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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What is the true definition of a hero/role model? What criteria must a certain person meet to be recognized as a hero/role model? These questions can never truly be answered because everyone has their own opinion, making it impossible to create a universal criteria that an individual must meet to be considered a hero/role model. Though society as a whole may never agree on the criteria that one must achieve to become one; individuals within it are constantly judging others, with their own standards, to see if they are worthy of such an outstanding honor. In order for an individual to become a hero/role model in my mind they must always rise under the pressure, no matter how great it may be, and make the big decision, hit the big shot, or do whatever is necessary to get the job done; and no matter how serious the consequences may be of failing, he or she is always willing to step up and put their neck on the line. But just because a person is great and superior to everyone else at his or her profession, does not mean they are by any means worthy of such a prestigious title. This certain individual also must conduct him or herself in a well-behaved and morally right fashion. How can you look up to someone that gets arrested, beats their wife, or is just an overall jerk? You can t; and no matter how great the accomplishments, if you are not a good person or you always are screwing up outside your profession, all your accolades will more than likely be forgotten and you will only be remembered for the terrible way you conducted your private life. Take Darrel Strawberry for example, he was a great baseball player, but his greatness will always be overshadowed by his drug problems off the field. There are tons of cases like this, where someone s prominence in their profession is overlooked by their private life, making it very difficult to find heroes/role models. But one man that can truly be recognized as a great hero/role model is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second president of the United States. Not only was he a great president, making unbelievably good decisions while in office, he was a greater man, making him a classic example of a hero/role model.

There have not been too many truly great presidents, but of the ones that are considered exceptional it is almost impossible to say which one deserves the honor of being the greatest. There could not of been a greater man in control of the newly born republic than George Washington; without him who knows what may have happened to this great nation. It could very possibly have been in shambles in its first ten years. Then there was the pro-agrarian Thomas Jefferson, who doubled the land owned by the U.S., and somehow kept a restless country from any major type of conflict. And then there was the all mighty Abe Lincoln. Without him who knows how long slavery would have lasted. But to me none are greater and more important to their time than FDR. He was the only president to ever serve more than two terms in office, by serving four. This shows just how much confidence the people had in him to perform the task of presidency better than any one else. He also kept the U.S. out of World War II as long as possible, but did not hesitate to enter when it became absolutely necessary. Though these are two great achievements to his credit, they don t even compare to the accomplishment that he is really remembered for and what makes him the greatest president in history, pulling the United States out of the worst depression it has by far ever seen. There may never be a president as great as him again, especially with the presidents role minimizing as congress power is increased.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born January 30, 1882 in Hype Park, New York. It is somewhat of a miracle that he survived hi birth, with him coming out unconscious and unable to breathe. Only by mouth-to-mouth recessitation from the doctor was he saved. He lived in a very protective environment as a child and was educated by a series of tutors. Following in his fathers footsteps, who was a lawyer, Franklin attended Columbia Law School. But what is very surprising is, with all the brilliance and ingenious that he displayed in office, he was a very mediocre student. Eventually he dropped out of Columbia before taking the bar exam, but obviously his trouble in school did not carry over into politics.

On March 17, 1905 FDR married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt at a town house in New York City. They stayed happily married for forty years and had four boys and a girl, with all but John getting involved in politics, and how could you not with the name Roosevelt. A lot of the time politics is all about the name and they defiantly had it.

Franklin had a lot of experience in politics before he made the big jump to running for president, which might explain why he was so efficient in office. His first taste of politics was as a New York Senator, serving two terms from 1911-1913. As a young senator he supported farmers, laborers, and woman s rights, which stayed consistent all the way through his presidency. After his two terms as senator, he took a huge step up in the world of politics by being appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson, which is a bit of a surprise with him having absolutely no military experience, but he still performed very well. As Assistant Secretary he proposed expansion of the Navy, which was a good idea since World War I was going on, and drew up preliminary plans do so as early as 1913. He was also among early advocates of U.S. entry into the war. In 1920 he resigned, and took another big step up the political ladder, to take the Democratic vice presidential nomination on the ticket with James M. Cox. After getting absolutely killed by Harding-Coolidge, Roosevelt took a nine-year leave-of-absence from politics and began to practice law. But, he just couldn t stay away, and in 1929 he was elected Governor of New York and re-elected in 31. Again he was very pro-labor, farmers, and woman s rights. After these two stints as Governor he was ready for the big time. In 1932 he announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Most people in life have obstacles to overcome like trying to provide for a family, trying to beat a team that is more skilled than them, trying to get good enough grades to get into a good collage, etcetera, etcetera; but try to imagine having to overcome a national depression, that if not solved may be the downfall of the country. That is a huge burden to take on, and only the strong and mentally gifted could even attempt such a thing. This is what Franklin D. Roosevelt had to try to overcome in his first term in office! After defeating Herbert Hoover in 1932 he was ready to take on this enormous challenge. When he took office more than half of the banks in the U.S. had gone bankrupt! Can you imagine what type of hysteria that would cause in modern day society? It would be unreal. His solution to this catastrophic depression: The New Deal. First he declared a bank holiday so that all banks could go over there books, and those that were essentially sound were reopened. (The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, William Degregorio, Pg498) He also started the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, which employed young men aged 18-25 of poor families to build roads, plant trees, and work on flood control and other conservation projects. (Pg498) This was extremely helpful to the young men that were trying to support their families through this awful depression and that were having trouble finding jobs. He created the AAA, Agricultural Adjustment Acts, which sought reduce crop surpluses and thereby boost price by paying farmers cash subsidies to limit product. (Pg498) The New Deal was also the start of welfare in the United States, by the creation of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. This administration provided assistance to the poor. The welfare issue is still a major reason why the not so financially sound people vote for Democrats, who still support welfare. The Wagner Act was created in 1935, which said that it was illegal for employers to discriminate against union workers. This helped the unions a great deal. Another very important act that was passed, and is still a huge part of the government today, was the Social Security Act, 1935. This act provided retirement income for those over 65, financial assistance for the aged needy, unemployment and disability insurance, and survivors benefits. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/frames/featured/fdr/fdrpp.html Pg1) With the combination of these acts and associations the New Deal was formed, and slowly the U.S. started to creep out of its tragic depression, and FDR had just accomplished what many thought was impossible.

After having an amazingly successful first term in office, FDR won his second term election by the largest electoral vote landslide in history! That is how much confidence the people had in him to further pull the country out of depression. The main concern, other than the continuation of rising out of the depression, in FDR s second term was weather or not to enter the war, but by the beginning of his third term that question was answered, by the Japanese.

Again FDR won by an enormous margin, being elected for his third term as president. A lot of the debate in his second term was on the issue of the war, and FDR choose to stay out of it, considering it really didn t affect the U.S. But, on December 7, 1941 it did become a U.S. problem, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, a United States Navy base in Hawaii. The attack killed 2,300 Americans, wounding 1,200, and destroying much of the U.S. Pacific fleet at anchor there. (The Life History of the United States, Volume11: New Deal and War, Time Life Books, Pg 101) The next day FDR asked congress to declare war, and congress obliged with a unanimous vote. FDR was one of the big three that met in Yalta in February 1945, where Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and himself discussed postwar plans. Not only was FDR a great president he was a superb diplomat. But only two months later he died in office, while serving his unprecedented forth term. He died April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia. Though he never got to see the U.S. win the war, he did get to see his greatest accomplishment of all, pulling the U.S. out of its worst depression ever.

The greatness Franklin D. Roosevelt achieved during his tenure in office and the way he conducted himself outside the White House was impeccable and unmatched by any president before him or after. A great sports figure is often judged how great he is by the number of championships he wins; there is the same standard in politics. A president can be judged how great he was on how many times he was re-elected. Roosevelt was elected FOUR times, which just goes to show the abundance of confidence the people had in him. Not only that, he probably did the greatest thing ever done by a president of the United States, next to Lincoln abolishing slavery; he pulled this wonderful country out of a devastating depression. He also set up welfare and social security, which are still a huge part of this country today. He made countless contributions to the U.S. for which he will not be and cannot be forgotten. Whenever the words role model and hero are spoken, the first name that will come to my mind will be Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to any one that truly knew what he was about it should be the first that comes to mind for them too.

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