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Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also commonly known by his initials FDR, (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), was the 32nd president of the United States of America, serving from 1933 until his death in 1945. Roosevelt was a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected four times, and served a few months longer than 3 terms, the longest anyone has been president of the United States. He was elected during what came to be known as the Great Depression, and his presidency included World War II.
On April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage, due partly to the crippling disease poliomyelitis, which physically disabled him during his presidency.
Although Mr. Roosevelt was very popular at first, it has been argued by scholars and analysts, both then and now, that many New Deal relief efforts actually helped to prolong the Great Depression. Mr. Roosevelt started the second wave of the massive expansion of the federal government, and greatly increased American foreign aid. Some of these policies were viewed controversially coupled with persistent high level of unemployment in the 1930s as a result and later US involvement in WWII.
Roosevelt refused to actively campaign for federal anti-lynching legislation throughout his presidency, although he condemned lynching and supported the legislation's aims; this was largely so as to not offend Southern Democrats.
From his second term on the people were told that Roosevelt was the only man who could keep the US out of war; later that he was the only man who could successfully fight the war which he alone could keep the US out of; then that he was the only man who was capable of facing Josef Stalin on equal terms; and finally the only man who could guarantee against the ruthlessness of Stalin in the post-war era.
Franklin Roosevelt was raised in a life of upper-class privilege, the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano. Born in Hyde Park, New York, Roosevelt was educated at home until he was 14, when he began attending Groton Preparatory School in Groton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1903, and received an honorary LL.D. from the school in 1929. He entered Columbia University in 1907 to study law, but dropped out after passing the New York Bar exam.
Marriage and family
Roosevelt met his fifth cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1902. The couple was married on March 17, 1905, with her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt standing in for her late father at the wedding. The couple had six children: Anna Eleanor (1906–1975), James (1907–1991), Franklin Delano, Jr. (March 18, 1909 – November 7, 1909), Elliott (1910–1990), Franklin Delano Jr. (1914–1988) and John Aspinwall (1916–1981).
Election of 1932
The Democrats made Government expansion under the Hoover administration an issue in the campaign of 1932, charging that Hoover was promoting socialism. After Roosevelt had taken office, former Democratic New York Governor Al Smith, saw Roosevelt's ultimately expansive policies as a betrayal of the true ideals of the Democratic party and supported Republican candidates in subsequent elections.
While the Democrats were damning Hoover as a big spender, at the same time he was refusing to be drawn into big spending, the Democratic House passed a bill appropriating $1,500,000,000 for old-fashioned pork-barrel outlays.
On November 16, 1933, when the Roosevelt administration granted diplomatic recognition to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR pledged itself to refrain "from interfering in any manner in the internal affairs of the United States."
- For Main Article see New Deal.
FDR is also famous for his New Deal, a set of economic planning experiments that were meant to bring about the end of the Great Depression, but instead prolonged it and caused American citizens to be burdened with unnecessary government programs for decades to come. Economic growth was negligible to non-existent, and what growth did occur was consumed by an every swelling bureaucracy.
Enforcement of the Anti-trust Act was considered as an essential instrument to prevent cartels and trusts in restraint of trade which had been viewed as deadly to the system of free enterprise. On the campaign trail Roosevelt called loudly for its strict enforcement. Yet immediately upon Roosevelt's accession to office the Anti-trust Act was suspended in order to cartelize every industry in America on the Italian fascist corporative model.[Citation Needed] The National Recovery Act (NRA) and the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) were plans to take the whole industrial and agricultural life of the country under the wing of the government, organize it into vast farm and industrial cartels, as they were called in Germany, corporatives as they were called in Italy, and operate business and farms by economic planning schemes dictated and carried out under the supervision of government. This is, in fact, the essence of fascism. In those days fascism was not defined as anti-Semitism.[Citation Needed] 
The AAA reported to the Secretary of Agriculture but was independent of the Department of Agriculture bureaucracy. Harold Ware was a Communist Party USA (CPUSA) official in the AAA and founded the Ware group. The group consisted of young lawyers and economists, had about 75 members in 1934 and was divided into about eight cells. The AAA was later found unconstitutional, but by that time the Communist operatives had established jobs in government employment. Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, John Abt, Charles Kramer, Nathan Witt, Henry Collins, George Silverman, Marion Bachrach, John Herrmann, Nathaniel Weyl, Donald Hiss and Victor Perlo were all members of the Ware group. Harry Dexter White, who was involved in the most auspicious policy subversion as Director of the Division of Monetary Research in the Treasury Department, was also affiliated with the group. The Ware group was the CPUSA's covert arm at this time. Each of these agents not only provided classified documents to Soviet intelligence, but was involved in political influence operations as well.
