Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 5)

5-The Rising Road (1933-1939)
There have been 3 presidents who were larger than the office they inherited.  One was Washington, who fairly invented the office; there was Lincoln who preserved the country at the center of which sits that office; and then there was Roosevelt, who fundamentally changed the relationship of the citizen to the central government.--George Will
Franklin Roosevelt
-When FDR took office, 15 million were unemployed.  A sense of fear pervaded the country. It was the 3rd year of the crippling depression, and people wondered how long it would last.
-FDR connected with the American people over the radio in his fireside chats.
-He appointed the first woman to a cabinet position.  He appointed Frances Perkins to be Secretary of Labor.
-President Herbert Hoover's mail was handled by only one clerk.  The Roosevelts needed 50.  During the week following FDR's inauguration he received 450,000 letters.
-Most of the American people didn't know that FDR was in wheelchair.  The press wasn't allowed to to take pictures or video FDR in his wheelchair or getting assistance standing and/or getting in and out of vehicles.
The best of the New Deal programs was FDR's smile.  He was armored with Christian faith that the universe is well organized and with the American faith that history is a rising road and things are going to be all right.--George Will
-FDR's critics accused him of bringing socialism to the U.S. with his New Deal programs.
-He was re-elected in 1936 carrying 46 of 48 states and getting 60% of the popular vote.  Many think that the passage of the social security act was what ensured FDR's re-election.
-He became a type of "savior" to the American people.  Many families had his picture on their walls.
-FDR was upset about the conservative members on the supreme court.  They overturned several of his New Deal programs.
-He then arrogantly tried to find a way to change the make-up of the court by introducing legislation that would force justices to retire at age 70.  Even one of his own friends admitted that FDR was trying to pack the court.  The legislation never passed.
-Yet, he was eventually able to pack the court to his liking.  By the time he passed away, he had replaced 8 of the 9 justices.
-The American public was against the U.S. getting involved in World War II.  So, FDR moved very slowly towards what he realized was the inevitable.

Eleanor Roosevelt
-She starts having weekly press conferences of her own.  She only allowed female reporters because only men could attend her husband's.  No previous first lady had ever done anything remotely like this.
-She started writing a syndicated newspaper column called, My Day. She also had a network radio program of her own as well.
-The Roosevelts were more sympathetic to African Americans than their predecessors.  Eleanor even more than FDR fought for them.
-Eleanor had a total of 6 children with Franklin.  One son, Franklin Jr. died in infancy.  Later they had 4 more sons, one of them was also named Franklin Jr., and the others were Elliott (named after Eleanor's father), James and John.  They had one daughter named Anna.
-Even though the Roosevelt's marriage was troubled, they never divorced.  Yet, it seemed to have a big impact on their children.  Between the 5 children that survived, there was a total of 19 marriages.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)
Episode 2-In the Arena (1901-1910)  

Episode 3-The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
Episode 4-The Storm (1920-1933)

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