Franklin Roosevelt left a wealth of knowledge, lessons, and programs to the world when he died. One of the most important of these, and one which actively affects all Americans today, is his legacy to government.


As we have mentioned earlier, when the stock market failed in November 1929 the banks were set upon by millions upon millions of desperate clients hoping to recoup some of their money. Because there was little regulation on the banks, they had deposited their clients' money in the stock market, hoping to make up the yearly interest for their clients' accounts quickly and pocket the rest. When the stock markets failed, the banks had no money to give to their patrons and consequentially had to close.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office in early 1933, he immediately enacted an indefinite bank holiday, and set about restoring the nation's humbled financial institutions. First of all he created incentives for those who used to have money in the bank to keep it in there until the banks had the necessary capital to distribute the money back to them. Working with Congress, he also created new laws governing the rights of banks to use their patrons' money.

Besides the laws, Roosevelt created a new organization to prevent the catastrophic loss of money from banks occurring again. For this purpose he created the FDIC, or the Federal Depositor's Insurance Commission, which today insures all depositors in federally-licensed banks with up to and including one hundred thousand dollars per account if the banks were unable to command the necessary funds.

Today this gives us Americans the assurance that, provided that the federal government does not suffer a catastrophic loss of money and theft of its gold, a banking catastrophe like the one experienced in the Great Depression will never occur again.

Large Government

The Roosevelt administration, in its four terms and thirteen years of influence, created over thirty temporary or permanent bureaus, commissions, or authorities. The federal government expanded by a ratio of over three to one during that period, greater than at any other time in American history. In order to support the ambitious undertakings of the programs such as the New Deal and wartime production regulators, he required a tremendous amount of manpower.

Roosevelt left us the legacy of the large government. Some might call it a bureaucracy. But in Roosevelt's day, the large government was both proper and necessary in order to carry out all of the various programs he conceived to make our country a more happy, equitable, and pleasant place to live.

Welfare Programs

Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the very first of our nation's welfare programs, a novel concept in his day. These were stealthily placed under the blanket title of "The New Deal", but once they took root, Roosevelt actually put the first social welfare program into place.

You can find detailed information concerning this in the His Legacy > The Welfare State section of our website.

The implications of this are enormous. Since the 1940s, welfare has helped millions of struggling Americans to regain their feet and take their place as productive and contented members of society.

These three aspects of Roosevelt's legacy are the most obvious. There are many more. But from these, you may get a feeling of exactly what contributions this great man made to our nation's government.