Franklin Delano Roosevelt (commonly referred to as FDR) was the 32nd President of the United States. He was elected to be president four times, the most in our country’s history. He was the cornerstone of America in the time he was elected (1933-45). He helped us through our struggles with both the Great Depression and World War II. He gave us hope and courage in a time of need, and helped us out of both debt and war.
He was a very true and incredibly famous American figure.Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 as the only child to the wealthy James and Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt. Their estate was called Springwood, located in Hyde Park in upstate New York. Roosevelt was extremely privileged growing up, being taught by tutors and by governesses until he reached the tender age of 14. Once he became that old, he went to Groton School, a boys’ preparatory school in Massachusetts. He didn’t fit in with everyone right away, as Groton men often excelled in athletics, while he did not.Endicott Peabody, who was the headmaster at Groton, had always taught his students to help the less fortunate through public service. Roosevelt took this message to heart, and it carried with him until his death.
After graduating from Groton in the year 1900, Roosevelt began schooling at Harvard University, determined to make a name for himself. He studied to receive a BA degree in history, although he was an average C student. His contemporaries all agreed that he was “underwhelming and average.” Even so, he was a member of the exclusive and famous Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, was the editor for the Harvard Crimson newspaper, and on top of all of that, he received his degree in only three years.After attending Harvard, Roosevelt attended Columbia University Law School. He passed his bar exam in 1907, but dropped out before receiving a degree, finding the practice of law too boring and restrictive.
This is where Roosevelt began to study politics and become a politician. He was elected as a Democrat to the New York State Senate in 1910,having come from a district that had been voting Republican for the last 32 years.In 1905, Franklin Roosevelt married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who was his fifth cousin and also the niece of former President Theodore Roosevelt, whom the former idolized. The couple became engaged during Roosevelt’s final year at Harvard. They had six children, five of whom survived past infancy.
In 1914, Roosevelt developed a relationship with his wife’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer, which then turned into a love affair. Eleanor discovered the affair in 1918 and then gave Franklin an ultimatum to either never see Mercer again or she would file for divorce. He agreed but still saw Mercer in secret over the years.
Roosevelt was reelected to the Senate in 1912 and supported the campaign of President Woodrow Wilson, which earned him a spot as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, which happened to be the same role that Theodore Roosevelt had been in before shortly becoming president. He held this position until 1920. He was energetic and efficient, mainly specializing in the business side of naval affairs, founding the U.S.
Naval Reserve. His popularity and success resulted in him being nominated for Vice President to James Cox, but the duo lost to Republican Warren Harding.In the summer of 1921, Roosevelt vacationed at Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. It was there that he contracted a dangerous form of polio that caused him to lose the use of his legs, despite his many efforts, which included many therapies and even buying the Warm Springs resort in Georgia seeking a cure. He soon after established a foundation at Warm Springs to help others with polio and inspired the March of Dimes program, which eventually did fund an effective polio vaccine.Following the stock market crash of 1929, Republicans were being blamed for sparking the Great Depression. Roosevelt saw this as a great opportunity to fun for the presidency, campaigning by calling or the government to intervene in our economy, and this is what caused him to be elected and inaugurated on March 4, 1933. With the Great Depression came stock reform and recovery legislation.
Roosevelt set up several alphabet agencies like the AAA and the CCC. There was also the WPA, which provided jobs for all, and the Social Security act which provides compensation and retirement programs.Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 and easily reigned into 1940, thus making him the only president to serve more than two terms. In 1939, World War II broke out. Roosevelt announced that the nation would not likely stay neutral in the face of Nazi aggression. The factories became an “arsenal of democracy” for the Allied Nations. On December 7, 1941, hopes of keeping the States out of war ended.Roosevelt took an active role as the army’s Commander in Chief.
He signed Executive Order 9066, which ordered people of Japanese descent to leave the West Coast. He orchestrated a series of invasions, first North Africa, then Sicily, and then the D-Day invasion of 1944. The West was also succeeding in rolling back Japan into Japan. During this time, Roosevelt also promoted the formation of the United Nations.
It was at this time that the war was won, in 1945, during the first year of Roosevelt’s fourth term.Roosevelt had returned to his sanctuary at Warm Spring after the war, which had taken a serious toll on his health. He was diagnosed with atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. On April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. The United States was truly shaken by his death, and vice president Harry S. Truman took the oath of office within hours.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a pivotal part of our nation during his time, and nobody seemed to be prepared for his passing. His legacy still lives on in what organizations live on today that he founded, and he seems to be best known as the only president who was elected to four terms. Without him, we would not have made it out of the Great Depression, and we might have even lost World War II. For that, we are forever grateful, and we hope that we will continue to prosper because of him in the future.