Civilian Conservation Corps
- Main article Civilian Conservation Corps
Soon after President Roosevelt's inauguration in March 1933, he announced the establishment of the CCC camps to take the boys off the street corners and out of the transient camps and to get money for their families. Of the New Deal innovations, perhaps the most generally applauded was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), adapted from German predecessors.
An Old Age Social Security Bill was passed during his first term which provided for workers who reach the age of 65 a pension of $8 a week at most. The plan had to be pushed through against his procrastination until finally in the 1934 congressional elections the Republicans denounced him for his tardiness. When he did finally consent to a bill, it contained a plan for building a huge reserve fund that would extract billions from the workers' payrolls without any adequate return. Over the protest of the President, the Congress finally took that provision proposed by Roosevelt out of the law.[Citation Needed] 
FDR, in a letter to journalist Roy W. Howard, wrote,
- "What is known as consumer taxes, namely the invisible taxes paid by people in every walk of life, fall relatively much more heavily upon the poor man than on the rich man." 
Robert H. Jackson, then serving as Internal Revenue Service General Counsel, observed in Congressional testimony that prior to FDR’s election, "we find those taxes bearing most heavily on the well-to-do contributed 68% per cent of the government's total internal revenue and customs receipts, while miscellaneous taxes and customs receipts, bearing most heavily upon the consumer contributed only 31.8%” By 1935 the situation was reversed with “taxes based on ability to pay contributed 38.7% . . . there has been an increase in the proportion of revenues contributed by taxes on consumption to 61.3%."
New capital made available for investment amounted to $348,000,000 in 1935. This was less than 1/10th of the amount available in 1929. By contrast, the British economy had nearly recovered to its 1929 levels by 1935, and the amount available for investment was almost twice as much as the United States.
|Year||United States ||Great Britain |
Congress of Industrial Organizations
By 1935 membership in labor unions had sunk to a low figure as a result of unemployment. There were men around the President at this time that saw the tremendous possibilities of organizing labor as a political force. An industrial union is one in which all the people engaged in a single industry are included without regard to the type of skills at which they work. The industrial union was the one great instrument by which all labor could be organized and the President was urged to promote this idea as the starting point in building up a powerful political labor movement. There were three large industrial unions at that time, John L. Lewis’s United Mine Workers (UMW), the International Ladies Garment Workers Union of David Dubinsky and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of Sidney Hillman.
Roosevelt tried to sell the plan to John L. Lewis of the UMW, and William Green, head of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Green and the AFL opposed the idea of industrial unions and refused, but under the leadership of Lewis, a new group of unions was formed called the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
Lewis was interested in bringing into existence industrial unions like his own, in which he had always believed. Roosevelt was interested in bringing into American labor unions as many voters as possible and in capturing their leadership to build a powerful labor faction which could control the Democratic party and which he and his allies could control through the vast power of the government and the vast powers of labor leaders, along with the immense financial resources that so great a labor movement would have. By the early part of 1938, over three million workers had been organized. Lewis was later to split with FDR.
Planning will become a function of the federal government; either that or the planning agency will supersede the government, which is why, of course, such a scheme will be assimilated to the State. 
