Franklin Roosevelt came to office in 1933 in the midst of the financial crisis of the Great Depression. Much of Roosevelt's early work as President was concerned with restoring the economy and alleviating the economic duress of the American people. An essential part of FDR's ideology was his commitment to an invigorated concept of the social contract, as well as a reinterpretation and revival of the Declaration, and its commitment to certain human rights. It was this commitment that led him to many of the projects that constituted the New Deal. (Landy and Milkis: 157-160)
Roosevelt is considered the first modern president. The modern presidency is a term used to describe the office of the presidency, since its transformation (during FDR's 4 terms) into the principal vehicle of popular rule. This change invigorated the presidency and the offices' popular influence. (Landy and Milkis: 153).
The cause of Roosevelt's success and extraordinary greatness were predicated on the fact that, due to the economic and military emergencies that existed during his term in office, he led the people of the country by innovative and confident measures, reassuring them in the face of crisis. Roosevelt did an excellent job of reinforcing himself as their leader and protector, and inviting them to let him be a part of their everyday lives. His policies drastically affected their economics, and his means of communication, the radio addresses known as the Fireside Chats, met them in their living rooms. For the American people of the 1930s and early 1940s Roosevelt was a consistent member of their daily lives; and thus he created for himself the role of interpreter and communicator of the popular will.
* Landy, Marc and Sidney M. Milkis: Presidential Greatness. University of Kansas
Press: Lawrence, Kansas, 2000.