Essay by Jordan1High School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Some have called him the best president yet. Others have even claimed that he was the world's most influential and successful leader of the twentieth century. Those claims can be backed up by the overwhelming support that he received from his citizens throughout his four terms in office. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a new era in American history by ending the Great Depression that the country had fallen into in 1929. His social reforms gave people a new perspective on government. Government was not only expected to protect the people from foreign invaders, but to protect against poverty and joblessness. Roosevelt had shown his military and diplomatic skill as the Commander in Chief during World War II. This wartime leadership and international relations policy won him an award in the hearts of many Americans. Roosevelt threw his hat in the ring in 1931 in order to prepare for the election of 1932.

Democratic Party chairman James A Farley directed his campaign. He started a nationwide radio address, outlining a program to meet the economic problems of the nation. He coined the term forgotten man to mean all of those who had been hard hit by the evils of the depression. These radio addresses were the start to what he called the fireside chats. Overall, Roosevelt was the most energetic and dynamic candidate, and he was nominated by the party on the fourth ballot. Although he displayed excellent characteristics, his competition was fairly tough. He was up against John Nance Garner of Texas (who would be his Vice Presidential running mate); Newton D. Baker of Ohio, who was former Secretary of War; and former Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. For three ballots, Roosevelt held a large lead, but lacked the two- thirds margin necessary for victory. Farley then...