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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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  • #31
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
    It is also worth pointing out to people that democracy in Germany had effectively ceased to function befoer Hitler came to power too. By using his powers to rule by decree, bypass the legislature & keep calling elections to get the parliament he wanted the president ensured that Germany was no longer a 'democracy' as we would understand it. An important point & one that few people seem to understand.
    Paraphrasing a Japanese Foreign Minister in the mid-'30: We are on the forefront of a new force in world history. Totalitarianism will inevitably destroy democracy, there is no turning back from that now.
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    • #32
      Originally posted by Douglas MacArth View Post
      This is the beginning of a series of threads. I will post a thread about each president and turn it over to the forum to discuss.

      Overview:
      FDR, as president ended the Great Depression with his spending and public works programs. He also ended Prohibition, passed the G.I. Bill, created Social Security, the minimum wage, and unemployment insurance. Also, he ended child labor. Finally, he lead America through the Second World War, turning America into the world's premier country and setting up the economic boom times of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

      All in all, I consider FDR to be the greatest of all presidents.

      What are your opinions?
      Great idea for a thread/series.

      FDR in some ways stands out amongst our great presidents in that both he and his legacy retain a degree of controversy that remains notable even today. Although George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt all have a small minority of detractors, there is little question about the positive nature of their legacies arising from the political/historical mainstream. This is not the case with FDR. While he is generally admitted to be, along with Washington and Lincoln, one of the three greatest presidents of American history, a great part of the actions from which that greatness derives, and the motivations upon which they were based, continue to be anathema to many. One suspects that a large part of this may come from the simple fact that both FDR's liberal internationalism and his commitment to the fostering of a powerful federal government devoted to the enhancement of social and economic welfare remain principles that an entire wing of contemporary American politics remains dedicated to opposing. One commentator put it thus:

      New Deal issues still agitate the contemporary mind. Baptism, the doctrine of real presence, and the Immaculate Conception may be discussed without passion, but men display emotion at the first mention of federal economic policy, agricultural subsidies, public housing, conservation - even, still, at the very name Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Elijah View Post
        Then, there is the question of World War II. I understand we won and all that but, did FDR really do a particularly good job or did he just happen to serve during a time of great events? I'm not sure his handling of the Russians was particularly skillful for a man who had already been the President for a decade.

        Greatest Presidents always turn out to be those who happened to serve during time of Great Crisis. Question might be, Could the Depression have been handled better? Could WWII been handled better on the diplomatic end? Do we really wish to hold a man up as the greatest when he scared us so much with his quest for power we passed an amendment to the Constitution so no man could again come so close to being our dictator/Presidente' for life.
        As far as FDR's management of the Second World War goes, there is IMO very little rationale for dissenting from the overall verdict that has consistently been rendered: that he demonstrated wartime leadership that was comparable with that of Abraham Lincoln. Under his direction the federal government achieved historic success in mobilizing the country to meet the demands of the war effort - militarily, industrially, economically, socially. Almost all of the men, both military and civilian from George Marshall and Henry Stimson on down, who he appointed to critial positions performed ably, and many of them performed brilliantly. He did an exceptional job of managing diplomatic relations - later being credited as the "fulcrum" of the Grand Alliance (the charge that his handling of relations with Russia were somehow less than skillful is one that I would contend is not supported by the historical record) and made a contribution to the development of Allied strategy that was highly positive - acting as a mediator between the numerous competing viewpoints amongst the senior figures of the coalition. What may more than anything else define his greatness as a war leader was that even amidst the momentous challenges that the war required him to meet, he had the vision to look to the post-war world - whether through the impact of the GI bill, or through his work, beginning even before America had entered into the war, to establish an enduring international organization that would help to cement the commitment of the US to involvement in international affairs, and that could help to foster international engagement and cooperation.

        The assertion that merely having been in office during times of great crisis or momentous events is enough to establish a president as "great" is one that I would disagree with strongly. If this was true then James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover would be remembered as presidents on a par with Lincoln and Roosevelt. Great events give leaders opportunities for failure as well as success, and how well they rise to the occaison is probably a far better measure of their character and ability than if they had served in more tranquil times.

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        • #34
          Thanks for the information

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