Thomas Corcoran  moved from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to the White House and was instrumental in securing numerous appointments for friends and colleagues to New Deal agencies. Eventually he was pushed out in favor of Harry Hopkins for the position of Roosevelt's right-hand man.
Court packing plan
Tommy Corcoran was given the task by Roosevelt to persuade Congress to pass the proposed legislation. I. F. Stone of the New York Post, who later was to agree to work for the KGB,[Citation Needed] wrote speeches for Corcoran on this issue.
Crash of 1937
When FDR was inaugurated for his second term national income, payrolls, and industrial production  were still 20 per cent below the 1929 figure and construction was still only about one third what it had been in 1929. By June, 1937 the Treasury boasted relief payments were less than in the same period the preceding year. But this was not so. The Treasury made a practice of cooking the books and producing phony numbers. It merely shifted relief payments to other accounts. They were, in fact, larger than the year before. Stock prices declined and by September the reality could be no longer hidden. By the end of October the market crashed. The budget was running a deficit at the time $300,000,000 a month.
Robert H. Jackson, Assistant Attorney General, and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes in December made speeches inspired by the President on the conspiratorial America's 60 Families.  In January, John D. Biggers staggered the administration with a report Roosevelt had commissioned that stated there were 10,870,000 people out of work.  Roosevelt realized that all the “pump priming” and spending $17 billion had failed. Despite the billions added to the debt, the Depression was back. He was now at the center of a tug-of-war with advocates of spending like Harry Hopkins, Leon Henderson and Rex Tugwell on one side, and opponents like Henry Morgenthau on the other. DNC Chairman Jim Farley reports he had a talk on the subject with Roosevelt on March 28, 1938.
FDR told Farley he would have "to go in for pump priming or relief," then Roosevelt confessed to a difficulty that is little understood: what could he spend on? There is only a limited number of things which the federal government can spend. The federal government can build schools, hospitals, roads, institutions of all sorts. But they are built in cities, counties, states and the activities which go on in these buildings are within the jurisdiction of the states. And the continuing perpetual maintainance of such things, like payroll, is the in the purview of the states. The federal government can spend money on agricultural experimentation, on scientific research, on national parks, on power dams, etc. But in the end the outlays on these things are limited. The one big thing the federal government can spend money on is the army and navy. Roosevelt explained to Farley that he could not spend on local projects because the states and cities did not want any more buildings and institutions which they would have to support. They were having trouble enough paying the bills of those already built. Roosevelt revealed to Farley that many WPA projects approved by the government were abandoned because the states and cities could not raise the money to support them. In the 1938 Congressional elections Harry Hopkins was spending as fast as he could without any regard to utility to meet the immediate political necessities of an election but couldn't go on indefinitely. And the whole problem was complicated by pressure from within his own party to balance the budget.
The country now reached a greater crisis than in 1933. The public debt, which was $22 billion when Roosevelt took office and was a heritage of World War I, now was $37 billion. Taxes had been more than doubled by Roosevelt. By April 1938 unemployment reached several thousand more than when Roosevelt was elected in 1932. This was not Hoover’s Depression but Roosevelt’s Depression. Voices began to speak up suggesting after all Hoover may have known what he was doing, but here, nine years after the Depression began the fundamental condition of the country was no further advanced than it was at the end of Hoover's three year struggle with it.
Making provision for war increased business profits. In 1936 Roosevelt had said, "If we face the choice of profits or peace, the nation will answer – must answer - 'We choose peace'. It is the duty of all of us to encourage such a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear."  By 1938 Roosevelt embarked on a massive defense appropriations buildup; the Administration would advance 30% to a defense contractor when placing an order. The National City Bank reported an increase of overall business profits in the year 1939 over 1938 of 63.6%, and in its December 1940 Bulletin showed for 284 companies "directly affected by war and defense program" a rise of 79.2%. The Wall Street Journal reported, "Betterment in profits was naturally more pronounced, as a rule, in those industries benefiting directly or indirectly from the European conflict." 
