President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the USA

Nicknames: "FDR"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York, United States
Death: Died in Warm Springs, Meriwether County, Georgia, United States
Place of Burial: Roosevelt Estate, Hyde Park, Ny
Immediate Family:

Son of James Roosevelt, Sr.; James Roosevelt; Sara Ann "Sallie" Roosevelt and Sara Roosevelt
Husband of Eleanor Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady
Father of Anna Roosevelt; Brig. General James Roosevelt (USMC); Brig. General Elliott Roosevelt (USAAF); Franklin Delano Roosevelt II and John Aspinwall Roosevelt
Half brother of James "Rosy" Roosevelt, Jr.

Occupation: 32nd President of the United States
Managed by: John Patrick McCaffrey
Last Updated:

About Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the USA

Roosevelt Genealogy:

SOURCE: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/resources/genealogy.html

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945; pronounced /ˈroʊzəvɛlt/ ROE-zə-velt)[ was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms (he was elected to four but only served three full terms, dying in his fourth term), he was often referred to by his initials, FDR. Roosevelt won his first of four presidential elections in 1932, while the United States was in the depths of the Great Depression. FDR's combination of optimism and economic activism is often credited with keeping the country's economic crisis from developing into a political crisis. He led the United States through World War II, despite his weakening health, and died in office shortly before the war ended.

In his first "Hundred Days" in office, starting March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched a variety of major programs. In his first term (1933–36), FDR led Congress to enact the New Deal, a large, complex interlocking set of programs designed to produce relief (especially government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (by which he meant regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then went into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing much new legislation; it abolished most of the relief programs when unemployment practically ended during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975–85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, the major surviving program is Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy"—supplying the munitions while others did the fighting. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Great Britain. He secured a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a "date that will live in infamy". He supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the Allied war effort, taking criticism for fumbles early on, but saw unemployment evaporate and the industrial economy soar to heights no one ever expected.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR's New Deal Coalition united together labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, welfare recipients, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt's diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woods as examples of his administration's wide-ranging impact. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Family name

A young Roosevelt in 1899 sailing with Helen R. Roosevelt and his father James Roosevelt.

Roosevelt is an Anglicized form of the Dutch surname 'Van Rosevelt,' or 'Van Rosenvelt', meaning 'from field of roses.'[2] Although some use an Anglicized spelling pronunciation of /ˈruːzəvɛlt/, that is, with the vowels of rue and felt, Franklin used [ˈroʊzəvəlt], with the vowel of the English rose.

One of the wealthiest and oldest families in New York State, the Roosevelts distinguished themselves in areas other than politics. Franklin's first cousin, Ellen Roosevelt, was the 1890 U.S. Open Championships women's singles and doubles tennis champion and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

His mother named him after her favorite uncle Franklin Delano.[3] The progenitor of the Delano family in the Americas of 1621 was Philippe de la Noye, the first Huguenot to land in the New World, whose family name was Anglicized to Delano.[4]

[edit] Early life

See also: Roosevelt family and Delano family

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. His father, James Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara, were each from wealthy old New York families, of Dutch and French ancestry 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 returning to the United States, he lost it all in the Panic of 1857. In 1860, he returned to China and made a fortune in the notorious but highly profitable opium trade[5] supplying opium-based medication to the U. S. War Department during the American Civil War, although not exclusively.[6]

Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara was a possessive mother, while James was an elderly and remote father (he was 54 when Franklin was born). Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years.[7] Frequent trips to Europe made Roosevelt conversant in German and French. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis.

Roosevelt went to Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Roosevelt went to Harvard, where he lived in luxurious quarters and was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He was also president of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper. While he was at Harvard, his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became President, and Theodore's vigorous leadership style and reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero. In 1902, he met his future wife Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore's niece, at a White House reception (they had previously met as children, but this was their first serious encounter). Eleanor and Franklin were fifth cousins, once removed.[8] They were both descended from Claes Martensz van Rosenvelt (Roosevelt), who arrived in New Amsterdam (Manhattan) from the Netherlands in the 1640s. Rosenvelt's (Roosevelt) two grandsons, Johannes and Jacobus, began the Long Island and Hudson River branches of the Roosevelt family, respectively. Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt were descended from the Johannes branch, while FDR came from the Jacobus branch.[8]

Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School in 1905, but dropped out in 1907 because he had passed the New York State Bar exam. In 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law. He was first initiated in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was initiated into Freemasonry on October 11, 1911 at Holland Lodge No. 8 in New York City.[9]

[edit] Marriage and family life

See also: Roosevelt family

On March 17, 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott. The young couple moved into Springwood, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. The home was owned by Roosevelt's mother until her death in 1941 and was very much her home as well. As for their personal lives, Franklin was a charismatic, handsome, and socially active man. In contrast, Eleanor was shy and disliked social life, and at first stayed at home to raise their children. Although Eleanor disliked sex, and considered it "an ordeal to be endured,"[10] they had six children, the first four in rapid succession:

   * Anna Eleanor (1906–1975; age 69)
   * James (1907–1991; age 83)
   * Franklin Delano, Jr. (March 18, 1909–November 7, 1909)
   * Elliott (1910–1990; age 80)
   * a second Franklin Delano, Jr. (1914–1988; age 74)
   * John Aspinwall (1916–1981; age 65).

Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer which began soon after she was hired in early 1914. In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I. According to the Roosevelt family, Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. According to FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith it is generally accepted that Eleanor indeed offered "to give Franklin his freedom."[11] However, they reconciled after a fashion with the informal mediation of Roosevelt's adviser Louis McHenry Howe, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again. His mother Sara also intervened, and told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, he would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar."[11] However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941—and perhaps earlier.[12][13] Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service.[14] Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on April 12, 1945—the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known until the 1960s.[15]

The effect of this affair upon Eleanor Roosevelt is difficult to estimate. "I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget," she wrote to a close friend.[16] Though Eleanor never liked sex, after the affair, any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Eleanor soon thereafter established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkill, and increasingly devoted herself to various social and political causes. For the rest of their lives, the Roosevelts' marriage was more of a political partnership than an intimate relationship.[17] The emotional break in their marriage was so severe, that when FDR asked Eleanor in 1942—in light of his failing health—to come back home and live with him again, she refused.[15]

Franklin's son Elliott claimed that Franklin had a 20-year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand.[18][19]

The five surviving Roosevelt children all led tumultuous lives overshadowed by their famous parents. They had, among them, nineteen marriages, fifteen divorces, and twenty-nine children. All four sons were officers in World War II and were decorated for bravery. Two of them were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—FDR, Jr. served three terms representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and James served six terms representing the 26th district in California—but none was elected to higher office despite several attempts.[20][21][22][23]

Roosevelt's dog, Fala, also became well-known as a companion of Roosevelt's during his time in the White House, and was called the "most photographed dog in the world."[24]

[edit] Early political career

[edit] State Senator

In the State election of 1910, Roosevelt ran for the New York State Senate from the district around Hyde Park in Dutchess County, which had not elected a Democrat since 1884. He entered the Roosevelt name, with its associated wealth, prestige, and influence in the Hudson Valley, and the Democratic landslide that year carried him to the state capital Albany. Roosevelt took his seat on January 1, 1911. He became the leader of a group of "Insurgents" who opposed the Tammany machine which dominated the state Democratic Party. The U.S. Senate election which began with the Democratic caucus on January 16, 1911, was deadlocked by the struggle of the two factions for 74 days. On March 31, James A. O'Gorman was elected, and Roosevelt had achieved his goal: to upset the Tammany machine by blocking their choice William F. Sheehan. Roosevelt soon became a popular figure among New York Democrats. He was re-elected for a second term in the State election of 1912, but resigned from the New York State Senate on March 17, 1913, to accept his appointment as Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Navy.[25][26]

[edit] Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Franklin D. Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. He served under Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. In 1914, he was defeated in the Democratic primary election for the United States Senate by Tammany Hall-backed James W. Gerard. As assistant secretary, Roosevelt worked to expand the Navy and founded the United States Navy Reserve. Wilson sent the Navy and Marines to intervene in Central American and Caribbean countries. In a series of speeches in his 1920 campaign for Vice President, Roosevelt claimed that he, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, wrote the constitution which the U.S. imposed on Haiti in 1915.[27]

Roosevelt developed a life-long affection for the Navy. Roosevelt negotiated with Congressional leaders and other government departments to get budgets approved. He became an enthusiastic advocate of the submarine and of means to combat the German submarine menace to Allied shipping: he proposed building a mine barrier across the North Sea from Norway to Scotland. In 1918, he visited Britain and France to inspect American naval facilities; during this visit he met Winston Churchill for the first time. With the end of World War I in November 1918, he was in charge of demobilization, although he opposed plans to completely dismantle the Navy. In July 1920, overshadowed by the Newport Sex Scandal and its coverage in the Providence Journal and New York Times, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to run for Vice President.

