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Did Roosevelt's upbriging and background make it easier for him to understand the concerns of the American people?

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1. Did Roosevelt's upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans? Explain your answer. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America, was often referred to as the "Greatest Man in the World". However, it would seem that his upbringing and background would not have qualified him for that title until he was stricken with polio in 1921 when he was able to empathize with ordinary Americans and understand their fears and concerns. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born into a very wealthy family. He was an only child and he was spoiled by his mother, whilst living in a 188 acre family estate, enjoyed playing polo and going sailing. He had been to Europe 15 times and lived an extremely luxurious lifestyle, something ordinary Americans would all envy. As a child, he was educated by private tutors until the age of fourteen, when he attended the famous public school of Groton and later furthered his studies at the prestigious Harvard University, where he studied history and law. ...read more.


The turning point of his life came in 1921 when he was stricken with the deadly disease of polio which paralyzed him from the waist down. Throughout his life, Roosevelt had always been rich and happy and lived a luxurious life. When he caught polio, he finally realized and went through the hardships and suffering of ordinary Americans who were in poverty. This was because polio paralyzed him and he lost control over his legs so he could not move and do whatever he wanted anymore. This did not discourage him however, in fact, this experience allowed him to empathize with normal Americans who were going through poverty and hardships which sparked his determination and dynamism to make things right for all Americans. He later wrote "I spent two years in bed trying to move my big toe" which displays his enthusiasm and his eagerness to overcome this disability and he later brought the same determination and dynamism to get America out of the Depression. ...read more.


man of action which was exactly what ordinary Americans, who were going through poverty, needed: a president who cared for them and gave them confidence. In one of his speeches, he said that "These unhappy times call for the building of plans..." which made ordinary Americans see him as a man of action and confidence. In 1932, Roosevelt won the presidential election with a landslide victory and this was largely due to votes from ordinary Americans who were the "forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid" because almost all ordinary Americans hoped he was going to turn things around for them. Thus, despite not having the life of an ordinary American and having a wealthy and luxurious upbringing and background which did not allow him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans, the onset of polio transformed the arrogant and unpleasant Roosevelt into a caring and understanding American president; one who could and would understand, motivate and help those 'forgotten' men. (Word Count: 1020 words.) ?? ?? ?? ?? Victor Shih 6064 ...read more.

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