People get all mad about FDR because he started several social programs we still see today. What they don't say is that FDR had huge reservations about these programs. In fact he said several times that the circumstances surrounding the Great Depression forced him to introduce these programs. He was worried about the expansion of these programs and always believed a man should pull himself by his bootstraps. In other words, it's on the individual not the government to support ourselves. FDR was wildly popular during his time as president and when most people were asked about FDR from that generation they believed he literally saved them and the country. Then you can get into WW2 and that's even more notches on his belt. What Im saying is that FDR consistently ranks in the top 5 and is usually seen behind only Washington and Lincoln by Presidential scholars. Even Newt said FDR was a top 3 president this morning. (Also Newt had Reagan, Ike and FDR as the 3 greatest presidents of the 20th Century). I just want to point this out as Truman continues to spank FDR in our voting
Also, the choice wasn't between FDR and less government. It was between FDR and MORE
government. If Americans rejected FDR, it wouldn't have been in favor of the laissez-faire Republican model, which was viewed as having gotten the country in this mess to begin with. It would have been in favor of more extreme alternatives to Roosevelt, of which there were several waiting in the wings, including Huey Long.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were seemingly coming out of the Depression. It was mostly propaganda, but they looked pretty good from the outside. Violent revolution was a concern, and I'd say that concern wasn't completely unfounded.
FDR saved America.