[edit] Campaign for Vice-President

The 1920 Democratic National Convention chose Roosevelt as the candidate for Vice President of the United States on the ticket headed by Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, helping build a national base, but the Cox-Roosevelt ticket was heavily defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding in the presidential election. Roosevelt then retired to a New York legal practice and joined the newly organized New York Civitan Club,[28] but few doubted that he would soon run for public office again.

[edit] Paralytic illness

Main article: Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralytic illness

In August 1921, while the Roosevelts were vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Roosevelt contracted an illness believed by his physicians to be polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, and, in 1926, he purchased a resort at Warm Springs, Georgia, where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients which still operates as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes). His leadership in this organization is one reason he is commemorated on the dime.[29][30]

At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was getting better, which he believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. FDR used a car with specially designed hand controls, which further gave him the illusion of mobility.[31]

In 2003, a retrospective study proposed that it was more likely that Roosevelt's paralytic illness was Guillain-Barré syndrome, not poliomyelitis.[32] However, since Roosevelt's cerebrospinal fluid was not examined, the cause may never be known for certain.

[edit] Governor of New York, 1929–1932

Main article: Franklin D. Roosevelt's terms as Governor of New York

Roosevelt maintained contacts and mended fences with the Democratic Party during the 1920s, especially in New York. Although he made his name as an opponent of New York City's Tammany Hall machine, Roosevelt moderated his stance. He helped Alfred E. Smith win the election for governor of New York in 1922, and was even a strong supporter of Smith against his cousin, Republican Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1924.[33] Roosevelt gave nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions.[34] As the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1928 election, Smith in turn asked Roosevelt to run for governor in the state election. While Smith lost the Presidency in a landslide, and was even defeated in his home state, Roosevelt was narrowly elected governor.

As a reform governor, he established a number of new social programs, and he was advised by Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins.

In his 1930 campaign for re-election, Roosevelt needed the good will of the Tammany Hall machine in New York City; however, his Republican opponent, Charles H. Tuttle, was using Tammany Hall's corruption as an election issue. As the election approached, Roosevelt initiated investigations of the sale of judicial offices. He was elected to a second term by a margin of more than 700,000 votes.[35]

[edit] 1932 presidential election

Main article: United States presidential election, 1932

Roosevelt's strong base in the most populous state made him an obvious candidate for the Democratic nomination, which was hotly contested since it seemed that incumbent Herbert Hoover would be vulnerable in the 1932 election. Al Smith was supported by some city bosses, but had lost control of the New York Democratic party to Roosevelt. Roosevelt built his own national coalition with personal allies such as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Irish leader Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and California leader William Gibbs McAdoo. When Texas leader John Nance Garner switched to FDR, he was given the presidential nomination.

In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt declared:

“ Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth... I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms.[36] ”

The election campaign was conducted under the shadow of the Great Depression in the United States, and the new alliances which it created. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party mobilized the expanded ranks of the poor as well as organized labor, ethnic minorities, urbanites, and Southern whites, crafting the New Deal coalition. During the campaign, Roosevelt said: "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people", coining a slogan that was later adopted for his legislative program as well as his new coalition.[37]

Economist Marriner Eccles observed that "given later developments, the campaign speeches often read like a giant misprint, in which Roosevelt and Hoover speak each other's lines."[38] Roosevelt denounced Hoover's failures to restore prosperity or even halt the downward slide, and he ridiculed Hoover's huge deficits. Roosevelt campaigned on the Democratic platform advocating "immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures," "abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating bureaus and eliminating extravagances reductions in bureaucracy," and for a "sound currency to be maintained at all hazards." On September 23, Roosevelt made the gloomy evaluation that, "Our industrial plant is built; the problem just now is whether under existing conditions it is not overbuilt. Our last frontier has long since been reached."[39] Hoover damned that pessimism as a denial of "the promise of American life ... the counsel of despair."[40] The prohibition issue solidified the wet vote for Roosevelt, who noted that repeal would bring in new tax revenues.

Roosevelt won 57% of the vote and carried all but six states. Historians and political scientists consider the 1932-36 elections a realigning election that created a new majority coalition for the Democrats, thus transforming American politics and starting what is called the "New Deal Party System" or (by political scientists) the Fifth Party System.[41]

After the election, Roosevelt refused Hoover's requests for a meeting to come up with a joint program to stop the downward spiral and calm investors, claiming it would tie his hands. The economy spiraled downward until the banking system began a complete nationwide shutdown as Hoover's term ended.[42] In February 1933, Roosevelt escaped a possible assassination attempt by Giuseppe Zangara (which killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak sitting next to him).[43] Roosevelt leaned heavily on his "Brain Trust" of academic advisors, especially Raymond Moley when designing his policies; he offered cabinet positions to numerous candidates (sometimes two at a time), but most declined. The cabinet member with the strongest independent base was Cordell Hull at State. William Hartman Woodin at Treasury, was soon replaced by the much more powerful Henry Morgenthau, Jr.[44]

[edit] First term, 1933–1937

When Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933 (32 days after Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany), the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million were homeless. Due to the lack of employment, organized crime and outlaws were on the rise, such as John Dillinger. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia had closed their banks.[45] The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days.[46] Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism:

“ Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence....The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.[47] ”

Historians categorized Roosevelt's program as "relief, recovery and reform." Relief was urgently needed by tens of millions of unemployed. Recovery meant boosting the economy back to normal. Reform meant long-term fixes of what was wrong, especially with the financial and banking systems. Roosevelt's series of radio talks, known as fireside chats, presented his proposals directly to the American public.[48]

[edit] First New Deal, 1933–1934

Roosevelt's "First 100 Days" concentrated on the first part of his strategy: immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. To propose programs, Roosevelt relied on leading Senators such as George Norris, Robert F. Wagner and Hugo Black, as well as his Brain Trust of academic advisers. Like Hoover, he saw the Depression caused in part by people no longer spending or investing because they were afraid.

