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
against 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
first 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
the 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. This reflected the
nation\'s confidence in the man and his leadership ability. However, the nation
still had a long