Tag Archives: FDR

Review of “FDR: A Biography” by Ted Morgan

“FDR: A Biography” is French-American biographer, historian and journalist Ted Morgan’s 1985 biography of the 32nd president. Morgan was born Comte St. Charles Armand Gabriel de Gramont but changed his name (to an anagram of “de Gramont”) after becoming an American citizen in 1977. Morgan won a 1961 Pulitzer Prize in journalism and his 1982 […]

http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2016/04/07/review-of-fdr-a-biography-by-ted-morgan/

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Let’s Celebrate Presidents’ Day with FDR!

Not since Abraham Lincoln have I been this excited about the next president on my journey through the best presidential biographies. Two years ago, twelve biographies of Lincoln consumed four months of my life with everything that 9,500 pages of gripping narrative could offer. Now I’m on to an even more audacious task: reading 18 […]

http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2016/02/12/lets-celebrate-presidents-day-with-fdr/

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Curbing the Lame Duck

FDR was the first President inaugurated on January 20… the first 146 years of our republic endured the unusually long four month “lame duck” period.  The only explanation for this Constitutional abnormality was convenience- 18th century travel times accounting for delays in governance.  Modern times exposed the limitations of the system- the Civil War and Great Depression stand as glaring examples of absence of leadership in times of crisis.  The 20th amendment, ratified in 1933, fixes this problem.

Coming next January 20th ?

Coming next January 20th ?

Moving the inauguration of both the President and Congress… does create an interesting political dilemma.  In the event of a Presidential contest being settled in the House of Representatives,  the 20th amendment places the duty in the hands of the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing.  This provision has yet to be utilized, but the effects could further widen the partisan gap in this country.

President Burr?

President Burr?

A party sweep of an election cycle could tip the balance… in a Presidential contest too close to call in the Electoral College.  If these factors are considered in a prior example, like the election of 1800, the prospects are alarming.  Jefferson was chosen by a predominately Federalist Congress, which had been voted out of office.  The incoming Jeffersonian House could have easily been swayed to elect populist upstart, Aaron Burr.  Hamilton’s influence would have been rendered irrelevant.  “What if” history at its most terrifying.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ignored Wishes

Leave it to the man who violated the Washingtonian… principle to ignore the wishes of another great Founder.  Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation #2276, in 1938.  The order called for a national observance of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

Your obsession with me, Mr. Roosevelt, is quite illogical

Your obsession with me, Mr. Roosevelt, is quite illogical

This, in spite of the fact that Jefferson never wanted his… birthday to be a national matter.  Jefferson made it abundantly clear upon taking office, through executive action and requests made by political supporters. ” …disapproving myself of transferring the honors and veneration for the great birthday of our republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birthday be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it.  “The only birthday I ever commemorate, is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mild about Harry

Harry Truman was not a popular politician in 1948… Labor unrest, foreign crises, and domestic communism scandals plagued his time in office- the bulk of FDR’s fourth term.  A Presidential term no one really wanted Truman to serve- FDR’s administration had ignored Truman in the first 80 days and became openly hostile during the transition.   Truman had no choice but to make key changes in the cabinet to counter the insubordination from Roosevelt’s aides.  Even Elanor Roosevelt questioned Truman’s foreign policy decisions- FDR’s widow was cordial with his successor, but had never enthusiastically endorsed his position.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

FDR supporters saw Truman as… provincial, uneducated, and just plain average.  He lacked a college education, performed poorly in social situations, and didn’t possess  the charismatic presence that endeared so many Americans to  Roosevelt the icon.  Truman’s Midwest roots alienated him from the Democratic power structure of the Northeast.  Roosevelt diehards resented that he had replaced long-time confidant, Henry Wallace, on the 1944 ticket.  Truman angered them further when he dismissed Wallace from the cabinet for insubordination in 1946.  Wallace used this animosity to garner the Progressive party nomination in 1948.  The Roosevelt coalition had been irreparably broken, so Wallace had little chance of winning- but his campaign threatened Truman’s Democratic base.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

This uncouth, undereducated, Midwest rube… was now trusted to keep the US out of World War 3, get the economy moving again, root-out communist subversives, and continue the struggle for civil rights-  all while his party divided twice beneath him during a reelection campaign.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ephemera

Conspiracies are Hatched

“There can be no middle ground here. We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict.”  … Roosevelt’s words ring hollow through history considering what happened after Yalta.  Congress agreed with FDR’s assessment of the Crimean accords, but the next world conflict was already under way.  Historians have tried to connect the dots over the last 69 years- many connections have yet to be convincingly made…conspiracy has filled the voids.  

"Of course I believe in a free Poland...come now, let's smoke"

“Of course I believe in a free Poland…come now, let’s smoke”

Stalin clearly benefited from the agreement… as much of the groundwork for the Eastern Bloc was laid during the negotiations.  How could Roosevelt and Churchill  allow Stalin to have his way on a majority of the issues?  If we believe Churchill’s self-described deference to Roosevelt,  something(or someone) influenced the decision making.  Questions about FDR’s health are at the source of many conspiracies:   Was he too weak to deal with the diplomatic rigors? Did knowledge of his mortality cloud his judgement during negotiations? Was he willing to grant a great deal to Stalin to secure what he considered to be his legacy, the United Nations?    The lack of written evidence, combined with basic deduction has led many an amateur historian down the conspiratorial path.

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Most historians now concede that Alger Hiss… was not simply an American Communist, but in fact, a Soviet agent.   Hiss was a member of the US delegation to Yalta.  He arranged some of the papers used during the negotiations.  Conspiracy theorists do not have to leap too far in linking Hiss to the outcome at Yalta.  Records indicate that Hiss had a minor role(at best) during the negotiations.  But, to conspiracy theorists, lack of written evidence is never a deterrent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ephemera

Conspiracies are Hatched

“There can be no middle ground here. We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict.”  … Roosevelt’s words ring hollow through history considering what happened after Yalta.  Congress agreed with FDR’s assessment of the Crimean accords, but the next world conflict was already under way.  Historians have tried to connect the dots over the last 69 years- many connections have yet to be convincingly made…conspiracy has filled the voids.  

"Of course I believe in a free Poland...come now, let's smoke"

“Of course I believe in a free Poland…come now, let’s smoke”

Stalin clearly benefited from the agreement… as much of the groundwork for the Eastern Bloc was laid during the negotiations.  How could Roosevelt and Churchill  allow Stalin to have his way on a majority of the issues?  If we believe Churchill’s self-described deference to Roosevelt,  something(or someone) influenced the decision making.  Questions about FDR’s health are at the source of many conspiracies:   Was he too weak to deal with the diplomatic rigors? Did knowledge of his mortality cloud his judgement during negotiations? Was he willing to grant a great deal to Stalin to secure what he considered to be his legacy, the United Nations?    The lack of written evidence, combined with basic deduction has led many an amateur historian down the conspiratorial path.

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Most historians now concede that Alger Hiss… was not simply an American Communist, but in fact, a Soviet agent.   Hiss was a member of the US delegation to Yalta.  He arranged some of the papers used during the negotiations.  Conspiracy theorists do not have to leap too far in linking Hiss to the outcome at Yalta.  Records indicate that Hiss had a minor role(at best) during the negotiations.  But, to conspiracy theorists, lack of written evidence is never a deterrent.

3 Comments

Filed under Ephemera