What you are going to read is going to anger some of the other people on this thread, but it is true and reasonably factual (without me going back and re-researching the exact dates I cite --
Did you not know that FDR was directly responsible for the US being sucked into WW-II and that it was intentional and planned by him? Roosevelt had two reasons for this. He believed that the US could not allow Europe, and especially Britain, to fall to the Nazis -- probably a valid and noble position had it been starkly presented to the citizens of America. Additionally, he knew that the fastest means of ending the Depression was war. In 1937 Captain Claire Chenault, with permission of the US Government and FDR, "retired" and went to China to evaluate the Chinese air forces. Not long after that, Chenault recruited a number of Army Air Corps flyers to "train" the Chinese Air Force. By 1939, American pilots, flying American aircraft, were flying missions against Japanese commercial shipping and aircraft over the Sea of Japan. In early 1941, at the specific request of President Roosevelt, the agreement between the US and China was officially sanctioned by Roosevelt with the formation of the American Volunteer Group. As the AVG, they stepped up bombing of Japanese ships, with emphasis on iron ore carriers and petroleum tankers, thus choking the Japanese homeland of desperately needed supplies and forcing the hand of Japan -- leading directly to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
FDR was a brilliant man who through manipulation got us attacked as an excuse to enter the war against the Axis powers. Additionally, FDR was largely responsible for drastic escalation of the nations up to then very modest Income Tax. The withholding tax on wages was introduced in 1943 and was instrumental in increasing the number of taxpayers to 60 million and tax collections to $43 billion by 1945, well above what was originally promised to the American people. FDR also increased the power and spending of the Federal Government far beyond what was provided for in the US Constitution. America is paying today for many of the moves that FDR took in the 1930s and 40s.
It is my personal opinion, shared by many conservatives, that FDR was far from being the "Great" president he has been painted by a liberal education establishment. He was clearly very popular, but he was also extremely manipulative and often lied to the people about what the government was doing and why. He was neither good nor bad, encompassed elements of both, and left a long legacy of both positive and negative results.
While many of his "Progressive programs" were lauded and were compassionate, historians do not agree that those actions had any measurable impact on the length of the Depression and many of the moves he took probably contributed to prolongation of the Depression far longer than it would otherwise have been.
Overall,good.He led America out of isolationism,at a time when the majority of Americans were not in favour of any foreign involvement ( the 1940 election win against the populist Wendell Wilkie was his narrowest).On the other hand,he trusted Stalin too much, and belatedly came to realise that.We should also be grateful that he chose Harry Truman as his VP in 1944,instead of Henry Wallace - but that would really be the subject of another question.
He was the great leader during WW2, and he was a great man for the American people. Especially how he got the people out of the depression and initiated Social Security. He was in my opinion was the greatest President in American history.
On balance, he was a good president, certainly in the top ten, yet he over-reached in some areas, such as his plan to add several justices to the Supreme Court to give him the ability to stack the Court in his favor. When the country started to come out of the depression in 1934-35, some of his policies are widely believed to have led to a double-dip depression in 1936-37. His public works policies helped get people back to work, preserved their dignity, and resulted in works that exist and are in use to this day. Like most people, he had his good and bad points, and the country was certainly very different after he died than when he become president.
One of the top 5, at the least
I think he was the best president we ever had. The Depression was a challenge - there's no doubt about it. But FDR remembered that people have dignity and the New Deal built on that. He also put restrictions in place to try and prevent a 2nd depression. Some, like Glass-Steagall, have been repealed - and look at the result.
He was obviously a very popular President, since he was elected to 4 terms. He gets credit for taking the country out of the great depression, and for winning World War 2. He also created programs like Social Security which are more controversial these days, so he's not without critics. But his presidency was very successful.