Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Mary Corey


This thesis consists of three distinct chapters, each with a focus on the general theme of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the media, and his image. Chapter I is a historiography that traces the scholarly discussion of Roosevelt and the media from the late 1970s until the early 21st century. It argues that there was a shift in research that occurred in the 1980s. Where scholarship originally focused intently on how FDR used the media to run the country, it transitioned towards an exclusive concentration on how he used the media to minimize the public’s perception of his disability. Chapter II consists of primary research with two objectives. First, it exposes how FDR projected an image of health, activity, and masculinity in order to inspire confidence in his ability to lead during his time period; and second, it compares that public image to the one that has evolved over the past 68 years since his death—particularly in relation to his disability. The author analyzes a combination of memorials, museums, and historic sites that focus on FDR to expose society’s contemporary public image of Franklin Roosevelt. The author discovers that FDR’s contemporary public image is a complex one, filled with some sites that are reluctant to embrace his paralysis and some that do so passionately; nevertheless, it appears that a general trend is developing toward accepting the role of Roosevelt’s disability in his public image. Chapter III focuses on making the information in Chapter I and II applicable to teaching. It identifies four evidence-based teaching strategies and discusses them in relation to six destinations. Each of these destinations will facilitate lessons and fieldtrips targeted at fostering deeper level thinking while studying Franklin Roosevelt’s use of the media and the manipulation of his image. Chapter III concludes with a list of material resources that would supplement these destinations including films, digital resources, CDs, and primary and secondary literature.