His inauguration on March 4, 1933 occurred in the middle of a bank panic, hence the backdrop for his famous words: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."[49] The very next day Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act which declared a "bank holiday" and announced a plan to allow banks to reopen. However, the number of banks that opened their doors after the "holiday" was fewer than the number that had been open before.[50] This was his first proposed step to recovery. To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

   * Relief measures included the continuation of Hoover's major relief program for the unemployed under the new name, Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The most popular of all New Deal agencies, and Roosevelt's favorite, was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which hired 250,000 unemployed young men to work on rural local projects. Congress also gave the Federal Trade Commission broad new regulatory powers and provided mortgage relief to millions of farmers and homeowners. Roosevelt expanded a Hoover agency, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, making it a major source of financing to railroads and industry. Roosevelt made agriculture relief a high priority and set up the first Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). The AAA tried to force higher prices for commodities by paying farmers to take land out of crops and to cut herds.
   * Reform of the economy was the goal of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933. It tried to end cutthroat competition by forcing industries to come up with codes that established the rules of operation for all firms within specific industries, such as minimum prices, agreements not to compete, and production restrictions. Industry leaders negotiated the codes which were then approved by NIRA officials. Industry needed to raise wages as a condition for approval. Provisions encouraged unions and suspended anti-trust laws. The NIRA was found to be unconstitutional by unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 27, 1935. Roosevelt opposed the decision, saying "The fundamental purposes and principles of the NIRA are sound. To abandon them is unthinkable. It would spell the return to industrial and labor chaos."[51] In 1933, major new banking regulations were passed. In 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission was created to regulate Wall Street, with 1932 campaign fundraiser Joseph P. Kennedy in charge.
   * Recovery was pursued through "pump-priming" (that is, federal spending). The NIRA included $3.3 billion of spending through the Public Works Administration to stimulate the economy, which was to be handled by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes. Roosevelt worked with Republican Senator George Norris to create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. The repeal of prohibition also brought in new tax revenues and helped him keep a major campaign promise.
   * Executive Order 6102 made all privately held gold of American citizens property of the US Treasury. The goal was to counter the deflation which was paralyzing the economy.[52]

Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the regular federal budget, including 40% cuts to veterans' benefits and cuts in overall military spending. He removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and slashed benefits for the remainder. Protests erupted, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Roosevelt held his ground, but by 1936 angry veterans passed a huge bonus bill over his veto. He succeeded in cutting federal salaries and the military and naval budgets. He reduced spending on research and education.[53][54]

Roosevelt also kept his promise to push for repeal of Prohibition. In April 1933, he issued an Executive Order redefining 3.2% alcohol as the maximum allowed. That order was preceded by Congressional action in the drafting and passage of the 21st Amendment, which was ratified later that year.

[edit] Second New Deal, 1935–1936

After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million family heads. However, even at the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was still 12.5% according to figures from Michael Darby.[55] The Social Security Act, established Social Security and promised economic security for the elderly, the poor and the sick. Senator Robert Wagner wrote the Wagner Act, which officially became the National Labor Relations Act. The act established the federal rights of workers to organize unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes.

While the First New Deal of 1933 had broad support from most sectors, the Second New Deal challenged the business community. Conservative Democrats, led by Al Smith, fought back with the American Liberty League, savagely attacking Roosevelt and equating him with Marx and Lenin.[56] But Smith overplayed his hand, and his boisterous rhetoric let Roosevelt isolate his opponents and identify them with the wealthy vested interests that opposed the New Deal, setting Roosevelt up for the 1936 landslide.[57] By contrast, the labor unions, energized by the Wagner Act, signed up millions of new members and became a major backer of Roosevelt's reelections in 1936, 1940 and 1944.[58]

[edit] Economic environment

See also: Great Depression in the United States#Effects

Government spending increased from 8.0% of gross national product (GNP) under Hoover in 1932 to 10.2% of the GNP in 1936. Because of the depression, the national debt as a percentage of the GNP had doubled under Hoover from 16% to 33.6% of the GNP in 1932. While Roosevelt balanced the "regular" budget, the emergency budget was funded by debt, which increased to 40.9% in 1936, and then remained level until World War II, at which time it escalated rapidly. The national debt rose under Hoover, and held steady under FDR until the war began, as shown on chart 1.[59]

Deficit spending had been recommended by some economists, most notably by John Maynard Keynes of Britain. Some economists in retrospect have argued that the National Labor Relations Act and Agricultural Adjustment Administration were ineffective policies because they relied on price fixing.[60] The GNP was 34% higher in 1936 than in 1932 and 58% higher in 1940 on the eve of war. That is, the economy grew 58% from 1932 to 1940 in 8 years of peacetime, and then grew 56% from 1940 to 1945 in 5 years of wartime. However, the economic recovery did not absorb all the unemployment Roosevelt inherited. Unemployment fell dramatically in Roosevelt's first term, from 25% when he took office to 14.3% in 1937. Afterward, however, it increased to 19.0% in 1938 ('a depression within a depression'), 17.2% in 1939 because of various added taxation[citation needed] (Undistributed profits tax in Mar. 1936, and the Social Security Payroll Tax 1937, plus the effects of the Wagner Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act and a blizzard of other federal regulations), and stayed high until it almost vanished during World War II when the previously unemployed were conscripted, taking them out of the potential labor supply number.[61]

During the war, the economy operated under such different conditions that comparison with peacetime is impossible. However, Roosevelt saw the New Deal policies as central to his legacy, and in his 1944 State of the Union Address, he advocated that Americans should think of basic economic rights as a Second Bill of Rights.

The U.S. economy grew rapidly during Roosevelt's term.[62] However, coming out of the depression, this growth was accompanied by continuing high levels of unemployment; as the median joblessness rate during the New Deal was 17.2%. Throughout his entire term, including the war years, average unemployment was 13%.[63][64] Total employment during Roosevelt's term expanded by 18.31 million jobs, with an average annual increase in jobs during his administration of 5.3%.[65]

Roosevelt did not raise income taxes before World War II began; however payroll taxes were also introduced to fund the new Social Security program in 1937. He also got Congress to spend more on many various programs and projects never before seen in American history. However, under the revenue pressures brought on by the depression, most states added or increased taxes, including sales as well as income taxes. Roosevelt's proposal for new taxes on corporate savings were highly controversial in 1936–37, and were rejected by Congress. During the war he pushed for even higher income tax rates for individuals (reaching a marginal tax rate of 91%) and corporations and a cap on high salaries for executives. He also issued Executive Order 9250 in October 1942, later to be rescinded by Congress, which raised the marginal tax rate for salaries exceeding $25,000 (after tax) to 100%, thereby limiting salaries to $25,000 (about $334,000 today).[66][67][68] To fund the war, Congress broadened the base so that almost every employee paid federal income taxes, and introduced withholding taxes in 1943.

Foreign policy, 1933–37

The rejection of the League of Nations treaty in 1919 marked the dominance of isolationism from world organizations in American foreign policy. Despite Roosevelt's Wilsonian background, he and Secretary of State Cordell Hull acted with great care not to provoke isolationist sentiment. Roosevelt's "bombshell" message to the world monetary conference in 1933 effectively ended any major efforts by the world powers to collaborate on ending the worldwide depression, and allowed Roosevelt a free hand in economic policy.[70]

The main foreign policy initiative of Roosevelt's first term was the Good Neighbor Policy, which was a re-evaluation of U.S. policy towards Latin America. Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, this area had been seen as an American sphere of influence. American forces were withdrawn from Haiti, and new treaties with Cuba and Panama ended their status as United States protectorates. In December 1933, Roosevelt signed the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, renouncing the right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of Latin American countries.[71]

[edit] Landslide re-election, 1936

Main article: United States presidential election, 1936

In the 1936 presidential election, Roosevelt campaigned on his New Deal programs against Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who accepted much of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste. Roosevelt and Garner won 60.8% of the vote and carried every state except Maine and Vermont. The New Deal Democrats won even larger majorities in Congress. Roosevelt was backed by a coalition of voters which included traditional Democrats across the country, small farmers, the "Solid South," Catholics, big city machines, labor unions, northern African Americans, Jews, intellectuals and political liberals. This coalition, frequently referred to as the New Deal coalition, remained largely intact for the Democratic Party until the 1960s.[72]

[edit] Second term, 1937–1941

In dramatic contrast to the first term, very little major legislation was passed in the second term. There was a United States Housing Authority (1937), a second Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which created the minimum wage. When the economy began to deteriorate again in late 1937, Roosevelt responded with an aggressive program of stimulation, asking Congress for $5 billion for WPA relief and public works. This managed to eventually create a peak of 3.3 million WPA jobs by 1938.

