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Opinion
Alasdair Roberts

FDR's `Dictatorship Plan': Echoes

In February 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt was beginning his fifth year as U.S. president. His first term had been grueling, as the administration improvised a response to the country's unprecedented "national emergency."

He had been assailed by critics for trampling on rights and creating an unmanageable sprawl of new federal agencies. But now, three months after an election that he took as vindication, the president's mood lightened. He told friends that he had earned some political capital, and he was going to spend it.