Q: You write of FDR that "he was the New Deal." What was the impact of Roosevelt's personality on the New Deal programs, and how would you characterize the overall success of the New Deal?--Marshal Zeringue
A: Roosevelt's personality, transmitted over the airwaves, was central to the New Deal. Radio transmission of a leader's voice was comparatively new and projected a sense of authority and leadership directly into the households of ordinary individuals. Television would have a similar impact for the next generation of Americans.
Q: What was the impact of Theodore Roosevelt on FDR's policies and world view?
A: TR clearly had an impact. He was the first of what political scientists call "the modern presidents." He used the mass media (newspapers and magazines in his day) to project an image of activism and authority along with a concern for ordinary middle-class Americans.
He also engaged in unprecedented activism in foreign policy (Panama canal; mediation of the Russo-Japanese war). He combined images of being a reformer at home and activist leadership in foreign policy. The young FDR...[read on]