The Supreme Court was the main obstacle to Roosevelt's programs during his second term, overturning many of his programs. In particular in 1935 the Court unanimously ruled that the National Recovery Act (NRA) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the president. Roosevelt stunned Congress in early 1937 by proposing a law allowing him to appoint five new justices, a "persistent infusion of new blood."[73] This "court packing" plan ran into intense political opposition from his own party, led by Vice President Garner, since it seemed to upset the separation of powers and give the President control over the Court. Roosevelt's proposals were defeated. The Court also drew back from confrontation with the administration by finding the Labor Relations and Social Security Acts to be constitutional. Deaths and retirements on the Supreme Court soon allowed Roosevelt to make his own appointments to the bench with little controversy. Between 1937 and 1941, he appointed eight justices to the court.[74]

Roosevelt had massive support from the rapidly growing labor unions, but now they split into bitterly feuding AFL and CIO factions, the latter led by John L. Lewis. Roosevelt pronounced a "plague on both your houses," but the disunity weakened the party in the elections from 1938 through 1946.[75]

Determined to overcome the opposition of conservative Democrats in Congress (mostly from the South), Roosevelt involved himself in the 1938 Democratic primaries, actively campaigning for challengers who were more supportive of New Deal reform. His targets denounced Roosevelt for trying to take over the Democratic party and used the argument that they were independent to win reelection. Roosevelt failed badly, managing to defeat only one target, a conservative Democrat from New York City.[76]

In the November 1938 election, Democrats lost six Senate seats and 71 House seats. Losses were concentrated among pro-New Deal Democrats. When Congress reconvened in 1939, Republicans under Senator Robert Taft formed a Conservative coalition with Southern Democrats, virtually ending Roosevelt's ability to get his domestic proposals enacted into law. The minimum wage law of 1938 was the last substantial New Deal reform act passed by Congress.[77]

[edit] Foreign policy, 1937–1941

The rise to power of dictator Adolf Hitler in Germany aroused fears of a new world war. In 1935, at the time of Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, Congress passed the Neutrality Act, applying a mandatory ban on the shipment of arms from the U.S. to any combatant nation. Roosevelt opposed the act because it penalized the victims of aggression such as Ethiopia, and that it restricted his right as President to assist friendly countries, but public support was overwhelming so he signed it. In 1937, Congress passed an even more stringent act, but when the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, public opinion favored China, and Roosevelt found various ways to assist that nation.[78]

In October 1937, he gave the Quarantine Speech aiming to contain aggressor nations. He proposed that warmongering states be treated as a public health menace and be "quarantined."[79] Meanwhile he secretly stepped up a program to build long range submarines that could blockade Japan.

In May 1938, there occurred a failed coup by the fascist Integralista movement in Brazil. After the failed coup, the Brazilian government claimed that the German Ambassador, Dr. Karl Ritter had been involved in the coup attempt and declared him persona non grata. The Brazilian allegation of German support for the Integralista coup had a galvanizing effect on the Roosevelt administration as it led to fears that German ambitions were not confined to Europe, but rather to the whole world. This in turn led the Roosevelt administration to change its previous view of the Nazi regime as an unpleasant regime that was however basically not an American problem.

On September 4, 1938 in the midst of the great crisis in Europe that was to culminate in the Munich Agreement, during the unveiling of a plaque in France honoring Franco-American friendship, the American Ambassador, and close friend of Roosevelt’s William C. Bullitt stated that "France and the United States were united in war and peace," leading to much speculation in the press that if war did break over Czechoslovakia, then the United States would join the war on the Allied side.[80] Roosevelt disavowed this interpretation of Bullitt’s remarks in a press conference on September 9, stating it was “100% wrong”, and that the U.S. would not join a “stop-Hitler bloc” under any circumstances, and he made it quite clear in the event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, the U.S. would remain neutral.[80] Upon Neville Chamberlain’s return to London from the Munich Conference, Roosevelt sent him a two word telegram reading “Good Man”, which has been the subject of much debate, with the majority opinion arguing that the telegram was meant to be congratulatory with the minority opinion opposing that interpretation.[81]

In October 1938, Roosevelt opened secret talks with the French on how to bypass American neutrality laws and allowed the French to buy American aircraft to make up for productivity deficiencies in the French aircraft industry. To pay for the planes the French offered to cede their possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific together with a lump sum payment of ten billion francs, in exchange for the unlimited right to buy on credit American aircraft. By spring 1939 French were placing large orders with the American aircraft industry. Most of the aircraft ordered had not arrived in France by spring 1940 when it was conquered by Germany, so Roosevelt diverted the planes to the British.[82]

When World War II broke out in 1939, Roosevelt rejected the Wilsonian neutrality stance and sought ways to assist Britain and France militarily. He began a regular secret correspondence with the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill in September 1939 discussing ways of supporting Britain. Roosevelt forged a close personal relationship with Churchill, who became Prime Minister of Britain in May 1940.

In April 1940 Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, followed by invasions of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France in May. The German victories in Western Europe left Britain vulnerable to invasion. Roosevelt, who was determined that Britain not be defeated, took advantage of the rapid shifts of public opinion. The fall of Paris shocked American opinion, and isolationist sentiment declined. A consensus was clear that military spending had to be dramatically expanded. There was no consensus on how much the U.S. should risk war in helping Britain. In July 1940, FDR appointed two interventionist Republican leaders, Henry L. Stimson and Frank Knox, as Secretaries of War and the Navy respectively. Both parties gave support to his plans to rapidly build up the American military, but the isolationists warned that Roosevelt would get the nation into an unnecessary war with Germany. He successfully urged Congress to enact the first peacetime draft in United States history in 1940 (it was renewed in 1941 by one vote in Congress). Roosevelt was supported by the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and opposed by the America First Committee.[83]

Roosevelt used his personal charisma to build support for intervention. America should be the "Arsenal of Democracy," he told his fireside audience.[84] On September 2, 1940, Roosevelt openly defied the Neutrality Acts by passing the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, which gave 50 American destroyers to Britain in exchange for military base rights in the British Caribbean Islands and Newfoundland. This was a precursor of the March 1941 Lend-Lease agreement which began to direct massive military and economic aid to Britain, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union. For foreign policy advice, Roosevelt turned to Harry Hopkins, who became his chief wartime advisor. They sought innovative ways to help Britain, whose financial resources were exhausted by the end of 1940. Congress, where isolationist sentiment was in retreat, passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, allowing the U.S. to give Britain, China and later the Soviet Union military supplies. Congress voted to commit to spend $50 billion on military supplies from 1941–45. In sharp contrast to the loans of World War I, there would be no repayment after the war. Roosevelt was a lifelong free trader and anti-imperialist, and ending European colonialism was one of his objectives.

[edit] Election of 1940

Main article: United States presidential election, 1940

The two-term tradition had been an unwritten rule (until the 22nd Amendment after his presidency) since George Washington declined to run for a third term in 1796, and both Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt were attacked for trying to obtain a third non-consecutive term. FDR systematically undercut prominent Democrats who were angling for the nomination, including two cabinet members, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and James Farley, Roosevelt's campaign manager in 1932 and 1936, Postmaster General and Democratic Party chairman. Roosevelt moved the convention to Chicago where he had strong support from the city machine (which controlled the auditorium sound system). At the convention the opposition was poorly organized but Farley had packed the galleries. Roosevelt sent a message saying that he would not run, unless he was drafted, and that the delegates were free to vote for anyone. The delegates were stunned; then the loudspeaker screamed "We want Roosevelt... The world wants Roosevelt!" The delegates went wild and he was nominated by 946 to 147. The new vice presidential nominee was Henry A. Wallace, the liberal intellectual who was Secretary of Agriculture.[85]

In his campaign against Republican Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt stressed both his proven leadership experience and his intention to do everything possible to keep the United States out of war. He won the 1940 election with 55% of the popular vote and 38 of the 48 states. A shift to the left within the Administration was shown by the naming of Henry A. Wallace as Vice President in place of the conservative Texan John Nance Garner, who had become a bitter enemy of Roosevelt after 1937.

