Franklin Delano Roosevelt
It can feel these days that world leaders are hell-bent on denying the issues the most threaten us, like the global climate crisis. While planet Earth and all her species have been given a decade to live, they hunt for scapegoats rather than solutions.
At History Hero BLAST, we advocate learning from those who in the past stepped in to rescue humanity and society from endangerment. That’s why today, we highlight a History Hero nominated by Instagram’s @bigapplesocialstudies: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, AKA FDR.
FDR became President of the US in 1933, the bleakest days of the Great Depression. Unemployment was staggering. Suffering knew no racial or gender bounds. In his inaugural address, FDR asserted that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He promised to “wage a war against the emergency” of the Great Depression as though “we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”
And he did. With the New Deal, FDR put those who could back to work. He provided relief to those who could not. He restored dignity and a measure of prosperity to most Americans.
The country needed infrastructure. So FDR signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, creating jobs to build dams to control flooding and generate hydroelectric power. His Works Progress Administration employed people to build post offices, bridges, schools, parks, and highways, and paid artists, writers, theater directors, and musicians to entertain.
His Social Security Act guaranteed retirement pensions, set up a system of unemployment insurance and provided care for dependent children and the disabled. And the Agricultural Adjustment Act subsidized farmers so they could return to growing food for a nation.
FDR’s National Industrial Recovery Act guaranteed workers the right to unionize and bargain collectively for higher wages and better working conditions. He also ended Prohibition, making it legal to buy alcohol, while taking the teeth out of organized crime.
The forces of 'organized money' were unanimous in their hate for FDR – and he welcome their hatred. If we are to save ourselves today, we can ask for no better mentor than him. For the time has come, once again, to stand up to selfishness, power, and greed.