Franklin D. Roosevelt: An Influential Leader

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Franklin D. Roosevelt: An Influential Leader

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was a man of unusual charm and great optimism, which he was able to communicate to others. He had a broad smile and was a charismatic optimist whose confidence helped sustain the nation through its darkest moments during crisis like the Great Depression and World War II. He became one of the most beloved of U.S. presidents for four terms in office. But beneath his outward friendliness was an inner reserve and an iron will. His admirers emphasized the way in which he met the nation's problems. They praised him for insisting that the federal government must help the underprivileged and that the United States must share in the responsibility for preserving world peace. Franklin Roosevelt made a profound and very important impact upon his times and his policies exerted great influence on the future (Freidel).

Assuming the Presidency in 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression, Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope to the people when he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (The White House). FDR’s first one hundred days in office were known as "The Hundred Days" (The Great Depression). The main drive of Roosevelt's administration was toward a balance of economic interests. He believed that he should represent all the people--farmers, laborers, and white-collar workers as well as businessmen (The Great Depression). With this in mind, he presented a wide variety of legislation to Congress, which brought relief to the needy and helped improve the economy. This legislation gave authorization to a sweeping program that was designed to bring reform, recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms or homes. "The Hundred Days" set a new standard for Presidents and members of Congress that followed Roosevelt (The Great Depression).

The first order of business for FDR tackled was the banking crisis. Since the start of the Depression, Americans had lost their life’s savings. Roosevelt recognized that if he kept the banks open, panicked depositors would withdraw their money and more banks would fail. FDR declared a “bank holiday” during which time a hastily prepared emergency banking bill gave the Secretary o...

... middle of paper ... it needed to revive itself by delivering prompt and vigorous action. Roosevelt held office during two of the greatest crises ever faced by the United States: the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by World War II. His domestic program, known as the New Deal, introduced far-reaching reforms within the free enterprise system and gave people a new perspective on government. FDR rallied the country after the near disaster of Pearl Harbor, mobilizing over ten million troops. His military and diplomatic skill as the Commander in Chief during World War II, won him an award in the hearts of many Americans. Both in peacetime and in war, his impact on the office of president was enormous, making him one of the most influential leaders in US history.

Works Cited

American Experience: The Presidents. September 7, 2004,

Boorstin, D. J., Kelley, B.M., and Boorstein, R. F., A History of the United States. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2003. 624, 659-60.

Freidel, Frank. ”Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal.” The New Book of Knowledge. 2004 ed. September 7, 2004,

The Great Depression: FDR and the Depression. September 7, 2004,

The White House. September 7, 2004,
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