[edit] Third term, 1941–1945

[edit] Policies

Roosevelt's third term was dominated by World War II, in Europe and in the Pacific. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938 since he was facing strong isolationist sentiment from leaders like Senators William Borah and Robert Taft who supported re-armament. By 1940, it was in high gear, with bipartisan support, partly to expand and re-equip the United States Army and Navy and partly to become the "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting Britain, France, China and (after June 1941), the Soviet Union. As Roosevelt took a firmer stance against the Axis Powers, American isolationists—including Charles Lindbergh and America First—vehemently attacked the President as an irresponsible warmonger. Unfazed by these criticisms[86] and confident in the wisdom of his foreign policy initiatives, FDR continued his twin policies of preparedness and aid to the Allied coalition. On December 29, 1940, he delivered his Arsenal of Democracy fireside chat, in which he made the case for involvement directly to the American people, and a week later he delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech in January 1941, further laying out the case for an American defense of basic rights throughout the world.

The military buildup spurred economic growth. By 1941, unemployment had fallen to under 1 million. There was a growing labor shortage in all the nation's major manufacturing centers, accelerating the Great Migration of African Americans from farms in the South, and of underemployed farmers and workers from all rural areas and small towns. The homefront was subject to dynamic social changes throughout the war, though domestic issues were no longer Roosevelt's most urgent policy concerns.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Roosevelt extended Lend-Lease to the Soviets. During 1941, Roosevelt also agreed that the U.S. Navy would escort Allied convoys as far east as Great Britain and would fire upon German ships or submarines (U-boats) of the Kriegsmarine if they attacked Allied shipping within the U.S. Navy zone.

Thus, by mid-1941, Roosevelt had committed the U.S. to the Allied side with a policy of "all aid short of war."[87] Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on August 14, 1941, to develop the Atlantic Charter in what was to be the first of several wartime conferences. In July 1941, Roosevelt ordered Henry Stimson, Secretary of War to begin planning for total American military involvement. The resulting "Victory Program," under the direction of Albert Wedemeyer, provided the President with the estimates necessary for the total mobilization of manpower, industry, and logistics to defeat the "potential enemies" of the United States.[88] The program also planned to dramatically increase aid to the Allied nations and to have ten million men in arms, half of whom would be ready for deployment abroad in 1943. Roosevelt was firmly committed to the Allied cause and these plans had been formulated before the Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan.[89]

[edit] Pearl Harbor

After Japan occupied northern French Indochina in late 1940, he authorized increased aid to the Republic of China. In July 1941, after Japan occupied the remainder of Indo-China, he cut off the sales of oil. Japan thus lost more than 95 percent of its oil supply. Roosevelt continued negotiations with the Japanese government. Meanwhile he started shifting the long-range B-17 bomber force to the Philippines.[90]

On December 4, 1941, The Chicago Tribune revealed "Rainbow Five," a top-secret war plan drawn up at President Franklin Roosevelt's order. "Rainbow Five" called for a 10-million man army invading Europe in 1943 on the side of Britain and Russia.[91]

On November 25 Henry L. Stimson, United States Secretary of War noted in his diary that he had discussed with Roosevelt the severe likelihood of imminent war with Japan and that the question had been "how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.'"[92][93]

Jonathan Daniels, Roosevelt's administrative assistant at the time, noted Roosevelt's subsequent reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor - "The blow was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be. ... But the risks paid off; even the loss was worth the price. ..."[94]

On December 6, 1941, President Roosevelt read an intercepted Japanese message and told his assistant Harry Hopkins, "This means war."[95]

Warning was sent to US Army and Naval Commanders in Hawaii, but it was not received in time due to a bureaucratic error. The message was sent via Western Union Telegram to the West Coast and RCA Radio to Honolulu, its contents in a cipher. This was the standard method of communicating with the Hawaiian Islands at the time when atmospheric conditions prevented direct communications, as was happening on that day. But the message was not marked with any urgent notations, so it was placed in the outgoing queue and sent in order received. This was intentional on the part of the Generals in Washington, it was felt that any "urgent" message sent to the commanders in Hawaii might tip off Japanese spies on the West Coast. The plan was to alert the Army and Navy in Hawaii so they could lay a trap for the attacking Japanese. As it was, the message was received at Navy Headquarters hours after the attack had concluded.

From the record of the Congressional Hearing on Pearl Harbor [1]

After receiving the message Colonel French personally took charge of its dispatch. Learning that the War Department radio had been out of contact with Honolulu since approximately 10:20 a. m. he hereupon immediately decided that the most expeditious manner of getting the message to Hawaii was by commercial facilities; that is, Western Union to San Francisco, thence by commercial radio to Honolulu. The message was filed at the Army signal center at 12:01 a. m. (6:31 a. m., Hawaii); teletype transmission to Western Union completed at 12:17 p. m. (6:47 a. m., Hawaii); received by RCA Honolulu 1:03 p. m. (7:33 a. m., Hawaii); received by signal office, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, at approximately 5:15 p. m. (11:45 a. m., Hawaii) after the attack. It appears that the teletype arrangement between RCA in Honolulu and Fort Shafter was not operating at the particular hour the message was received with the result that it was dispatched by a messenger on a bicycle who was diverted from completing delivery by the first bombing.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying or damaging 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleships, and killing almost 3000 American military personnel and civilians. In the weeks after the attack the Japanese conquered the Philippines and the British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia, taking Singapore in February 1942 and advancing through Burma to the borders of British India by May, cutting off the overland supply route to the Republic of China. Antiwar sentiment in the United States evaporated overnight and the country united behind Roosevelt. It is at this time Roosevelt gave the famous "Infamy Speech" in which he said this:"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Despite the wave of anger that swept across the U.S. in the wake of Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt decided from the start that the defeat of Nazi Germany had to take priority. On December 11, 1941, this strategic Europe First decision was made easier to implement when Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.[96] Roosevelt met with Churchill in late December and planned a broad informal alliance between the U.S., the UK, China and the Soviet Union, with the objectives of halting the German advances in the Soviet Union and in North Africa; launching an invasion of western Europe with the aim of crushing Nazi Germany between two fronts; and saving China and defeating Japan.

[edit] Internment of Germans, Japanese and Italians

Main articles: German American internment, Japanese American internment, and Italian American internment

When the war began the danger of a Japanese attack on the coast led to growing pressure to remove people of Japanese descent away from the coastal region. This pressure grew due to fears of terrorism, espionage, and/or sabotage. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which relocated the "Issei" (first generation of Japanese immigrants who did not have U.S. citizenship) and their children, "Nisei" (who had dual citizenship).

After both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States in December 1941, German and Italian citizens who had not taken out American citizenship and who spoke out for Hitler and Mussolini were often arrested or interned.

[edit] War strategy

The "Big Three" (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin), together with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek cooperated informally in which American and British troops concentrated in the West, Russian troops fought on the Eastern front, and Chinese, British and American troops fought in the Pacific. The Allies formulated strategy in a series of high profile conferences as well as contact through diplomatic and military channels. Roosevelt guaranteed that the U.S. would be the "Arsenal of Democracy" by shipping $50 billion of Lend Lease supplies, primarily to Britain and to the USSR, China and other Allies.

Roosevelt acknowledged that the U.S. had a traditional antipathy towards the British Empire. In One Christmas in Washington,[97] a dinner meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill is described, in which Roosevelt is quoted as saying:

   "It's in the American tradition, this distrust, this dislike and even hatred of Britain– the Revolution, you know, and 1812; and India and the Boer War, and all that. There are many kinds of Americans of course, but as a people, as a country, we're opposed to Imperialism—we can't stomach it."

Officials in the U.S. War Department believed that the quickest way to defeat Germany was to invade France across the English Channel. Churchill, wary of the casualties he feared this would entail, favored a more indirect approach, advancing northwards from the Mediterranean Sea. Roosevelt rejected this plan. Stalin advocated opening a Western front at the earliest possible time, as the bulk of the land fighting in 1942–44 was on Soviet soil.

