President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Cons of His Presidency

About the cons or negative aspects of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

His 12 Years, 39 Days as President

CON

Roosevelt's enemies considered him a power-mad demagogue who expanded the powers of the Presidency to dictatorial proportions. His infamous "court-packing" plan--which would have allowed him to appoint new justices and to remake the Supreme Court according to his will--showed his basic contempt for constitutional processes. In violating the unwritten law against a 3rd term, he set a dangerous precedent of interminable one-man rule. In response to the excesses of the Roosevelt era, the nation wisely adopted the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution--limiting all future Presidents to 2 terms only.

CON

After promising the voters that he would "balance the budget," FDR launched happily into an irresponsible spending spree, the likes of which had never before been seen in American history. His massive give-away program encouraged the masses to develop "their wishbones more than their backbones." The effects of this paternalistic policy are still felt today, with a massive, all-powerful government bureaucracy overshadowing the life of the individual. The New Deal panaceas were not only costly, they were ineffective in combating the Depression. It was only the beginning of wartime production that returned prosperity to a nation dangerously weakened by 6 years of Roosevelt's ill-considered social experiments.

CON

Roosevelt became aware of the Fascist menace too late to take effective action to stop it, and even then he failed to take the necessary steps to prepare the U.S. for war. He did nothing to prevent the appeasement of Hitler at Munich or elsewhere. During the Spanish Civil War he supported the embargo of arms to Spanish Loyalists--thereby assuring success to the pro-Fascist Franco forces. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was the product of either gross incompetence on the part of the Commander-in-chief or a deliberate willingness to sacrifice American lives to political expediency. It has often been suggested that the President knew a Japanese attack was coming--and welcomed it, as a means of easing himself out of the controversial decision to lead the nation to war.

CON

During the war, FDR did absolutely nothing to rescue the doomed Jews of Europe--even after he learned that millions of them were being slaughtered by the Nazis. At home, he approved the unconstitutional and inhuman internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans in the infamous "relocation camps." Throughout the war, Roosevelt was naively confident that our Soviet "allies" would keep their promises, and at the Yalta conference he personally sanctioned Stalin's takeover of most of Eastern Europe. By the time of the Yalta meeting, Roosevelt's health was so bad that his performance was impaired: His mind wandered, and he found it hard to concentrate on the business at hand. With his doctor, Roosevelt conspired to keep his failing health a secret from the American public--so as not to jeopardize his chances for a 4th term. Even Vice-President Truman was left in the dark, and Roosevelt did nothing to prepare his successor for the enormous responsibilities of the wartime Presidency.

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