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The New Deal 1933

Roosevelt

WHEN Franklin Delano Roosevelt was nominated in 1932, he was fifty years old. A fifth cousin of former President Theodore Roosevelt, he came of a wealthy family. He grew up on a large estate at Hyde Park, New York, overlooking the Hudson River. At the age of twenty-four he married Eleanor Roosevelt, a distant cousin and a niece of Theodore Roosevelt. Several years after graduating from Harvard and studying law at Columbia University, he entered politics and was elected to the state senate. In the presidential campaign of 1912 he supported Woodrow Wilson, who named him assistant secretary of the Navy. In 1920, Roosevelt ran for vice president, but he and his running-mate, James M. Cox, lost the election to Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Even so, Roosevelt had become nationally known and it looked as though he had a bright future in politics. Then, less than a year later while on vacation, he fell ill of poliomyelitis. At first he was paralyzed from the waist down, but slowly, painfully, he fought his way back to health. He would never be able to walk normally and he would be forced to use a wheelchair most of the time. He learned to get about with the aid of braces on his legs, leaning on canes or crutches. In 1924 he made his first Public appearance since his illness. He hobbled on crutches to the speaker’s platform at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he placed Alfred E. Smith’s name in nomination before the Democratic presidential convention. The cheers of the audience were as much for Roosevelt as they were for Smith. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN Roosevelt’s battle against illness had left him a changed man. Francis Perkins, who later became his Secretary of Labour, said that he “emerged …

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Japan Meets the West 1853-1905

tokyo

The date was July 8, 1853; the place, Yedo, a sprawling collection of wooden houses overlooking an arm of the Pacific Ocean. Yedo, later known as Tokyo, was the chief city of the Japanese islands, off the east coast of Asia. It was larger than London or Paris, but since Japan had been out of touch with the rest of the world for centuries, few foreigners knew it. Yedo was also the residence of an official called the shogun, who theoretically governed the country in the name of the emperor. As they stared out at the bay that day, the people of Yedo could hardly believe what was happening before their eyes. In spite of a strong wind blowing seaward, four black ships were moving steadily toward them, trailing streamers of black smoke. Panic seized the onlookers and they rushed to defend themselves. The strange craft turned out to be warships from a distant land called the United States. They were commanded by an officer named Matthew Perry. Perry had not come to attack Yedo; instead, he bore a friendly letter from the American president to the Japanese emperor. He asked the shogun’s representatives to deliver it and sailed away, promising to come back. The following February, Perry returned, this time with seven black ships. The officials who greeted him enjoy the whiskey and other liquors he gave them and marveled at working models of a telegraph system and a steam locomotive. After a round of parties, talks began between the visitors and their hosts and on March 31, 1954, a treaty was signed between Japan and the United States. Although this treaty opened only two small Japanese ports to American traders, it was of great importance, for it cleared the way for many other treaties between Japan and the …

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