The Allies undertook the invasions of French Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch) in November 1942, of Sicily (Operation Husky) in July 1943, and of Italy (Operation Avalanche) in September 1943. The strategic bombing campaign was escalated in 1944, pulverizing all major German cities and cutting off oil supplies. It was a 50-50 British-American operation. Roosevelt picked Dwight D. Eisenhower, and not George Marshall, to head the Allied cross-channel invasion, Operation Overlord that began on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Some of the most costly battles of the war ensued after the invasion, and the Allies were blocked on the German border in the "Battle of the Bulge" in December 1944. When Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Berlin.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, the Japanese advance reached its maximum extent by June 1942, when the U.S. Navy scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Midway. American and Australian forces then began a slow and costly progress called island hopping or leapfrogging through the Pacific Islands, with the objective of gaining bases from which strategic airpower could be brought to bear on Japan and from which Japan could ultimately be invaded. Roosevelt gave way in part to insistent demands from the public and Congress that more effort be devoted against Japan; he always insisted on Germany first.

[edit] Post-war planning

By late 1943, it was apparent that the Allies would ultimately defeat Nazi Germany, and it became increasingly important to make high-level political decisions about the course of the war and the postwar future of Europe. Roosevelt met with Churchill and the Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek at the Cairo Conference in November 1943, and then went to Tehran to confer with Churchill and Stalin. While Churchill viewed Stalin as a tyrant, when warned of potential domination by a Stalin dictatorship over part of Europe, Roosevelt responded with a statement summarizing his rationale for relations with Stalin: "I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. . . . I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace."[98] At the Tehran Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill told Stalin about the plan to invade France in 1944, and Roosevelt also discussed his plans for a postwar international organization. For his part, Stalin insisted on the redrawing the frontiers of Poland. Stalin supported Roosevelt's plan for the United Nations and promised to enter the war against Japan 90 days after Germany was defeated.

By the beginning of 1945, however, with the Allied armies advancing into Germany and the Soviets in control of Poland, the issues had to come out into the open. In February, Roosevelt, despite his steadily deteriorating health, traveled to Yalta, in the Soviet Crimea, to meet again with Stalin and Churchill. While Roosevelt maintained his confidence that Stalin would keep his Yalta promises regarding free elections in eastern Europe, one month after Yalta ended, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averill Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it."[99] Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right."[99] Americans of Eastern European descent criticized the Yalta Conference for failing to curtail the Soviets' formation of the Eastern Bloc.

[edit] Election of 1944

Main article: United States presidential election, 1944

Roosevelt, who turned 62 in 1944, had been in declining health since at least 1940. The strain of his paralysis and the physical exertion needed to compensate for it for over 20 years had taken their toll, as had many years of stress and a lifetime of chain-smoking. By this time, Roosevelt had numerous ailments including chronic high blood pressure, emphysema, systemic atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease with angina pectoris, and myopathic hypertensive heart disease with congestive heart failure.[100] Though not yet confirmed, it has been speculated that he also had a melanoma removed from above his left eye, although this was not known publicly.[101] Dr. Emanuel Libman, then an assistant pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, reacting to Roosevelt's appearance in newsreels, remarked in 1944 that "It doesn't matter whether Roosevelt is re-elected or not, he'll die of a cerebral hemorrhage within 6 months" (which he did, five months later).[102]

Aware of the risk that Roosevelt would die during his fourth term, the party regulars insisted that Henry A. Wallace, who was seen as too pro-Soviet, be dropped as Vice President. After considering James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, and being turned down by Indiana Governor Henry F. Schricker, Roosevelt replaced Wallace with the little-known Senator Harry S. Truman. In the 1944 election, Roosevelt and Truman won 53% of the vote and carried 36 states, against New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.

[edit] Fourth term and death, 1945

[edit] Last days, death and memorial

The President left the Yalta Conference on February 12, 1945, and flew to Egypt and boarded the USS Quincy operating on the Great Bitter Lake near the Suez Canal. Aboard Quincy, the next day he met with Farouk I, king of Egypt, and Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia. On February 14, he held a historic meeting with King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, a meeting which holds profound significance in U.S.-Saudi relations even today.[103] After a final meeting between Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Quincy steamed for Algiers, arriving February 18, at which time Roosevelt conferred with American ambassadors to Britain, France and Italy.[104] At Yalta, Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's physician, commented on Roosevelt's ill health: "He is a very sick man. He has all the symptoms of hardening of the arteries of the brain in an advanced stage, so that I give him only a few months to live".[105]

When he returned to the United States, he addressed Congress on March 1 about the Yalta Conference,[106] and many were shocked to see how old, thin and frail he looked. He spoke while seated in the well of the House, an unprecedented concession to his physical incapacity. (He opened his speech by saying, "I hope that you will pardon me for this unusual posture of sitting down during the presentation of what I want to say, but...it makes it a lot easier for me not to have to carry about ten pounds of steel around on the bottom of my legs." This was his only public mention of his disability.) But mentally he was still in full command. "The Crimean Conference," he said firmly, "ought to spell the end of a system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balances of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries– and have always failed. We propose to substitute for all these, a universal organization in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a chance to join."[107]

During March 1945, he sent strongly worded messages to Stalin accusing him of breaking his Yalta commitments over Poland, Germany, prisoners of war and other issues. When Stalin accused the western Allies of plotting a separate peace with Hitler behind his back, Roosevelt replied: "I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment towards your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates."[108]

On March 29, 1945, Roosevelt went to Warm Springs to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations. On the afternoon of April 12, Roosevelt said, "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head." He then slumped forward in his chair, unconscious, and was carried into his bedroom. The president's attending cardiologist, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed a massive cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). At 3:35 p.m. that day, Roosevelt died. As Allen Drury later said, “so ended an era, and so began another.” After Roosevelt's death an editorial by The New York Times declared, "Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House".[109] News of Roosevelt's final words were intentionally misinterpreted in Japan for propaganda purposes as "Oh, what a terrible thing I have done!"[citation needed]

At the time he collapsed, Roosevelt had been sitting for a portrait painting by the artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, known as the famous Unfinished Portrait of FDR.

In his later years at the White House, Roosevelt was increasingly overworked and his daughter Anna Roosevelt Boettiger had moved in to provide her father companionship and support. Anna had also arranged for her father to meet with his former mistress, the now widowed Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Shoumatoff, who maintained close friendships with both Roosevelt and Mercer, rushed Mercer away to avoid negative publicity and implications of infidelity. When Eleanor heard about her husband's death, she was also faced with the news that Anna had been arranging these meetings with Mercer and that Mercer had been with Franklin when he died.

On the morning of April 13, Roosevelt's body was placed in a flag-draped coffin and loaded onto the presidential train. After a White House funeral on April 14, Roosevelt was transported back to Hyde Park by train, guarded by four servicemen from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. As was his wish, Roosevelt was buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estate, the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park on April 15. After her death in November 1962, Eleanor was buried next to him.

Roosevelt's death was met with shock and grief across the U.S. and around the world. His declining health had not been known to the general public. Roosevelt had been president for more than 12 years, longer than any other person, and had led the country through some of its greatest crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and to within sight of the defeat of Japan as well.

Less than a month after his death, on May 8, came the moment Roosevelt fought for: V-E Day. President Harry Truman, who turned 61 that day, dedicated V-E Day and its celebrations to Roosevelt's memory, as well as keeping the flags across the U.S. at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period to pay tribute to Roosevelt's commitment to ending the war in Europe.

Roosevelt's death spared him the monumental decision on whether to use the atom bomb, which now fell to President Truman. Many factors influenced Truman's decision, including the advice of political and military leaders, an American public that was eager for an end to the war, and the possibility of a quick victory over Japan.

