Monday, March 26, 2012


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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a prominent president who was reelected for a third and fourth term. His rd and 4th term was dominated by the Second World War. FDR has been known for his many policies concerning social areas, as well as foreign and militaristic during his rd and 4th term. President Roosevelt primarily had in mind protecting the welfare of the public, however many of actions were not ethically correct. Although many of FDR’s policies can be considered tactfully intelligent, they were not always morally justifiable.

The public’s welfare had been protected through many militaristic policies which were created during his presidency. For example, in 1940, the Selective Training and Service Act which has also been known as the Burke-Wadsworth Bill was a peacetime program of compulsory military service in the United States. This act provided for the legislation of all men between the ages of 1 and 5, for one year of training. The first registration which occurred on October 16 resulted in the listing of over 16,400,000 men. This act was created for the protection of the welfare, and a position taken by FDR for preparedness. Through this peacetime draft, Roosevelt created a sense of “preparedness”. In addition, this program led to the creation of an army that would be equipped to fight if the time came for the United States to enter the war. Also, Roosevelt created a shoot-on-sight policy. This policy was enacted when a German U-boat attacked the U.S. Destroyer Greer. When this news reached Roosevelt, he told the country over his fireside chats that a shoot-on-policy would be declared due to this attack created by the Germans. The Americans no longer felt that they were neutral. This in turn led to eliminating the Act of Neutrality of 1930. As a result of removing the neutrality act, merchant ships could be legally armed, and could enter the combat areas with munitions for Britain. This act protected the United States from German attacks. Roosevelt said in his fireside chat, “It is now clear that Hitler has begun his campaign to control the seas by ruthless force and by wiping out every vestige of international law and humanity. His intention has been made clear. The American people can have no further illusions about it… The sole responsibility rests upon Germany. There will be no shooting unless Germany continues to seek it.” This is an informed decision which is justifiable on Roosevelt’s part because it protected the American people. In addition, he did not look to create a shooting war; all he wanted to do was protect the American people.

Foreign affairs also aided in protecting the welfare of people. A policy created by Roosevelt was the Lend-Lease Act which was created in 1941. This act was drawn up to offset the exhaustion of British credits for the purchase of war supplies. This measure was passed by both Senate and the House. It allowed any country whose defense was deemed vital by President Roosevelt to receive arms and other supplies by sale, transfer, exchange or lease during the course of the war. The total lend lease aid during the war amounted to approximately 50,6,845,87. In addition, on March 15, President Roosevelt promised an increase in the amount of aid to the Allies for a total victory. This act was both intelligent as well as morally correct. It aided the allies with weapons and other equipment necessary in defeating the enemies without entering the war. This was a witty move made by Roosevelt since it aided the allies specifically Britain, but did not make the United States enter the war. Also, Roosevelt created this act to protect the public and maintain its state of neutrality. The Act of Chapultepec was created in 1945 as a regional security agreement binding for the duration of the war. This act was created at the Inter-American Conference of Problems of War and Peace. This act stated that aggression upon one American state would be regarded as aggression against all and specified the “use of armed force” to prevent future aggression. This act was intelligent on FDR’s part in that it created alliances and united the allies together in protecting one another. This is morally just since it allowed power in numbers, and strengthened the allies to prevent aggression.

Roosevelt’s social policies such as the Alien Registration Act created on June 8, 1940 strengthened the existing laws concerning the admission and deportation of aliens. It also required the fingerprinting of all aliens in the United States. This measure was created to check as well as prevent rebellious activities. It was intelligent since it made it unlawful for any person to advocate the overthrowing of government or destroying them. It also prevented individuals from organizing or becoming a member of any group which is dedicated to teaching such ideas. Roosevelt promoted a Committee on Fair Employment Practice on June 5, 1941. This was created by Roosevelt through an Executive Order (No. 880). Roosevelt stated, “Whereas it is the policy of the United States to encourage full participation in the national defense program by all the citizens of the United States regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin…Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes…I do hereby reaffirm the policy of the United States that here shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin…” This order in turn created the Fair Employment Practices Committee. This committee was created to promote the fullest employment of all available persons and eliminate discriminatory employment practices. This executive order was a clever move made by Roosevelt since it aided those who had been discriminated from many jobs. This order is justifiable because it made way for fair employment for all individuals. In another Executive Order made by Roosevelt established the office of Defense Health and Welfare Services. This office was created on September, 1941 to assure adequate health and welfare services to meet the needs of the national defense program. The rights of citizens were denied when Executive Order was put through on the days which followed the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor. The United States were unable to strike back effectively against the Japanese Empire. As a result, Americans in the Western states to lashed out against their fellow Japanese citizens. This executive order signed by FDR on February 1, 1941 allowed military commanders to designate areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” Under this order, all the Japanese were forced to leave and go to “relocation centers.” By the end of 1942, more than 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry among which two thirds were native-born citizens were put in internment camps. The truth can be seen through this intolerable experience. This event proved that laws created may not always be sufficient. The Writ of Habeas Corpus, and the Fifth Amendment which states that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, were both neglected under military action. Morally, this order had placed aside the idea conveyed in the constitution and resulted in many innocent lives being placed in these internment camps due to their ancestry. Roosevelt attempt to safeguard the public was indeed a good idea; however placing innocent Japanese lives in internment was morally wrong and unjust.

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Roosevelt dies 1945; he soon came to be looked at as a gallant and crafty president who led the nation safely through two of the worst crisis. The Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s policies were intelligent ideas. However, the way he went about accomplishing some of them specifically the Japanese and relocating them was morally unjust. Though he was successful in organizing the country for a victory in World War II, and won admiration of many his mistake with the internment program will forever be branded upon him.

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