Born: January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York.
Died: April 12, 1945 in Warm
Married to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great
Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith
He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted
in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear
Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York - now a national historic site - he
attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick's
Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt.
Following the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt,
whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service
through politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York
Senate in 1910. President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary
of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in
In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, disaster hit-he was stricken
with poliomyelitis. Demonstrating indomitable courage, he fought to
regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924
Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate
Alfred E. Smith as "the Happy Warrior". In 1928 Roosevelt
became Governor of New York.
He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms.
By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was
closed. In his first "hundred days" he proposed, and Congress
enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture,
relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and
homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen
and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal
program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had
taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the
budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded
with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the
wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous
work relief program for the unemployed.
In 1936 he was re-elected by a top-heavy margin. Feeling he was armed
with a popular mandate, he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme
Court, which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Roosevelt
lost the Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law
took place. Thereafter the Government could legally regulate the economy.
Roosevelt had pledged the United States to the "good neighbor" policy,
transforming the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto
into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors. He also sought
through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the
war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened
or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940,
he began to send Great Britain all possible aid short of actual military
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt
directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global
Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations
between the United States and Russia, he devoted much thought to the
planning of a United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties
could be settled.
As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on
April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral