Thursday, November 01, 2007
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(President from 1933-1945, 32nd)
By Richard E. Noble
In 1924 Roosevelt (Rose-velt) went to the Democratic convention to place Alfred E. Smith’s name before the gathering for nomination as Democratic presidential candidate. About three years earlier Roosevelt had been struck down with infantile paralysis (polio). They thought that he would never walk again. They had doubts as to whether or not he would ever even sit up again. But in less than three years, there he was at the Democratic National Convention struggling to the podium on crutches and harnessed in metal leg braces. It was only ten steps, but it seemed to take forever as the auditorium hushed and watched the poor man struggling to the microphone. When he got there he threw his head back and beamed his famous grin, and the audience roared with a standing ovation that lasted an hour and thirty minutes.
One month before his inauguration, on Feb 14, 1932 a man named Giuseppe Zangara, sprayed the platform where Roosevelt was speaking with gunfire, wounding five of the president’s entourage and killing Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago. Clearly, Roosevelt was one of those men that people either loved or hated.
Hoover said that grass would be growing in the streets of America if Roosevelt was elected. From what I’ve read, by the time Hoover was done the grass was already there, it only remained for Roosevelt to hire some of Hoover’s fifteen million unemployed and starving to cut it. Roosevelt did much more than that. In just eight years he had half of that fifteen million back to work, and most of America smiling and beaming with hope and optimism once again.
He was called a traitor to his wealthy, privileged class. Hoover called him a Red and a Communist. The more reserved Republicans called him a socialist and a dictator. Joe Kennedy called him “that crippled son of a bitch that killed my son, Joe.”
The man in the street who suddenly found himself once again with a job, food on the table for his family, a roof over his head and hope for the future, called him a savior from God Almighty. And these people elected him four times for a period of almost sixteen years. And I’ll bet if he hadn’t have died, they would have elected him again.
Roosevelt really had two major and distinct presidencies. His first ran from 1932 to 1940 where he tackled the problem of the greatest financial disaster that this nation had ever seen. In this battle he did exactly as his opponents had predicted. He became a dictator and a socialist and took all aspects of government and society into his own hands.
He revised the monetary system, the banking system, the Stock Market, the industrial community, farming, internal and external trading, prices and profits, labor and management relations - everything.
He scared the hell out of a lot of people, and he WAS a dictator.
But, he was a dictator American style. He was a dictator in the tradition of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln - a serious leader with a deep respect for the principles of democracy, and all the people. He had a backbone craved out of the Declaration of Independence. He was truly fearless.
For his encore he took on Hirohito, Mussolini and Adolf Hitler who had at that moment nearly all the free people of the world in their clutches, and democracy on its knees. He was the Commander and Chief who won World War II, sick and dying and from a wheelchair.