Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York on January
30, 1882, the son of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. His parents and
private tutors provided him with almost all his formative education.

President Roosevelt\'s boyhood home is a popular related attraction at the
Hyde Park historic site. The house, on a 188-acre estate, contains an office which
the President referred to as his "Summer White House". From this room he
broadcast the last speech of his fourth campaign for the Presidency on November 6,
1944. Famous guests at the house included King George VI of Great Britain and
Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill. The house contains abundant memorabilia
from all periods of the President\'s life. As his wife Eleanor remarked, "He always
felt that this was his home, and he loved the house and the view, the woods, special
trees...." He attended Groton (1896-1900), a prestigious preparatory school in
Massachusetts, and received a B.A. degree in history from Harvard in only three
years (1900-03). Roosevelt next studied law at New York\'s Columbia University.
When he passed the bar examination in 1907, he left school without taking a degree.
For the next three years he practiced law with a prominent New York City law firm.
He entered politics in 1910 and was elected to the New York State Senate as a
Democrat from his traditionally Republican home district.

In the meantime, in 1905, he had married a distant cousin, Anna Eleanor
Roosevelt, who was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. The couple had six
children, five of whom survived infancy: Anna (1906), James (1907), Elliott (1910),
Franklin, Jr. (1914) and John (1916). Roosevelt was reelected to the State Senate in
1912, and supported Woodrow Wilson\'s candidacy at the Democratic National
Convention. As a reward for his support, Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary
of the Navy in 1913, a position he held until 1920. He was an energetic and efficient
administrator, specializing in the business side of naval administration. This
experience prepared him for his future role as Commander-in-Chief during World
War II. Roosevelt\'s popularity and success in naval affairs resulted in his being
nominated for vice-president by the Democratic Party in 1920 on a ticket headed by
James M. Cox of Ohio. However, popular sentiment against Wilson\'s plan for U.S.
participation in the League of Nations propelled Republican Warren Harding into
the presidency, and Roosevelt returned to private life.

While vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick in the summer of
1921, Roosevelt contracted poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis). Despite courageous
efforts to overcome his crippling illness, he never regained the use of his legs. In
time, he established a foundation at Warm Springs, Georgia to help other polio
victims, and inspired, as well as directed, the March of Dimes program that
eventually funded an effective vaccine. With the encouragement and help of his

wife, Eleanor, and political confidant, Louis Howe, Roosevelt resumed his political
career. In 1924 he nominated Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York for president
at the Democratic National Convention, but Smith lost the nomination to John W.
Davis. In 1928 Smith became the Democratic candidate for president and arranged
for Roosevelt\'s nomination to succeed him as governor of New York. Smith lost the
election to Herbert Hoover; but Roosevelt was elected governor.

Following his reelection as governor in 1930, Roosevelt began to campaign
for the presidency. While the economic depression damaged Hoover and the
Republicans, Roosevelt\'s bold efforts to combat it in New York enhanced his
reputation. His activist approach and personal charm helped to defeat Hoover in
November 1932 by seven million votes. The Depression worsened in the months
preceding Roosevelt\'s inauguration, March 4, 1933. Factory closings, farm
foreclosures, and bank failures increased, while unemployment soared. Roosevelt
faced the greatest crisis in American history since the Civil War. He undertook
immediate actions to initiate his New Deal. . These measures revived confidence in
the economy. Another flurry of New Deal legislation followed in 1935 including the
establishment of the Works Projects Administration (WPA) which provided jobs not
only for laborers but also artists, writers, musicians, and authors, and the Social
Security Act which provided unemployment compensation and a program of old-age
and survivors\' benefits.

Roosevelt easily defeated Alfred M. Landon in 1936 and went on to defeat by
lesser margins, Wendell Willkie in 1940 and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944. He thus
became the only American president to serve more than two terms. After his
overwhelming victory in 1936, Roosevelt took on the critics of the New Deal,
namely, the Supreme Court which had declared various legislation unconstitutional,
and members of his own