• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why was Franklin Roosevelt such a successful President? What role did Eleanor Roosevelt play? How did she redefine the role of 'First Lady'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Clair Peach , Access to Teaching Why was Franklin Roosevelt such a successful President? What role did Eleanor Roosevelt play? How did she redefine the role of 'First Lady'? Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the USA during a period encompassed two of the most significant events of recent history- the American Depression and the Second World War. In this essay we will look at the qualities that made FDR such a notable President; we will also examine some of the circumstances surrounding the Presidency to discover if perhaps that also had an impact on perceptions of both the man and his Presidency. We will also be looking at Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife and one of his strongest political assets. Eleanor's terms in the White House formed a bridge between the First Ladies of the past, where domesticity and duty to family were the main requirements, and modern day First Ladies such as Hilary Clinton who have successful careers and ambitions of their own. We will Eleanor's role as First Lady, whether it changed over the twelve years her Husband was in office, and how (and whether) she redefined it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in many ways fortunate to inherit a country desperate for a leader. Herbert Hoover, President 1929 -1932, was a straight laced, prohibition supporting President who favoured the Laissez Faire approach to governing the country. ...read more.

Middle

In modern times Presidents spend vast amounts on media consultants and press relations; Roosevelt seems able to have had an innate aptitude for this. As well as being a natural leader, imbued with both charm and self belief, Roosevelt was fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time. When Roosevelt campaigned for Presidency, there were doubts whether capitalism and democracy could survive the Depression; Stalinism in the USSR and the rise of the Nazi party in Germany show evidence for this concern. Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was particularly concerned with the 'threat' from the Communist party: 'Capitalism is dying.. Let no-one delude himself by hoping for reform within'. (Time Magazine 100). In fact, by combining to some extent the national control of a dictator with philanthropy, humanitarianism and a belief in Democracy, Roosevelt maintained the 'American Way'. As well as having the right personality and the right situation for such a successful career, Roosevelt had one major asset- his Wife. Eleanor Roosevelt was the fifth cousin of Franklin, orphaned at ten and educated at a progressive French school, where she spent time performing social work. She married in 1905 and had six children, although the third sadly died aged about seven months. At this time, Eleanor's life revolved around her Husband- first supporting his legal studies, then his political career- and dealing with his Mother Sara, who exerted much control over the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was the great leader, oozing charisma and confidence: she was the humanitarian support act, making sure the marginalized were considered, and managing to see the statistics of poverty as individual people in need of help. He gave her the power to change lives; she gave him the credibility to seem great. However, we must not forget that both Eleanor and Franklin owed a debt to the fortunate era of their existence. Franklin happened to be politically mobile when a charming leader was required; Eleanor happened to be present at the dawn of both American feminism and racial tolerance, and to be a humanitarian at a time of great need. Had they been born at an earlier time in history, their particular brand of politics may have been viewed very differently indeed. To conclude, if I had to choose one word to sum up the root cause of Eleanor and Franklin's success, I would choose 'confidence'. Franklin managed to propose radical measures and deal with failures because he believed in himself. America may indeed have been saved by the War, but Franklin had the confidence to halt the escalating Depression, if not reverse it. As for Eleanor, as she said, 'the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream' (Womenshistory.about.com). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1919-1941 essays

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    Homelessness was a major result of the high numbers of jobless people, as many could no longer afford to pay for their rent or mortgages. As a result many people took shelter in car parks and train stations or as tramps.

  2. Why people supported Roosevelt in the 1932 election

    The Farm Security Administration took over the Resettlement Administration, and gave loans to sharecroppers and tenant farmers to buy their own land. Despite this help, the plight of poor farm workers remained grim. Women and blacks also found it difficult to benefit from the New Deal.

  1. In 1920 Warren G Harding took over the presidency from Woodrow Wilson, who had ...

    At the time government figures showed for the first time that more than half the population lived in cities or towns. Machines improved America's production rate by around 50 per cent during the 1920s. The savings in production costs, together with fairer policies towards workers, resulted in higher salaries for workers.

  2. Explain why Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the New Deal.

    Meanwhile, Roosevelt had different ideas. During his election, Roosevelt promised the people of America a New Deal. He wasn't entirely clear on what measures he might include. However, it was clear that he planned to use the full power of the Government to get them out of the Depression, and this is all the public really needed to know.

  1. How do the philosophies of President Hoover with those of President Roosevelt compare, in ...

    Hoover's immediate response was to allow the economy to fix itself, with the belief that the government should not interfere with private enterprise. He believed as president, he should limit himself to be an "influential advisor and well-placed cheerleader (Greenhaven Press 23)."

  2. Describe the main events in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s political career in the years to ...

    Franklin won the election. In 1911, he began his job as State Senator, taking his place in the New York Senate. He had a mind of his own, and people soon saw that he was not going to be bossed about by anyone, particularly the Democratic Party leaders.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work