The Roosevelt Myth
WHEN THE WAR DRUMS ROLLED A GREAT GOLDEN VEIL CAME DOWN upon the American scene through which its actors would be viewed. Behind it they postured--statesmen and generals and admirals--in the role of heroes. And lifted above them all, posing in the full glory of the stage lights, decorated by propaganda with the virtues of a national god, was the figure of the Leader. When the battlefield is so far away, war is the greatest of all shows. It is the greatest of all booms. The money flows in rushing streams and for millions it becomes and remains the dizziest and most abundant memory of their lives. The lights have been going out, the bands have ceased playing, the propaganda machines are being slowly silenced and little by little life, scenery and actors are assuming their normal dimensions. Despite all this, many good people in America still cherish the illusion that Roosevelt performed some amazing feat of regeneration for this country. They believe he took our economic system when it was in utter disrepair and restored it again to vitality; that he took over our political system when it was at its lowest estate and restored it again to its full strength. He put himself on the side of the underprivileged masses. He transferred power from the great corporate barons to the simple working people of America. He curbed the adventurers of Wall Street, and gave security to the humble men and women of the country. And above all he led us through a great war for democracy and freedom and saved the civilization of Europe.
But not one of these claims can be sustained. He did not restore