The Uncensored History of the Three Most Destructive Presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Samuel Valk, U.S. Politics Contributor
This article is part two of a three part series. See part 1 here.
OPINION- Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson are the three most destructive presidents America has had. This is part two of three installments about these three men, focusing on Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR).
FDR was first elected president in response to the Great Depression in 1933. He was allowed to sweep into office in a landslide by promising more government intervention in the economic crisis. Herbert Hoover, FDR’s predecessor, started the trend of government involvement in any financial crisis. Before the Depression of 1929, all other Wall Street panics and recessions were very short. In fact, unemployment in the US was hovering around 9-10% when the Depression first started; however, the number went up about a year later when Hoover started meddling in the economy, raising the unemployment and spiraling the US and the world out of control. FDR’s plan was to add more government help to the depression, not less. This led him on the path to becoming one of the most destructive men in US history.
When FDR was first elected in 1933, he promised the government would “help” out the citizens more than ever before. He promised a minimum wage of $0.25 per hour, which in 1933 he was successful in passing. The minimum wage is often touted by progressives today as a good thing for poor people; however, this original minimum wage was passed with the exact opposite thought in mind. FDR passed the minimum wage, in part, because FDR supported the labor unions and the unions were looking to keep “undesirables” out of the job market. Poor and minority Americans typically worked for less than most white, middle class Americans so they were being hired at a much faster rate at the turn of the 20th Century. The labor unions saw these new workers as a threat to their current workforce as these new workers would work for less, so the minimum wage was passed to ensure that those who are willing to work for less were priced out of the job market entirely. This especially affected African Americans in all forty eight states at the time as this group, who was willing to work for less, was no longer allowed to be legally employed for less, giving them the true minimum wage of $0 an hour.
The racist minimum wage laws were not the last thing FDR did that put us on the wrong path. In 1937, FDR tried to pass the Judicial Reforms Bill. This would have allowed the president to appoint 15 judges to the Supreme Court instead of 9. This would not be the first time the number has changed, although it would be the first time a president would add that many justices to swing the court in his favor. He fought for some time to try and pass this bill but thankfully the Democrats and Republicans both worked together to stop the bill from passing. FDR tried to use his presidential power and pack the Supreme Court with people who liked him just to keep his agenda going long after he would be gone.
Finally, there are many who will say that none of the above matters, as FDR was a great war president. It is true that FDR was probably the right man at the right time to lead the United States through WWII. However, it was what he did as a response to the Japanese Imperial bombing of Pearl Harbor that overshadows the good he did for us in my mind. FDR, in February of 1942, just six weeks after the horrific attack, signed and implemented Executive Order 9066. The order established concentration camps for people in the United States who happened to be of Japanese descent. Property was stolen from over 100,000 US citizens and their lives destroyed for numerous years just based solely on how they happened to look. The Supreme Court did hear the case in 1944, Korematsu v. United States,which six Democrat justices, all appointed by FDR himself, decided that the internment and stealing of property was constitutional. Two Democrats that FDR appointed and one Republican from the Hoover age said the executive order was unconstitutional. The United States did eventually formally apologize to the Japanese Americans who were forcefully removed from their lives during the time.
FDR did not care about the rights of the individual, a core tenet of conservatism. He did what he could for political convenience at the time, no matter who it hurt in the long run. His push for a minimum wage historically kept minority and poor workers from entering the marketplace, he tried to pack the Supreme Court to keep his progressive agenda going, and he stole and interred people based solely on how they looked. He, like all other progressives, did not care about the individual or the Constitution, so long as his agenda was enshrined into law. We must stop the progressives today from continuing FDR’s path. If we had stopped the progressives after the destruction caused by FDR, we may not have ended up with Lyndon Johnson, the last, and arguably, most destructive of the “progressive” presidents.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @SamDemands
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