Franklin Delano Roosevelt`s multifaceted presidency from 1933 to 1945 (the longest term in the country`s history) sparked much debate about the man and his policies. For some, he is the brilliant tactician who fought mightily against the entrenched forces of economic crisis and totalitarianism to save capitalism and liberal democracy in their time from great danger. Others see him as a devious and unprincipled conciliator, a broker president who has fragmented national politics by building electoral alliances around self-serving interest groups. Still others accuse him of vastly expanding the welfare state, undermining the free enterprise economy, and weakening American initiative. Few people, however, deny that his response to the worst depression in American history is the defining feature of his presidency. In 1942, amid the global crisis of World War, FDR faced the horrors of Nazi efforts to annihilate the Jewish population in all areas under his control. Roosevelt did not respond to the Holocaust with a sense of moral urgency by denying asylum to Jews and ignoring calls to let American warplanes impede genocide by bombing crematoria or railroads to death camps. In 1932, in the midst of the Depression, the Democratic Party nominated him to the presidency. He promised a “New Deal” for the affected nation and easily defeated a vulnerable Herbert Hoover and became the thirty-second president of the United States.

Few in the campaign alluded to the scope of his agenda to fix the crippled economy and uplift the nation. Nor did he allude to the vastly expanded role he himself wanted to play in steering the recovery. But the crisis had prepared the American people for change and experimentation, and with his exuberant personality and cunning political instincts, Roosevelt capitalized on this yearning for new beginnings. In those desperate days, there was talk of revolution, but despite all the changes and adjustments to come, Roosevelt had no intention of changing the basic political economy of the United States just to better respond to the crisis he had inherited. Roosevelt paid little respect to consistency. If Herbert Hoover viewed American capitalism as a rigid system, in FDR`s hands it became a flexible set of guidelines that could be modernized and modified as opportunities were made. As a pragmatist, he experimented with different solutions, willingly discarding those that did not produce results or win the support of voters. Initially, the New Deal supported pricing and corporate trade deals to restore corporate vitality. a few years later, after losing faith in this approach, Roosevelt`s Justice Department launched the most aggressive antitrust offensive in American history.

Early concerns about controlling the deficit gave way to large spending programs, which were replaced by a sharp reduction in 1937, contributing to what many have called the “Roosevelt recession.” He then adopted the theories of British economist John M. Keynes, who advocated massive government spending to stimulate market weakness. Roosevelt`s equally shifting approach to labor facilitation led to hasty plans and phony-built programs that critics denounced as pointless lies. More importantly, before the end of Roosevelt`s first term, the Supreme Court dismissed critical parts of its key AAA and NRA agencies as unconstitutional extensions of federal authority. A rebuked Roosevelt became more cautious and protected his New Deal coalition, made up of machine politicians, organized workers, workers, intellectuals, city dwellers, peasants, marginalized minorities and Southerners. He now cooled his political enthusiasm and refused to use political capital for controversial moral campaigns. Even after African Americans shifted their votes to the Democratic Party, the New Deal did little to address systemic racial discrimination. For fear of offending the White South, FDR refused to support laws that would make lynching a federal crime; and many New Deal programs tolerated Jim Crow practices. Women played a more visible role in the New Deal than in previous administrations, but women`s rights remained a postponed dream during the Great Depression, when even Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member in history, preferred to give work to men, presumably responsible for the household. rather than women.

Our mission is to provide free, world-class education to everyone, anywhere. If you see this message, it means that we are having trouble loading external resources on our website. An example of the colossal scale of these projects is the Tennessee Valley Authority, a huge seven-state initiative to modernize the impoverished region through conservation and economic development. The agency has rehabilitated threatened forests, built dams to protect lowlands from flooding, and provided electricity and running water to thousands of rural households that had never had it before. TVA hydroelectric plants provided electricity at a reasonable cost, and their experts taught farmers how to maximize production without depleting their land. Another New Deal favorite, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), has placed millions of unemployed urban teenagers in rural camps to work on conservation projects and other improvements. The continuing economic crisis, unfavorable Supreme Court decisions, vehement opposition from the right and left, and the growing popularity of dissident movements led by Dr. Francis Townshend, Senator Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin forced FDR to change course before the end of his first term. His new approach was so different that historians have called it the Second New Deal. In addition to creating a safety net for the elderly and unemployed and what opponents called “Soak up taxes on the rich,” the new initiatives targeted monopolies, exposed corporate abuses and strengthened the position of unions. He then signed a law for a minimum wage and the forty-hour week.

Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donate or volunteer today! But after his historic re-election, when the situation in Europe darkened, he resolutely set out to equip British forces through programmes such as the Lend-Lease Act, and then provide patrols to protect supplies, abandoning any semblance of neutrality. After Hitler`s attack on Russia in June 1941, Roosevelt expanded this crucial aid to help Russia as well. On December 7, 1941, a day FDR declared he would live “in disgrace,” Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (though historians have asked how “surprised” the U.S. was by the attack), and three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Thomas Kessner, Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York`s Graduate Center, is the author of Fiorello H. La Guardia and the Making of Modern New York (1989), Capital City: New York City and the Men behind America`s Rise to Dominance, 1860–1900 (2003), and The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation (2010). To log in and use all Khan Academy functions, please enable JavaScript in your browser. While domestic politics and depression set the political agenda of Roosevelt`s first two terms, foreign policy took over in the late thirties. After Britain and France became painfully clear that sacrificing small nations to the Nazi regime would not prevent war, an isolationist U.S.

Congress passed neutrality laws designed to prevent any involvement in the European conflict. Unable to ignore British cries for help, especially after the fall of the France in June 1940, FDR used various excuses to send weapons to Britain. In 1940, he sought an unprecedented third term and worked to keep the United States out of the war. Over the next eight years, the New Deal established the framework for a federal welfare system that provides relief, unemployment insurance, and pensions. Through the National Recovery Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Administration, and the National Labor Relations Act—or NRA, AAA, SEC, FDIC, FHA, NLRB—and other “alphabetical agencies,” it regulated agriculture, industrial policy, labor, banking, and investment. and greatly expanded federal power over the daily lives of citizens. He used progressive taxation to reduce income disparities, designed a new urban policy that gave new meaning to the American metropolis, and undertook a massive, if uncoordinated, system of federal work projects designed to boost employment and inject federal funds into the economy. This program alone has created a vast legacy of school buildings, post offices, airports, federal housing projects and dams, as well as a willingness on the part of states and cities to look to Washington for major internal improvements. Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the only son of an aristocratic family in upstate New York who had made his fortune in international trade.