used the first 100 days to make adjustments and changes that will help address the Great Depression (Pederson, 2006). He began by closing all the banks until Congress could pass the reform legislation. Only after the passage of the Emergency Banking Relief Act, three out of every four banks were opened in a week.

The new deal was implemented during the Roosevelt administration to help the nation attain economic relief. During this period, programs such as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and Public Works Administration were created to provide economic reassurance to the workers. Based on Pederson (2006), in addition to creating employment opportunities, President Roosevelt also initiated reforms of the financial system. Notably, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation aimed at protecting the depositor's accounts. On the other hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission focused on regulating the stock market. During his term, Roosevelt used his resources to help the country recover economically.

World War II

In the Second World War, Roosevelt solidified his position as an administrative leader. The United States entered World War II when the Japanese aircraft launched a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbour and other military stations on the Island. In the two-hour attack, the Japanese damaged eighteen warships and destroyed approximately 164 aircraft, with 2,400 civilians and military personnel losing their lives (Daniels, 2016). On eighth December 1941, President Roosevelt requested Congress to declare war on Japan. However, three days later, Italy and Germany joined forces with Japan and declared war on the United States. Despite being in a global war, the United States had the support of the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

President Roosevelt built what was known as the "Arsenal of Democracy." This is because engaging in a war would require the cooperation of all the various individuals and entities. By December, the American military had grown to over 2.2 million military men and women. During the war, Roosevelt was on the radio reporting the ongoing conflict events and encouraging the American citizens to support the war efforts. The President managed to build a powerful coalition with the Soviet Nation and Britain as he led the nation to victory against Nazi Germany. The measures he employed were instrumental for his successor, who led the country to victory against Japan four months after his death.

Foreign Policy

Foreign policy was a critical factor in the presidency of Roosevelt. Although he failed to support the international currency stabilization at the London Conference, by 1936, he managed to stabilize the dollar. Further, he summarized the agreements on stabilization with both France and Great Britain. Based on Patterson (1979), Roosevelt also extended American acceptance to the Soviet Union government and initiated the Good Neighbor plan to promote good Latin American interactions. President Roosevelt was an internationalist, yet Congress advocated for more isolationist measures.

Roosevelt believed that international cooperation was essential in solving the majority of issues in the country. For instance, he maintained that the Great Depression could be managed by strengthening the relationships with foreign markets rather than seeking isolation like his predecessor President Hoover. The move from isolation was a gradual process aimed at protecting the nation's interests while maintaining significant ties with foreign countries. In this regard, applying the new deal abroad was essential in fostering friendly interactions.

In conclusion, President Roosevelt was a unique leader who stood out for his beliefs and leadership style. He was the longest-serving President who, until his death, led the Americans to war diligently. In this case, themes such as foreign policy, World War II, and the Great Depression characterized his presidency. The efforts and strategies he employed during his leadership were beneficial for the subsequent governments. He was a brilliant and talented administrator who used his skills to enhance democracy. 


Brinkley, A. (2009). Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Oxford University Press.

Daniels, R. (2016). Franklin D. Roosevelt: The War Years, 1939-1945. University of Illinois Press.

Patterson, T. G. (1979). Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945 By Robert Dallek.

Pederson, W. D. (2006). The FDR years. New York, NY: Facts on File.

Published on: 11 Sep 2020

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