Evaluate the extent to which the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president in 1932 marked a turning point in United States politics.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt can certainly be considered a turning point in American politics, and this viewpoint can be supported from a variety of different perspectives.

Firstly, consider the degree to which Roosevelt's election gave rise to a more active and energetic executive branch, contrasting greatly with the presidencies of the 1920s (Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, who all tended to favor laissez-faire policies of economic nonintervention). In this leadership style, Roosevelt did much to set the stage for the increasing power and centrality of the executive branch within modern US politics. He set a benchmark that remains in force: even in the modern age, for example, we still tend to judge presidencies based on their first 100 days, a standard which hearkens directly back to Roosevelt and his own first 100 days.

More than that, you can also judge Roosevelt's importance based on the lasting significance of his programs and reforms, some of which continue to play a vital role within the United States today. Consider the Social Security Act, the SEC, or the FDIC, to give just a few examples. Additionally, you might also discuss the rise of the New Deal Democrats, and their dominance of American politics well into the 1960s.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on