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Did Roosevelt's upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the fears and concerns of ordinary Americans?

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Introduction

Did Roosevelt's upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the fears and concerns of ordinary Americans? Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1933 to 1945, this is the longest time spent in office by one president. During his time as president he had to deal with the results of the Depression, and try to put to ease the fears and concerns of ordinary Americans. Roosevelt's upbringing, background and character could have made it easier for him to understand these fears and concerns, but it is very unlikely, as he did not have the upbringing or background of ordinary Americans. Some of the values he may have learnt in his youth though may have made it easier for him to understand the fears and concerns of ordinary Americans. The fears and concerns of ordinary Americans changed a lot from the "roaring" twenties when life was fast, fun and exciting. ...read more.

Middle

Much of young Franklin's life was sheltered though and he led a comfortable, gracious existence, which was very unlike ordinary Americans. Roosevelt's formal education began at Groton Preparatory school, where the headmaster stressed to his students their obligation towards those less fortunate in society, (noblesse oblige). This sense of obligation could have made Roosevelt look deeper into the world around him and find out what was wrong with it and how it could be improved for ordinary Americans. Roosevelt also did not fit in at school and was made an outsider in the unforgiving world of adolescent boys; this could have made him understand people in the thirties, as he did not fit in. After Groton, Roosevelt went to the exclusive Harvard University, where he was also rejected when he tried to get into the Porcelain club but was black balled. This may have led Roosevelt to believe his rich and privileged background was pushing him away and he may have felt a sense of rejection. ...read more.

Conclusion

Roosevelt could have related this to the fears of ordinary people as the Depression was destroying them so he would have felt the same feelings as them of desperation. The disease that was Roosevelt's one weakness could also have helped to mature him and give him an insight into how ordinary Americans were feeling. Roosevelt's upbringing was so protected and privileged that it would have been difficult for him to gain understanding of ordinary Americans concerns and fears but there are certain elements that may have helped and made it easier for him. Roosevelt's headmaster at Groton could have helped by encouraging public service. Much of Roosevelt's early life would have just enforced the patrician attitudes of his class. Roosevelt may have understood the peoples suffering through his own suffering by his illness. Roosevelt understood that the suffering of the Depression had mostly affected ordinary Americans with great impact, but his background, character and upbringing had little to do with it. Roosevelt really only abandoned his patrician airs until after he entered politics. Some aspects of his upbringing and background helped him gain an understanding, but it mainly enforced the attitude of superiority. ...read more.

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