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The President and American Public Opinion: Franklin D. Roosevelt in the crisis of 1940-41.

August 9, 2017

Research Problem: The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, four media arenas:

1) the press,

2) radio and television,

3) press conferences and

4) public-speaking, will be analysed to determine the potential affects which a President many bring to bear on public opinion through their use. Second, this theoretical construct will be applied to a case study of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leadership of public opinion during the pre-war years 1940-41. The influence of each, as well as their cumulative effects will be sought.


Method: Public opinion as used in this study refers to any collection of individual opinions; it may or may not constitute a majority. The President has available to him, through the press, the electronic media, the press conference and platform speaking, four complementary means of influence. Their influence is limited only by the ability of the President to utilize them to his advantage. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the media was discussed in relation to the public opinion.


Results: Preseident Franklin D. Roosevelt successfully utilised the mediums of media to influence the American people to support the Allies and his new policy as expressed through the public opinion.

This was evident with his election for a third term of Presidency by majority vote.


Conclusion: Roosevelt skilfully employed the media and exploited it to its fullest advantage. He continued to have support of the majority of the people throughout the build up to World War 2, through the support of the Allies and the patrolling of the seas to protect Greenland.



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