chapter  4
17 Pages

Franklin D. Roosevelt

ByTony McCulloch

Franklin Roosevelt was no stranger to democracy promotion in its broadest sense. He was a member of Woodrow Wilson’s two administrations from 1913 to 1921 as assistant secretary of the navy – a position that his distant cousin, former president Theodore Roosevelt, had occupied during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Needless to say, Franklin Roosevelt was a very proactive and ambitious assistant secretary who favoured a big navy and who, during the First World War, was an early advocate of aid to Britain and France. In 1920, helped by his illustrious name, he was chosen by the Democrats as their candidate for vice-president in the election of that year. A strong supporter of international cooperation, he campaigned vigorously for American membership of the League of Nations but went down to defeat in the Republican landslide associated with the United States’ ‘return to normalcy’. The Republicans remained in the ascendancy for the rest of the decade until the onset of the economic depression brought the Democrats back to power, led by Franklin Roosevelt.1