[edit] Civil rights issues

See also: Franklin D. Roosevelt's record on civil rights

Roosevelt's record on civil rights has been the subject of much controversy. He was a hero to large minority groups, especially African-Americans, Catholics, and Jews, and was highly successful in attracting large majorities of these voters into his New Deal coalition.[110]

African-Americans and Native Americans[111] fared well in the New Deal relief programs. Sitkoff (1978) reports that the WPA "provided an economic floor for the whole black community in the 1930s, rivaling both agriculture and domestic service as the chief source" of income.[112][113]

Roosevelt needed the support of Southern Democrats for his New Deal programs, and he therefore decided not to push for anti-lynching legislation that might threaten his ability to pass his highest priority programs - though he did denounce lynchings as "a vile form of collective murder".[114]

Historian, Kevin J. McMahon, however, claims that strides were made for the civil rights of African Americans. In Roosevelt's Justice Department, the Civil Rights Section worked closely with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Roosevelt worked with other civil rights groups on cases dealing with police brutality, lynching, and voting rights abuses. It is argued that these actions sent a powerful message to white supremacists in the South and their political allies in Washington.[115]

Beginning in the 1960s FDR was charged[116] with not acting decisively enough to prevent or stop the Holocaust. Critics cite episodes such as when, in 1939, the 936 Jewish refugees on board the SS St. Louis were denied asylum and not allowed into the United States because of strict laws passed by Congress.

Roosevelt was unwilling to desegregate the armed forces. However, on June 25, 1941, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, forbidding discrimination on account of "race, creed, color, or national origin" in the hiring of workers in defense related industries.[117][118]

Enemy aliens and people of Japanese ancestry fared badly. On February 19, 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that applied to everyone, classified as an "enemy alien", including people who had dual citizenship living in designated high-risk areas that covered most of the cities on the West Coast. With the U.S at war with Italy, some 600,000 Italian aliens (citizens of Italy who did not have U.S. citizenship) were subjected to strict travel restrictions; the restrictions were lifted in October, 1942.[119]

Some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave the West Coast. From 1942 to 1945, they lived in internment camps inland. Those outside the West Coast, and in Hawaii, were not affected.

[edit] Administration, Cabinet, and Supreme Court appointments 1933–1945

President Roosevelt appointed eight Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States, more than any other President except George Washington, who appointed ten. By 1941, eight of the nine Justices were Roosevelt appointees. Harlan Fiske Stone was elevated to Chief Justice from the position of Associate Justice by Roosevelt.

   * Hugo Black– 1937
   * Stanley Forman Reed– 1938
   * Felix Frankfurter– 1939
   * William O. Douglas– 1939
   * Frank Murphy– 1940
   * Harlan Fiske Stone (Chief Justice)– 1941
   * James Francis Byrnes– 1941
   * Robert H. Jackson– 1941
   * Wiley Blount Rutledge– 1943

Roosevelt's appointees would not share ideologies, and some, like Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter, would become "lifelong adversaries."[120] Frankfurter even labeled his more liberal colleagues Rutledge, Murphy, Black, and Douglas as part of an "Axis" of opposition to his judicially conservative agenda.[121]

[edit] Legacy

A 1999 survey by C-SPAN found that by a wide margin academic historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Roosevelt the three greatest presidents, consistent with other surveys.[122] Roosevelt is the sixth most admired person from the 20th century by US citizens, according to Gallup.[123][124]

Both during and after his terms, critics of Roosevelt questioned not only his policies and positions, but also the consolidation of power that occurred because of his lengthy tenure as president, his service during two major crises, and his enormous popularity. The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Roosevelt's term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Roosevelt's advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations.[125]

Roosevelt firmly established the United States' leadership role on the world stage, with pronouncements such as his Four Freedoms speech, forming a basis for the active role of the United States in the war and beyond.

In 1945, Roosevelt was mentioned by Halvdan Koht among seven candidates that were qualified for the Nobel Prize in Peace. However, he did not explicitly nominate any of them. The person actually nominated was Cordell Hull.[126]

After Franklin's death, Eleanor Roosevelt continued to be a forceful presence in U.S. and world politics, serving as delegate to the conference which established the United Nations and championing civil rights. Many members of his administration played leading roles in the administrations of Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, each of whom embraced Roosevelt's political legacy.[127]

Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park is now a National historic site and home to his Presidential library. His retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia is a museum operated by the state of Georgia. His summer retreat on Campobello Island is maintained by the governments of both Canada and the United States as Roosevelt Campobello International Park; the island is accessible by way of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge.

The Roosevelt Memorial is located in Washington, D.C. next to the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin, and Roosevelt's image appears on the Roosevelt dime. Many parks and schools, as well as an aircraft carrier and a Paris subway station and hundreds of streets and squares both across the US and the rest of the world have been named in his honor.

Reflecting on Roosevelt's presidency, "which brought the United States through the Great Depression and World War II to a prosperous future", said FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith in 2007, "He lifted himself from a wheelchair to lift the nation from its knees."[128]

[edit] Boy Scout supporter

Roosevelt was a strong supporter of scouting, beginning in 1915. In 1924, he became president of the New York City Boy Scout Foundation and led the development of Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp between 1924–1928 to serve the Scouts of New York City.[129] As governor in 1930, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) honored him with their highest award for adults, the Silver Buffalo Award, which is conferred in recognition of distinguished support of youth on a national level.[130] Later, as U.S. president, Roosevelt was honorary president of the BSA and attended the first national jamboree in Washington, D.C. in 1937.[131]

[edit] Stamp collector

Roosevelt was a passionate stamp collector, and the media coverage of his collecting activities helped to popularize it as a hobby. During his tenure Roosevelt approved personally all the new US stamp designs, a total of 200 stamps, some of which were designed from his personal sketches. Some of the stamps commemorated public holidays and events. Roosevelt appointed James Farley as the US Postmaster general, and Farley increased the number of annual commemorative issues and created other series of stamps, which helped even more to popularize the avocation.[132]

Roosevelt himself was honored by the United States Postal Service with a Prominent Americans series (1965-1978) 6¢ postage stamp.

See also: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt

The thirty-second President of the United States. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems, through various agencies, such as the Works Project Administration (WPA), National Recovery Administration (NRA), and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).[1] Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until World War II, several programs he initiated, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce. Some of his other legacies include the Social Security system and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America's entry into World War II in December, 1941. On the home front he introduced price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. America had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition argued unemployment disappeared and closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, alongside the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy and Japan.

Roosevelt caused a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal Coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals;[2] the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief. Roosevelt has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

--------------------

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems, through various agencies, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), National Recovery Administration (NRA), and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).[1] Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until the outbreak of war, several programs he initiated, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce. Some of his other legacies include the Social Security system and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

As Britain warred with the Axis nations, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before the United States' entry into World War II in December 1941. On the home front, he introduced price controls and rationing. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by forces of the Japanese Empire and after the declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany and by Fascist Italy, Roosevelt introduced internment of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans.

Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. The United States had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition, arguing disappearing unemployment, closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, with the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Roosevelt's election to the presidency brought about a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals;[2] the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief. Roosevelt has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

--------------------

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems, through various agencies, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), National Recovery Administration (NRA), and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).[1] Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until the outbreak of war, several programs he initiated, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce. Some of his other legacies include the Social Security system and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

As Britain warred with the Axis nations, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before the United States' entry into World War II in December 1941. On the home front, he introduced price controls and rationing. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by forces of the Japanese Empire and after the declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany and by Fascist Italy, Roosevelt introduced internment of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans.

Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. The United States had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition, arguing disappearing unemployment, closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, with the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Roosevelt's election to the presidency brought about a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals;[2] the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief. Roosevelt has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

--------------------

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems.[1] Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, the programs he initiated such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.

As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America's entry into World War II in December, 1941. On the home front he introduced price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. America had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition argued unemployment disappeared and closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, alongside the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy and Japan.

Roosevelt caused a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal Coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals;[2] the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief.