- "Offered as a non-recourse loan . . . the government would have no claim against the Wright company if it failed to repay the loan. All the government could do in that case would be to take the factory. Since the plant would be financed entirely by the government, the government would really be taking back its own property if the Wright company for some reason wanted to drop it. ...The Wall Street Journal reported on August 2 that while the loan was for $92,000,000, 'the cost of the proposed plant and its equipment is understood to be only $37,000,000 or $38,000,000'. When asked by the Journal correspondent about 'this apparent discrepancy', Jesse Jones said, 'We don't believe it would be in the public interest to break down that total at this time'....As this is being written, the Wright contract has yet to be signed. The company is now asking for five-year amortization instead of eight. Incidentally, a vice-president of this finicky company, T. P. Wright, was assigned to the Defense Commission on June 8 to help speed up production"
The Defense Commission was the same commission that would determine and approve the terms of the loan. PM noted "For an $18,000,000 plant to command a $92,000,000 credit from any bank, including a federal one, may make financiers blink, but that is what has been arranged". The Curtiss-Wright loan was only a little over five times the value of the plant. But Boeing Aircraft, with a plant worth $3,000,000 was awarded a loan of $32,000,000, more than ten times. And Boeing was to own it in five years.
It is fairly certain that early in 1939, if not a little sooner, FDR made up his mind to seek a third election in the presidential election of 1940. FDR realized the political difficulties involved in a third nomination so he wanted to make it appear as a "draft Roosevelt" movement. He discussed other candidates with his aids, among the names were Democratic National Committee Chairman James Farley, whom FDR rejected because he was Roman Catholic. The name of Paul McNutt was urged; FDR was angry McNutt would even permit his name to be discussed. FDR told Farley: "I consider it bad taste on his part to be letting his name be used when he is still a member of my administration." Roosevelt sent him as High Commissioner to the Philippines and jokingly asked: "Is that far enough?"[Citation Needed] Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book No Ordinary Time explored the decision to seek a third time and concludes FDR probably decided to enter the war at the same time he decided to run again, although he was politically unable to enter the war until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Administrative Assistants to Roosevelt included James Forrestal, Lauchlin Currie and David K. Niles. Their function was "to get, information and to condense and summarize it for [Roosevelt's] use." 
Commander in Chief
John P. Davies was assigned to Gen. Joseph Stilwell as Stilwell's adviser in China. Hopkins made a note at the time: "The President indicated his strong dissatisfaction with the way the whole show was running in China. He stated that Stillwell obviously hated the Chinese and that his cablegrams are sarcastic about the Chinese and this feeling is undoubtedly known to the Generalissimo."Roosevelt and Hopkins biographer Robert Sherwood wrote that Gen. George C. Marshall told Hopkins his only serious disagreement with Hopkins was on the issue of Stilwell. Sherwood adds that "he was unquestionably a serious nuisance to Roosevelt and there were many times when he was on the verge of recalling him."
Roosevelt himself was responsible for the order of January 1, 1944 which abolished the entire setup of the Counter-Intelligence Corps in the War Department. On February 19 the War Department issued an order which may have harmed the subversion reporting system of the Armed Forces.  On May 19, the day after learning of the secret order to destroy the War Department records on subversives, Senator StyIes Bridges, a member of the Military Affairs Committee, demanded an explanation from Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Lieutenant General McNarney, Army Chief of Staff deputy, was "vague, evasive and obstructive." Bridges told McNarney "he could forgive an officer who makes a mistake or loses a battle, but that an officer who betrays the security of his country should be taken out and shot." McNarney admitted the order had been issued from "higher authority." After much wrangling, Secretary Stimson in a letter of May 27 promised to prevent the destruction of records on subversives. 
