Did Franklin D Roosevelt do anything wrong?

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First, no president is "perfect in every way." That said, it cannot be denied that President Roosevelt was very popular, and that the vast majority of the country trusted him-- and with good reason. He is generally credited with getting the US out of the Great Depression; he was also masterful at using the dominant medium of his day, radio, to spread his message; he also used it to unify/encourage the country. His wife Eleanor was similarly beloved and admired, and she too used radio to reach out to the public and reassure them during difficult times. Over all, the Roosevelt administration had many successes and today, he is still respected for his leadership in a time of crisis (first the Depression, then the war). But yes, even a popular president can make mistakes. And there are certain actions Mr. Roosevelt took that today's critics (and even a few in his own day) have regarded negatively. So, while I can't offer any "dirt," I can certainly offer you a few facts about the mistakes the president made.

For one, many modern critics believe Mr. Roosevelt was slow in advocating for equal rights for black citizens. At first, in the mid-1930s, he allowed policies to be put in place where black people were given lower pay or exempted from protections white people received. (This gradually changed around the time World War II broke out, but prior to that, yes, a case could indeed be made that he was very conservative about equal rights.) For another, he permitted the internment of Japanese-American citizens, a shameful move that was the result of bigotry and anti-immigrant fervor around the time of the war. There was great suspicion against Japanese-Americans, and Mr. Roosevelt signed the order to round them all up and place them in internment camps (some might say concentration camps), even though their only "sin" was being of Japanese ancestry.

And then, there's the matter of the Holocaust. Back then, the claim was made that the American government had no idea what was being done to the Jews by Hitler and the Nazis. Sad to say, the information was available, and any reading of Jewish newspapers of that era will tell you that the leaders of the Jewish community were desperately trying to persuade the US government to admit more Jewish refugees. Unfortunately, there were people in the Roosevelt administration who were quite anti-Jewish; while Mr. Roosevelt said all the right things in support of the Jews, in reality he did not do as much as he might have to help them: in fact, the US government allowed very few Jewish refugees into the United States during his administration.

Finally, there was the "court-packing" scheme in 1937-- where President Roosevelt tried (and failed) to add more justices to the Supreme Court. His intent was to make sure he chose so many justices that it would be impossible for the court to strike down any aspects of his New Deal legislation. It was a bad idea to try so blatantly to manipulate the judiciary, and it was one of the few times when the otherwise very popular president received an enormous amount of push-back, even from some of his supporters. Those are the major errors I can think of. I do hope this helps you with your debate preparation, but again, please keep in mind that Mr. Roosevelt served an unprecedented four terms and most scholars would tell you that he did much more good for the nation than harm.
I have a debate coming up, and I need some dirt on Franklin D. Roosevelt. The problem is, he's my favorite president and it seems like he was perfect in every way. Does anyone have any ideas on what I could say against him?
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