I believe with any president you have to take into account what was going on with the country at the time they were in office.
This so called "great recession" we recently had is NOTHING compared to how bad it was during the "Great Depression". The unemployment rate exceeded (20 percent) at its highest point. When people held out signs stating "Will work for food" they meant it! :)
During Franklin's time in office a national welfare system, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, and social security, were created.
The "New Deal" faced a lot of opposition at the time but all of the aforementioned programs are considered political sacred cows today!
The "New Deal" goals were to stabilized the banks and cleaned up the financial mess left over from the Stock Market crash of 1929.
It created a number of special agencies that provided jobs for millions of workers and wages that saved millions more in their desperate families. It also recognized the rights of workers to organize in unions.
Investment in public works built hundreds of thousands of highways, bridges, hospitals, schools, theaters, libraries, city halls, homes, post offices, airports, and parks across America—most of which are still in use today. The New Deal, 1933-1943, inspired a civic, cultural, and economic renaissance. http://livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu/resources/what-w...
Whether one agrees with those social programs, calls them "spending" or "investing" the result led to an overall improvement of the nation's "psyche" at (that) time. The war is also credited with helping to lead us to a booming economy.
Of course back then we did not "outsource jobs" to increase profits and "Made in America" was every buyer's preference. When the stock market was high it meant companies were hiring people (here), selling products, and those employees were spending money.
Today the stock market is hovering at "all time" highs, unemployment is down to 6.3%, interest rates for home loans are low, housing values are on the rise, and very few people feel positive about the economy.
Much of the so called "middleclass" was built on high paying blue collar (manufacturing jobs) that no longer exist. They've been outsourced to other countries and we've signed some Bad Trade Deals over the years. We've gone from being "producers" to "consumers".
Service industry jobs pay a lot less than manufacturing jobs.
Franklin D.Roosevelt was the right man for the job at (that) time.