FDR, the Rhetoric of Executive Authority, and the Development of American Global Hegemony
41 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 4 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
At the time of Franklin Rooosevelt’s ascension to office and throughout his administration, there were loud and contentious debates about the appropriate forms a modern democratic government could and should take. These debates concerned the best way to ensure efficiency in the midst of crisis on the one hand and democracy in the midst of a world that seemed increasingly prone to militarism, communism, and fascism on the other. In this political context, where the future of democracy as a form of government and democracy as practiced in the U.S. were very much contingent issues, FDR engaged in a complex set of arguments that worked together to defend democracy in general as a viable form of government; American democracy as the highest expression of democratic government; the primacy of the federal government as the most efficient and effective locus of democratic power; and the executive office as the culmination of the form, efficiency, and locus of that power. This set of arguments facilitated his claim that his articulation of American democracy was the appropriate model for the world order that would emerge from the crucible of Depression and War.
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