FDR’s Influence as president Some have called him the best president yet. Others have even claimed that he was the world’s most influential and successful leader of the twentieth century. Those claims can be backed up by the overwhelming support that he received from his citizens throughout his four terms in office. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a new era in American history by ending the Great Depression that the country had fallen into in 1929. His social reforms gave people a new perspective on government.
Government was not only expected to protect the people from foreign invaders, but to protect gainst poverty and joblessness. Roosevelt had shown his military and diplomatic skill as the Commander in Chief during World War II. This wartime leadership and international relations policy won him an award in the hearts of many Americans. Roosevelt threw his hat in the ring in 1931 in order to prepare for the election of 1932. Democratic Party chairman James A Farley directed his campaign. He started a nationwide radio address, outlining a program to meet the economic problems of the nation.
He coined the term “forgotten man” to mean all of those who had been hard hit by the evils of the depression. These radio addresses were the start to what he called the “fireside chats”. Overall, Roosevelt was the most energetic and dynamic candidate, and he was nominated by the party on the fourth ballot. Although he displayed excellent characteristics, his competition was fairly tough.
He was up against John Nance Garner of Texas (who would be his Vice Presidential running mate); Newton D. Baker of Ohio, who was former Secretary of War; and former Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. For three ballots, Roosevelt held a large lead, but lacked the two- thirds margin necessary for victory. Farley then promised John Garner the vice presidential nomination, which he accepted grudgingly. Then FDR took the presidential nomination on the fourth ballot. One of the purposes of the national convention is to bring the party together in a movement of support behind the nominated candidate.
Although there was rough competition during the choosing process, most party leaders were happy with the Roosevelt choice. It would help pull votes from the urban-Eastern region of the country. Also, Roosevelt made a dashing introduction at the Chicago convention by being the irst nominee to ever write an acceptance speech. In this speech, he brought emotions from the audience in his last line, “I pledge to you, I pledge to myself, to a new deal for the American people.
During the November campaign against Hoover, Roosevelt suggested a few parts of the so called “New Deal”. He spoke of relief and public works money. He wanted to develop a plan to cut agricultural overproduction. He was for public power, conservation and unemployment insurance. The repeal of prohibition and stock exchange regulation were also big items on his platform. However, other than the aforementioned items, Roosevelt was quite vague about other plans. He mentioned little about his plans for industrial recovery or labor laws.
As much foreign policy experience as he had, he talked very little of it during the campaign. Many believe that he was simply trying to home in on the problems that the American public saw most prominent at the time. When it came to election day, Roosevelt was the only viable alternative to Hoover, who many blamed for the Great Depression, although critics argue that it was the presidents preceding he Hoover Administration. The outcome reflected this thinking: Roosevelt won 22,821,857 votes compared to Hoover’s 15, 761,841.
Roosevelt also won the electoral 472 to 59. The voters had sent large majorities of Democrats to both houses as well, which would enable Roosevelt to accomplish more by pushing through more bills. Roosevelt’s second election was in 1936. The Democratic National Convention re-nominated him by acclamation– no vote was even taken. Vice President Garner was also nominated. The Republican opponents were Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas and Frank Knox, a newspaper publisher.
Republicans, seeing Roosevelt’s overwhelming popularity, were reaching for a tomato to throw. They claimed that he had not kept his promise to the people to balance the budget. Roosevelt replied by pointing to the actions of fighting the depression and returning the nation to prosperity to precedence over the budget. As expected, Roosevelt won by a landslide. He received 27,751,491 popular votes and carried 46 states with 523 electoral votes. His opponent only received 16,679,491 popular votes and 2 states with 8 electorals.