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Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR 1944 Color Portrait.jpg
Picture by Leon Perskie, 1944
32nd President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
Vice President
Preceded by Herbert Hoover
Succeeded by Harry S. Truman
44th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1929 – December 31, 1932
Lieutenant Herbert H. Lehman
Preceded by Al Smith
Succeeded by Herbert H. Lehman
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
March 17, 1913 – August 26, 1920
President Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by Beekman Winthrop
Succeeded by Gordon Woodbury
Member of the New York Senate
from the 26th district
In office
January 1, 1911 – March 17, 1913
Preceded by John F. Schlosser
Succeeded by James E. Towner
Personal details
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(1882-01-30)January 30, 1882
Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Died April 12, 1945(1945-04-12) (aged 63)
Warm Springs, Georgia, U.S.
Cause of death Cerebral hemorrhage
Resting place Springwood Estate
Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 1905)
Children 6
  • James Roosevelt I
  • Sara Roosevelt
  • Roosevelt family
  • Delano family
Education Harvard University (BA)
Columbia University (JD) (posthumous, 2008)
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Roosevelt in a wheelchair
Rare photograph of FDR in a wheelchair, with Fala and Ruthie Bie, the daughter of caretakers at his Hyde Park estate. Photo taken by his cousin Margaret Suckley (February 1941)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 - April 12, 1945) was the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. He served 12 years as President, dying shortly after beginning his 4th term, the longest ever spent in office. After his death, the twenty-second amendment came into effect. It limited how long a person could be President. Before becoming President, he was Governor of New York from 1929 to 1932, Assistant United States Secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920 and a state senator from the state of New York.


His father, James Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara Delano, were each from rich old New York families, of Dutch and French ancestory respectively. Franklin was their only child. His paternal grandmother, Mary Rebecca Aspinwall, was a first cousin of Elizabeth Monroe, wife of the fifth U.S. President, James Monroe.

One of his ancestors was John Lothropp, also an ancestor of Benedict Arnold and Joseph Smith, Jr. One of his distant relatives from his mother's side is the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. His maternal grandfather Warren Delano II, a descendant of Mayflower passengers Richard Warren, Isaac Allerton, Degory Priest, and Francis Cooke, during a period of twelve years in China made more than a million dollars in the tea trade in Macau, Canton, and Hong Kong, but upon coming back to the United States, he lost it all in the Panic of 1857.

In 1860, he came back to China and made a fortune in the notorious but highly profitable opium trade supplying opium-based medication to the U. S. War Department during the American Civil War. He is a 5th cousin and a nephew-in-law of another United States President Theodore Roosevelt. His 5th cousin, once removed was Eleanor Roosevelt, who was also his widow. Roosevelt once had an affair with his wife's secretary and later avoided seeing her to protect his political career.

Early life

Formal portrait, age 18, in Groton, Massachusetts Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. When Roosevelt was five years old his father took him to visit President Grover Cleveland. The president said to him: "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you. It is that you may never be President of the United States." Roosevelt became the longest-serving president in American history.

Early political career

Roosevelt was the Assistant of the United States Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson. He was nominated the vice presidential candidate under James M. Cox in 1920. Cox and Roosevelt lost to Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

In 1921, Roosevelt got sick with poliomyelitis, a disease that paralyzes people. He never walked again, but Roosevelt remained physically fit, becoming an avid swimmer. Roosevelt became a champion of medical research and treatment for crippling illnesses, but kept his illness as hidden as much as possible from the public, fearing discrimination. His disability did not limit his political career; Roosevelt was elected the Governor of New York in 1928. His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt helped his career by traveling and meeting people when Roosevelt could not. She became famous as his eyes and ears, meeting thousands of ordinary people and bringing their concerns to Roosevelt.


FDR Inauguration 1933
Outgoing president Herbert Hoover and Roosevelt on Inauguration Day, 1933.

Roosevelt won the election against the unpopular incumbent (president at the time) Herbert Hoover and became president in early 1933.

He started a series of popular programs known as the New Deal to fight against the Great Depression. The New Deal gave people jobs building roads, bridges, dams, parks, schools, and other public services. Also, it created Social Security, made banks insure their customers, gave direct aid to the needy, and made many regulations to the economy. Because of this, he was re-elected in a large victory in 1936 and continued the New Deal. The United States did not fully recover from the Great Depression until it entered World War II.

In 1939, Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to appear on television. Roosevelt was elected a third term in 1940. He gave weapons and money to the Allies fighting in World War II as a part of the Lend-Lease program at this time, but the United States was still technically neutral in the war.


The Yalta Conference, Crimea, February 1945 TR2828
Yalta Conference February 1945 Taken by War Office official photographer, United Kingdom

On December 7, 1941, Japan launched its attack on the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii. On December 8, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan. It was formulated an hour after the famous Infamy Speech by Roosevelt. After the declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States. This brought the United States fully into World War II.

Roosevelt also signed an order allowing Japanese Americans to be sent to internment camps against their will. While still president, he died on April 12, 1945. Vice President Harry Truman became president. World War II continued for almost four more months, but Allied victory was already assured.

For overcoming the difficult challenges of a depression and a world war, historians generally consider him to be one of the best U.S. presidents.


In the afternoon of April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, while sitting for a portrait, Roosevelt said "I have a terrific headache." He then slumped forward in his chair, unconscious, and was carried into his bedroom. The president's attending cardiologist, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed the medical emergency as a massive intracerebral hemorrhage. At 3:35 p.m. that day, Roosevelt died at the age of 63.


Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Statues
Eleanor and Franklin statues at FDR National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York.

Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park is now a National Historic Site and home to his Presidential library. Washington D.C., hosts two memorials to the former president. The largest, the 7+12-acre (3-hectare) Roosevelt Memorial, is located next to the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin. A more modest memorial, a block of marble in front of the National Archives building suggested by Roosevelt himself, was erected in 1965. Roosevelt's leadership in the March of Dimes is one reason he is commemorated on the American dime. Roosevelt has also appeared on several U.S. Postage stamps.

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