The War Department, on December 30, 1944, issued a secret order which expressly condoned "divided loyalty" and established as a guiding rule that "the subversive-suspect should be given the benefit of all reasonable doubt."[Citation Needed]
Big Three conferences
- See also Teheran conference
At the Teheran conference it was secretly agreed to let the Soviet Union have not only eastern Poland but also part of Finland, the Baltic States and parts of Romania. It was secretly agreed to support the Yugoslav Communist, Joseph Broz Tito, and desert the pro-Western, anti-totalitarian friend, General Mihailovich. Roosevelt told a joint session of Congress upon his return to the United States that no secret arrangements had been made.
- See also Yalta conference
At the Yalta conference a reparations commission was set up. The Soviet Union wanted the amount to be 20 billion dollars of which the USSR would take half. It was agreed that labor might be taken as a possible source of reparations. This was a way of authorizing the use of German POWs as forced labour and resulted in serious exploitation of them by the USSR and to some extent the other Allied powers. A very large proportion of the German POWs in Soviet hands died in captivity. 
Roosevelt also agreed at Yalta to have all fugitive Soviet nationals or citizens of satellite nations and tens of thousands of POW's who elected to stay this side of the Iron Curtain, returned to the Soviet Union. The Saturday Evening Post commented:
With this shameful agreement as their authority, Russian MVD agents strode through the displaced-persons camps after the war and put the finger on thousands who had managed to escape the Soviet tyranny. These miserable victims were herded into boxcars and driven back to death, torture or the slow murder of the Siberian mines and forests. Many killed themselves on the way. Also under a Yalta agreement, the Russians were permitted to use German prisoners in forced labor as an item in 'reparations account.' For such inhumanities there is no excuse.
Roosevelt not only made agreements secret from the American people but secret from his closest advisers in the government. He made agreements with Stalin hostile to the objectives of Churchill and kept secret from Churchill. He made secret agreements with Chiang Kai-shek secret from both Churchill and Stalin. He made secret agreements in derogation of Chiang Kai-shek's interests without Chiang Kai-shek's knowledge. And he made many secret agreements which no one in the U.S. State Department knew about until after his death and then learned about only at embarrassing moments from Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.[Citation Needed] 
In February 1944 Congress rejected Roosevelt's demand for a $10,500,000,000 tax increase and cut it to $2,300,000,000. Roosevelt vetoed it saying this was a "bill not for relief of the needy but of the greedy." Senator Alben Barkley, Democratic leader, rose on the floor of the Senate to say the veto was "a calculated and deliberate assault upon the legislative integrity of every member of Congress." The entire Senate united in a roar of applause. Barkley declared that after seven years of carrying the New Deal banner for Roosevelt, he would resign his post as Democratic majority leader and he called on every member of the Congress to preserve its self respect and override the veto. The Senate overrode it 72 to 14 and the House 299 to 95.
Roosevelt's legacy includes the fact that he used government to solve peoples' problems when many President before him, including Herbert Hoover, wanted the market to solve problems. He showed an ability to connect to people, in a way preceding Presidents had not.
- Charles Maclaurin, Post Mortem and Mere Mortals (New York: Doran, 1923, 1925).
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Hyde Park, New York
- "The Mythology of Roosevelt and the New Deal," by Robert Higgs
- Great Depression
- "On the Brink of World War II: Justus Doenecke’s Storm on the Horizon," by Ralph Raico
- "Government and the Economy: The World Wars," by Robert Higgs
- "How War Amplified Federal Power in the Twentieth Century," by Robert Higgs
- "Wartime Prosperity?", by Robert Higgs
- Pearl Harbor
- FDR: The Man, the Leader, the Legacy, Ralph Raico, Future of Freedom Foundation, April 1, 2001. Retrieved from The Independent Institute.org 06/17/07.
- ↑ http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/fr32.html
- ↑ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/32_f_roosevelt/printable.html
- ↑ NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1930s. EDSITEment! National Endowment for the Humanities.
