Was FDR a man of the people who strengthened the American system, or a political opportunist who expanded the power of government to the detriment of society?

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I think the answer might depend on whether you are a Democrat or Republican. The Republican answer would be that FDR developed an over-bloated government whose effects we are still suffering from today. Most Democrats would call him a hero and say we need similar programs now.
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This is, of course, a matter of opinion.  My opinion is that FDR's actions (whether he was a man of the people or an opportunist) helped to strengthen and stabilize the American system at least in the short term.

The Great Depression was a huge catastrophe for the United States.  It could easily have led to a breakdown of the American system and perhaps a major move towards communism or some sort of less democratic and less capitalist system.  I would argue that the New Deal gave Americans enough faith in the fairness of the system to prevent such a major change.

FDR may well have been an opportunist and his policies may have (this is debateable) harmed us in the long term.  However, I would argue that the New Deal was essential for keeping the US as a stable, capitalist, democratic country during the Great Depression.

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