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Biography of FDR: 7 Disputed Facts About Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Life

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 08:49 PM

Depending upon who is telling the story, the 32nd president of the United States either ended the Great Depression or was lucky enough to serve as president long enough to watch the economy naturally improve.

Most think of Franklin Roosevelt as a “working man’s” president, but an op-ed piece in The Washington Times calls it a cruel irony that the New Deal ended up causing more human suffering than any legislation of the past century.

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Regardless of which biography of FDR that one reads, there is sure to be a story or two mightily disputed by another author. Among the plethora of disputed facts regarding FDR, these seven stand out:

1. Roosevelt got the U.S. out of the Great Depression.

Although it is one of the most enduring stories of FDR’s tenure in office, most historians now agree that the New Deal did not lead the country out of the Depression.

The New Deal actually failed to create sustainable jobs. Even after the implementation of the Works Progress Administration, Agricultural Adjustment Act, National Recovery Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority, unemployment still exceeded 20 percent.

In addition, The New Deal increased taxes and discouraged those who might start businesses from taking the plunge.

2. FDR was a bigot.

FDR’s decision to send Japanese-Americans to internment camps has long been criticized. Combined with his decision to restrict Jewish immigration to the U.S. in the early years of war also call some to question his religious and racial tolerance.

3. Roosevelt’s medical condition was hidden from the public.

There is a prevailing myth that Roosevelt’s medical condition was never revealed to the public. In fact, there was a Time magazine article written in 1932 that covered details of FDR’s polio diagnosis and partial recovery at a Warm Springs, Georgia, resort.

4. Roosevelt was a military man.

Roosevelt was a military man only in the sense that he held the civilian post of assistant secretary of the Navy before running for vice president in 1920, and was commander in chief of the military as president. However, he never actually served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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5. FDR was a great scholar.

FDR was actually a mediocre student at both Groton and Harvard. He was, however, a social creature, an asset that would serve him well in his political career.


6.
Roosevelt was a warmonger.

Even as he told the American public, “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars,” Roosevelt was in secret correspondence with Winston Churchill, then Great Britain’s first lord of the admiralty.

Churchill’s memoirs inspire doubt as to whether Roosevelt ever intended to stay out of the war.

7. FDR rode in Al Capone’s car to deliver his Pearl Harbor speech.

In what may be one of the silliest urban legends ever to apply to Roosevelt, a story circulated for some time that the president rode in Al Capone’s car to deliver his Pearl Harbor speech on Dec. 8, 1941.

The story likely had its roots in the fact that an armored car would be the safest mode of transportation for the leader of the free world during such an international crisis, but in actuality, Capone’s car was sold to an amusement park in London.

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Regardless of which biography of FDR that one reads, there is sure to be a story or two mightily disputed by another author. Among the plethora of disputed facts regarding FDR, these seven stand out.
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2015-49-06
Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 08:49 PM
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