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A Crippled Nation Stands Tall

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Springwood: FDR and His Presidency

A Crippled Nation Stands Tall


The topic that will be discussed in this paper is how Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR) home and family played into his presidency, and how his presidency dynamically changed the United States economy, foreign relations, and ultimately the trust of the people. This topic fits snugly into chapters 25-27 of the class notes and works as an excellent compliment to understanding our nation's global path to economic re-growth and foreign affairs. I believe that the class would benefit greatly from acquiring a better understanding of what a tremendous precedent President Roosevelt set while in office.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most influential presidents in the history of the United States of America. From foreign policy and economic stability, to his use of mass media; our beloved FDR knew how to reach a nation that was so desperately in need of help. A man that was stricken by polio and brought into presidency at our nations most extreme point of despair, was able to motivate the American people to stand tall and become a strong united nation.

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. The estate on which Franklin was raised was affectionately known as Springwood. Franklin was born into a prominent family and was raised accordingly. He grew up learning "horsemanship, rowing, fishing...," and the likes. Franklin attended Harvard College from 1900-1904, and then ended up marrying his cousin Eleanor Roosevelt. Franklin's father died in 1900, thus entrusting the Springwood estate to Sara Roosevelt, Franklin's mother. "During Roosevelt's career, Springwood became incorporated into his public life. From the time of his first political election and acceptance speech on the Springwood portico in 1910, thereafter the scene would be repeated for each election. Cabinet members, heads of state, royalty, congressmen, senators, and Secret Service stayed at the house during the years of his presidency." Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921, but endured through the disease to take office, and be reelected three times. After Roosevelt's last election in 1944, his health drastically declined and ended up passing away in Georgia on April 12, 1945. "At his own request, He was buried in the Rose Garden at Springwood on April 15, at his own request."

Determining the Facts: Readings

Franklin was first introduced to "political life and public affairs," by his father. After his father's passing Franklin was "inspired by stories of family history from his parents and relatives, and became an amateur architect in his own right." Whenever Franklin proposed a change to the estate his mother would insist, "I think not Franklin. If it was good enough for your father, it is good enough for me." Franklin's persistence paid off and in 1915 the home was renovated and enlarged. After the house was renovated, "Roosevelt's architectural influence carried beyond Springwood." Some may wonder why this fact was included and why such emphasis was placed upon Franklin's love for architecture. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had vision and persistence. These two factors become the vital and essential piece to Roosevelt's success and effectiveness throughout his life. Franklin was very aware of his community and his neighbors. This awareness led to his ability to see a national problem in truth and totality, and then communicate it to the national public so change could occur. "From his relations with his neighbors he knew that a national, even a world problem, always came down to a personal problem."

Franklin's path to the presidency looked as such: "New York Senator- 1910,1912; Assistant Secretary of the Navy-1913;Democratic Vice-Presidential candidacy-1920 (Defeated); Governor of New York-1928,1930; President of the United States-1932,1936,1940,1944." After Roosevelt's loss in the democratic vice-presidential candidacy, he contracted polio. This disease affected him from the waist down, and was not able to walk again without some type of assistance. Franklin's "wife, doctor, and political advisor all agreed with Franklin that he should not retire." Thus, Eleanor became the traveling Roosevelt, keeping FDR informed. FDR was able in time to walk with the assistance of metal leg braces, but would never fully recover, or be able to stand on his own.

In 1928, FDR was called upon by the Democratic party to reenter the limelight and run for the Governor of New York. He did so, and won. The next four years would continue in preparing FDR for his role as President of the United States of America in 1932.

In the two years prior to FDR's election the, "number of unemployed Americans rose from 4 million to 12 million. Foreign trade dropped to a third of its normal level, farm foreclosures accelerated, and many banks failed." When Roosevelt took office in November of 1932 he had overcome so much in his own life. However the Great Depression



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