Friday, July 03, 2009

FDR Articles from Time Magazine

The July 6 Time Magazine edition was it's annual "Making of America" issue and carried the cover heading "What Barack Obama Can Learn From FDR".

Time's 2008 version on this theme was about Mark Twain (and linked to at this blog post) and this year's iteration had multiple pieces of interest about President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his connection to President Obama and current times.

The first story was titled "FDR's Lessons for Obama" and written by historian David Kennedy. Maybe I just really like historian-authored pieces in Time like this one on the Great Depression by Niall Ferguson, but it's fascinating stuff. One of the main points that Kennedy makes is how FDR used the the bleak economic climate as an opportunity to enact programs that he felt the country needed long-term.

It's an interesting concept and to me seems an example of what can occur when you have both a great leader and confluence of events makes that greatness needed. Maybe not a perfect connection, but it makes me think of the Shakespeare "12th Night" quote... "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em."

Two other articles in this feature I found to be of interest were "The First 100 Days" about the beginning of the FDR presidency and "The Price of World Peace" about FDR's management of the US entry into WWII and subsequent dealings with Stalin's Russia.

The first story to me showed how FDR deserves huge credit for taking such bold steps and being willing to risk failure. The second stood out as almost the flip side to the first in that it showed a highly pragmatic FDR making deals with Stalin that he knew not perfect, but in the best interest of all.