- ↑ Franklin Delano Roosevelt biography.com, retrieved February 5, 2012
- ↑ The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn, Fox and Wilkes, 1948, Book 1, Chapter 4, The New New Deal.[Dead link]
- ↑ The Roosevelt Myth, Book 1, Chapter 7, An Enemy Is Welcomed, Flynn, 1948.[Dead link]
- ↑ Roosevelt Myth, Book 3, Chapter 14, The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn, Fox and Wilkes, 1948.[Dead link]
- ↑ Franklin D. Roosevelt, letter to Roy W. Howard, September 2, 1935.
- ↑ Testimony of Robert Jackson, Assistant General Counsel, Treasury Department, Committee on Finance, U . S. Senate, August 6, 1985.
- ↑ Standard Statistics Co., New Honey for Operating and Producing.
- ↑ Midland Bank, London, New Issues for British Companies, converted from £ to $ at $4.8665.
- ↑ The Principle of Planning and the Institution of Laissez Faire, Rexford G. Tugwell, The American Economic Review, vol. 22, no. 1, March 1932. 
- ↑ After World War II Corcoran employed Soviet agent Duncan Lee in his Washington law firm, Corcoran and Youngman. FBI Silvermaster file biographical details on Duncan C. Lee, Elizabeth Bentley's allegations concerning him, his contacts with Donald Wheeler and Mary Price, Vol. 92, pgs. 20 - 21 pdf, January 26, 1947. On June 6 1945, 6 persons, including U.S. government officials Andrew Roth and John Stewart Service, were arrested on conspiracy and espionage charges related to possession of roughly 1000 stolen classified Government documents in the offices of Amerasia magazine. Amerasia, edited by Philip J. Jaffe, had published classified materials verbatim from the United States wartime intelligence service, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Amerasia's chief financial benefactor was Frederick V. Field. Joseph Milton Bernstein, a GRU contact between Soviet agents in the OSS and the Board of Economic Warfare, was also an employee. Others connected with the Amerasia scandal were T.A. Bisson and Owen Lattimore. Corcoran worked with the Truman administration to cover up the scandal.
- ↑ League of Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, June, 1936. Percentage change 1929 to March 1936, United States -21.8%, rank number 13.
- ↑ New Deal Chorus, Time magazine, pg. 1pg. 2, Jan. 17, 1938.
- ↑ Two Schemes, Time magazine, Jan. 10, 1938.
- ↑ Getting Us into War, Porter Sargent Publisher: P. Sargent, Boston, 1941. No More Millionaires, pg. 372 pdf
- ↑ Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1940.
- ↑ Getting Us into War, Sargent, 1941, pg. 433.
- ↑ Roger Ingersoll, PM, August. 9, 1940.
- ↑ The Roosevelt Myth, Book 1, Ch. 6, The Third Term, John T. Flynn, Fox and Wilkes, 1948.[Dead link]
- ↑ Committee on Un-American Activities, "The Shameful Years: Thirty Years of Soviet Espionage in the United States," 82d Congress, 2d Session, 1951, pp. 15-17; Required Reading List for Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, Intelligence and Security Professionals,The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Alexandria, VA.
- ↑ Roosevelt and Hopkins : An Intimate History, Robert E. Sherwood, New York Harper and Brothers, 1948, pg. 226 pdf.
- ↑ Roosevelt and Hopkin, Sherwood, pg. 739.
- ↑ Roosevelt and Hopkin, Sherwood, pg. 740.
- ↑ Long, op.cit., pg. 12.
- ↑ Long, op.cit., pg. 13
- ↑ Long, op.cit., pgs. 28-31.
- ↑ Speaking Frankly, James F. Byrnes, New York: Harper & Bros., 1947, p. 29.
- ↑ Saturday Evening Post, Editorial, April 11, 1953, pg. 12.
- ↑ Roosevelt Myth, Book 3, Ch. 13, The Final Betrayal, Flynn, 1948.[Dead link]
- ↑ What Trent Meant, Kevin Baker.
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