Personal life

The family name

Roosevelt is an anglicized form of the Dutch surname 'van Rosevelt,' or 'van Rosenvelt', meaning 'field of roses.'[3] Although some use an Anglicized spelling pronunciation of IPA: /ˈruːzəvɛlt/, that is, with the vowels of rue and felt, Franklin used [ˈroʊzəvəlt], with the vowel of the English rose.[citation needed]

One of the wealthiest and oldest families in New York State, the Roosevelts distinguished themselves in areas other than politics. Franklin's first cousin, Ellen Roosevelt, was the 1890 U.S. Open Championships women's singles and doubles tennis champion and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

His mother named him after her favorite uncle Franklin Delano.[4] The progenitor of the Delano family in the Americas of 1621 was Philippe de la Noye, the first Huguenot to land in the New World, whose family name was anglicized to Delano.[5]

Early life

See also: Roosevelt family and Delano family

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park. His father, James Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara Ann Delano, were each from wealthy old New York families, of Dutch and French ancestry respectively. Franklin was their only child. His paternal grandmother, Mary Rebecca Aspinwall, was a first cousin of Elizabeth Kortright 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 returning to the United States, he lost it all in the Panic of 1857. In 1860, he returned to China and made a fortune in the notorious but highly profitable opium trade[6] supplying opium-based medication to the U. S. War Department during the American Civil War but not exclusively.[7]


Young Franklin Roosevelt, with his father and Helen R. Roosevelt, sailing in 1899.Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara was a possessive mother, while James was an elderly and remote father (he was 54 when Franklin was born). Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years.[8] Frequent trips to Europe made Roosevelt conversant in German and French. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis.

Roosevelt went to Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Roosevelt went to Harvard, where he lived in luxurious quarters and was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He was also president of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper. While at Harvard, his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became president, and Theodore's vigorous leadership style and reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero. In 1902, he met his future wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore's niece, at a White House reception. (They had previously met as children, but this was their first serious encounter.) Eleanor and Franklin were fifth cousins, once removed.[9] They were both descended from Claes Martensz van Rosenvelt (Roosevelt), who arrived in New Amsterdam (Manhattan) from the Netherlands in the 1640s. Roosevelt's two grandsons, Johannes and Jacobus, began the Long Island and Hudson River branches of the Roosevelt family, respectively. Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt were descended from the Johannes branch, while FDR came from the Jacobus branch.[9]

Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School in 1905, but dropped out (never to graduate) in 1907 because he had passed the New York State Bar exam. In 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law.

Marriage and family life

See also: Roosevelt family

On March 17, 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott. The young couple moved into Springwood, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. Franklin was a charismatic, handsome and socially active man. In contrast, Eleanor was shy and disliked social life, and at first stayed at home to raise their children. They had six children in rapid succession:

Anna Eleanor (1906–1975; age 69)

James (1907–1991; age 84)

Franklin Delano, Jr. (March 3, 1909–November 7, 1909; age 249 days)

Elliott (1910–1990; age 80)

a second Franklin Delano, Jr. (1914–1988; age 74)

John Aspinwall (1916–1981; age 65).


Franklin and Eleanor at Campobello Island, Canada, in 1905.Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer which began soon after she was hired in early 1914. In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I. According to the Roosevelt family, Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. Lucy's relatives, on the other hand, maintain that she wanted to marry Franklin but that "Eleanor was not willing to step aside." The two points of view are, according to FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith, not mutually exclusive and it is generally accepted that Eleanor indeed offered "to give Franklin his freedom."[10] However, they reconciled after a fashion with the informal mediation of Roosevelt's adviser Louis Howe, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again. Sara also intervened, and told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, he would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar."[10] Eleanor established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkill. Their marriage has been labeled a "marriage of convenience."[11]

Franklin and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, but they did not begin to see each another again until 1941. Lucy was then given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service.[12] Not until the 1960s was the affair publicly known.

The five surviving Roosevelt children all led tumultuous lives overshadowed by their famous parents. They had among them nineteen marriages, fifteen divorces and twenty-nine children. All four sons were officers in World War II and were decorated, on merit, for bravery. Two of them were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—FDR, Jr. served three terms representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and James served six terms representing the 26th district in California—but none were elected to higher office despite several attempts.[13][14][15][16]

Early political career

State Senator

In 1910, Roosevelt ran for the New York State Senate from the district around Hyde Park in Dutchess County, which had not elected a Democrat since 1884. He entered the Roosevelt name, with its associated wealth, prestige and influence in the Hudson Valley, and the Democratic landslide that year carried him to the state capital of Albany, New York. Roosevelt entered the state house, January 1, 1911. He became a leader of a group of reformers who opposed Manhattan's Tammany Hall machine which dominated the state Democratic Party. Roosevelt soon became a popular figure among New York Democrats. Reelected for a second term November 5, 1912, he resigned from the New York State Senate on March 17, 1913.[17][18]


FDR as Assistant Secretary for the Navy.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Franklin D. Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. He served under Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. In 1914, he was defeated in the Democratic primary election for the United States Senate by Tammany Hall-backed James W. Gerard. As assistant secretary, Roosevelt worked to expand the Navy and founded the United States Navy Reserve. Wilson sent the Navy and Marines to intervene in Central American and Caribbean countries. In a series of speeches in his 1920 campaign for Vice President, Roosevelt claimed that he, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, wrote the constitution which the U.S. imposed on Haiti in 1915.[19]

Roosevelt developed a life-long affection for the Navy. Roosevelt negotiated with Congressional leaders and other government departments to get budgets approved. He became an enthusiastic advocate of the submarine and also of means to combat the German submarine menace to Allied shipping: he proposed building a mine barrier across the North Sea from Norway to Scotland. In 1918, he visited Britain and France to inspect American naval facilities; during this visit he met Winston Churchill for the first time. With the end of World War I in November 1918, he was in charge of demobilization, although he opposed plans to completely dismantle the Navy. In July 1920, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Campaign for Vice-President


Cox/Roosevelt posterThe 1920 Democratic National Convention chose Roosevelt as the candidate for Vice President of the United States on the ticket headed by Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, helping build a national base, but the Cox-Roosevelt ticket was heavily defeated by Republican Warren Harding in the presidential election. Roosevelt then retired to a New York legal practice, but few doubted that he would soon run for public office again.

Paralytic illness


One of only a few known photographs of Roosevelt in a wheelchair.Main article: Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralytic illness

In August 1921, while the Roosevelts were vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Roosevelt contracted an illness, at the time believed to be polio, which resulted in Roosevelt's total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, and, in 1926, he purchased a resort at Warm Springs, Georgia, where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients which still operates as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes). His leadership in this organization is one reason he is commemorated on the dime. [20] [21]

At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was in fact getting better, which he believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons.

In 2003, a peer-reviewed study found that it was more likely that Roosevelt's paralytic illness was actually Guillain-Barré syndrome, not poliomyelitis.[22]

Governor of New York, 1929–1932

Main article: Franklin D. Roosevelt's terms as Governor of New York


Governor Roosevelt poses with Al Smith for a publicity shot in Albany, New York, 1930.Roosevelt maintained contacts and mended fences with the Democratic Party during the 1920s, especially in New York. Although he made his name as an opponent of New York City's Tammany Hall machine, Roosevelt moderated his stance. He helped Alfred E. Smith win the election for governor of New York in 1922. Roosevelt gave nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions.[23] In 1928, as the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1928 election, Smith in turn asked Roosevelt to run for governor. While Smith lost the Presidency in a landslide, and was even

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Timeline

1882
January 30, 1882
Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York, United States
January 30, 1882
Hyde Park, NY, USA
1896
1896
- 1900
Age 13
Groton, MA, United States
1900
1900
- 1903
Age 17
Cambridge, MA, United States
1905
March 17, 1905
Age 23
New York, New York
1905
- 1907
Age 22
New York, NY, United States
1906
May 3, 1906
Age 24
New York, New York, United States
1907
December 23, 1907
Age 25
Hyde Park, Dutchess, Ny
1910
September 23, 1910
Age 28
New York City, New York
1911
January 1, 1911
- March 17, 1913
Age 28
Hyde Park, New York, United States