Skip to content

America’s Greatest Presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Top Achievements as President

Born on January 30, 1882, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America’s 32nd president. Often referred to as FDR, Roosevelt served four terms in the federal government as the U.S President from 1933 until his demise on April 12, 1945.

He won four presidential elections as a Democratic Party member and became an iconic figure in world events in the early 20th century.

The longest-serving U.S President is ranked third by scholars as among the top American presidents after Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

When Roosevelt became President, America was undergoing the Great Depression. He formed the New Deal, a program for recovery, relief, and reform to counteract the depression.

He helped America defeat the Axis Powers and led the nation through World War II. He expanded the federal government’s powers through the series of the New Deal reforms programs.

In response to America’s worst economic crisis, Roosevelt directed the fed government through the Great Depression using the reform programs. His position as a dominant party leader allowed him to create the New Deal Coalition, redefining politics in America to align with the Fifth Party System.

Roosevelt also reshaped liberalism in America. Some of his greatest achievements include:

  • Creation of the emergency banking act to counteract the Great Depression
  • Establishment of FDIC
  • Unemployment rate reduction
  • Setup many institutions to support the New Deal
  • Created institutions as part of the New Deal
  • Created the U.S. social security system
  • Established the minimum wage and 40-hour workweek
  • He took action to prohibit discrimination in employment
  • Led America to victory in World War II
  • Took part in the creation of the United Nations
  • Aided water pollution control

5 Major Achievements of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America’s 32nd President

  1. Created the emergency banking act

Roosevelt initiated the emergency banking act to counteract financial panic in the Great Depression when he took office. He closed all banks for about 100 days to allow Congress to draft and pass reform legislation.  

Introduced on March 9, 1933, the Emergency Banking Act allowed America’s 12 Federal Reserve Banks to give out extra currency on good assets.

On March 15, 1933, Americans re-deposited their cash in local banks, increasing the percentage price. According to the New York Stock Exchange, it was the highest increase ever in just one day.

The Act ended the bank runs and improved stability during the Great Depression

  1. Supported water pollution control

The Roosevelt government dealt with water pollution control through public works projects under the emerging welfare state. It offered technical assistance, grants, and aid to local and state governments to support water pollution control.

He disallowed WPA sewage treatment projects that allowed untreated waste into rivers, streams, and lakes. His efforts later led to the invention of various water treatment solutions for water.

Additionally, water softeners were developed based on the process of water purification and treatment. Water softeners and filters ensure that well water is softened for use in various households.

  1. Established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The Emergency Banking Act led to the establishment of the Banking Act (the Glass-Steagall Act) in 1933. Roosevelt signed the Act into law on June 16, 1933.

As a result, the FDIC was established. The agency offers deposit insurance to protect bank depositors from banks that fail to pay their debts and become bankrupt.

FDIC restored Americans’ trust in the banking system, making it functional to-date. The banking act also differentiated investment and commercial banking.

  1. Created institutions as part of the New Deal

FDR established the New Deal between 1933 and 1938 in the U.S. It comprised of the following:

  • The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) – provided state relief programs with loans and grants.
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – employed over 3 million manual workers in natural resource conservation and development for nine developments.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) – controlled floods, offered power and modernized agriculture in Tennessee
  • The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) – gave subsidies to farmers to lower crop production and increased farm income by about 50%.
  • The Public Works Administration (PWA) – developed public works on a large-scale and drove the biggest construction effort of Americans to spend more at the cost of $6 billion.
  1. Reduced unemployment rate by 23%

When Roosevelt became President as stated before, America was undergoing a financial crisis. Industrial production dropped, the unemployment rate increased, and many banks were about to be closed.

Roosevelt promised relief, reform, and recovery to the Americans during his presidential campaigns.

He promised to implement multiple economic reforms dubbed “New Deal” to help the nation out of the crisis situation. Within 100 days of taking office, Roosevelt brought immediate relief to thousands of Americans who weren’t employed.

Some locals were sent to rural areas to work on local projects for extra earnings. However, Roosevelt increased the unemployment rate from 25% to 2%.

Roosevelt, as an American president, made achievements that still define the nation even today.