What Was Unique About FDR?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, most commonly referred to as FDR, is one of the most well-known and renowned presidents in American history. Thanks in large part to his presidency (of four terms) lasting throughout the Great Depression, and his method of lifting the economy out the crash, politicians in America today often point to FDR as an example of true leadership, and bold resourcefulness.

It is noteworthy to mention that while FDR is revered for a lifetime of accomplishments, he does receive a fair share of criticism. Arguably, the most prominent issue people have with FDR Is his running for president a total of four times. Before it became law for a US president to have a maximum of two terms, every single president after Washington ran for two terms out of respect for George Washington’s two-term presidency - Until FDR. One could make the argument that FDR chose to run four times purely because of him having a large ego, and his not possessing any respect for the country’s traditions; But FDR was a president that was not bent on remaining tradition, and firmly believed that new approaches had to be taken in governing the country, and that it was foolish to remain adherent to past traditions. Furthermore, FDR’s presidency took place in the midst of dire situations, the likes of which the country had never faced such as World War II and the Great Depression, and the switching of leaders during such dark times would have only created more confusion when the country demanded leadership.

The achievement which Roosevelt is most known for is his enactment of the “New Deal”, which was dedicated to restoring the United State’s economy during the Great Depression by creating welfare programs, job opportunities, and regulations for the very wealthy. Given that the United States was in a state of utter economic despair during this time, this unheard of experimentation was not immediately well received, but Roosevelt did not back down from going forth with what he thought would be the best course of action. Roosevelt was the first president to take advantage of the media in order to gain public support. He did so via “Fireside Chats” which were semi-frequent radio broadcasts during the Great Depression in which Roosevelt would delve into the specific goals of the New Deal, while boosting morale for the American people by establishing such on-the-level radio broadcasts with his citizens in a forthright and unofficial manner.

Roosevelt was also instrumental in solidifying the “Grand Alliance” between The United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union against the impending threat of Adolf Hitler’s conquest across Europe. This alliance’s formation was arguably one of the key factors in stopping the spread of Nazism, and preventing Nazi takeover. Despite Roosevelt’s utter distaste for both Churchill and Stalin, the man was wise enough to see past the disputes between them, for the purpose of targeting the most prominent threat at large. This is an example of leadership that is still hard to come by today, for it takes a great deal of character for a world leader to work with those who he despises the most, for all the world to see.

FDR not only was a key creator in programs that are still a part of America today, but is an example of leadership that is difficult to come by. Despite the stress and constant backlash he received during his many years as president, Roosevelt possessed the drive and love for his country to continue to stick it out - as he saw that the country was in an uncertain place and needed “bold persistent experimentation.” Roosevelt recognized that no other leader was going to give the country what it needed during that time period, and chose to give up his life to serve the American people until his untimely death, during the fourth term of his presidency.