32nd President of the United States
Born on 30 January 1882
Born in Hyde Park, New York
Died on 12 April 1945
Born in 1882 and famous all over the world with the three letters, 'FDR' Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the U.S. and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms of presidency. As president, Roosevelt faced an immediate challenge of and succeeded in pulling the country back from the brisk of unemployment and widespread economic crisis as soon as he took charge of the office in 1932. Initially a member of the Democratic Party, Roosevelt has been credited with the invention and establishment of Social Security system and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in America. He was the only American President to be elected Four times and his tenure was the most by any American President. Serving the U.S. from 1932 to 1945, Roosevelt acquired fame and popularity in America with the way he framed policies to tackle the Great Depression in America and led the country's ride from a fast growing economy to the mightiest power in the world.
Childhood and Education
Born on January 30, 1882 Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a Dutch paternal and French maternal ancestry and both hailed from a very wealthy and developed family. Franklin’s father’s name was James who was 54 at the time of his birth. His mother Sara was apparently very possessive and had a great influence on his son. Roosevelt childhood passed in a silver spoon atmosphere and he enjoyed frequent trips to many European countries of Europe that made his vision broader and exposed him to the outer world.
Roosevelt received his schooling from Groton School in Massachusetts before going to Harvard, where he became a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. Due to his good writing and editorial skills he was elected the president of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper. During his stay in Harvard, his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became the US president who was an inspiration to Franklin for his leadership qualities and reforming skills. Roosevelt went to the Columbia Law School in 1905, but dropped out after two years without graduating. In 1908, having passed the New York State Bar exam, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn; where he mainly dealt with corporate law.
Roosevelt married Eleanor, whom he had met in 1902, against his mother’s wish on 17 March 1905. The couple was totally in contrast, on one hand where Franklin was a charismatic and socially active man, Eleanor was shy and socially inactive, and spent more time at home. The marriage was unsuccessful though, with Franklin’s post marital affairs becoming public during 1960’s. The marriage even went to the extent of divorce but they reconciled after Franklin’s promise to discontinue the affair. Franklin’s mother Sara also intervened and warned him not to divorce Eleanor. Although they did not divorce, the times were never the same, as the couple lived together only to keep their children and friends happy. Franklin did not end the affair as he had promised and continued it secretly even in his Presidential tenure which was publicly disclosed in 1960's. They together had six children but only five could survive their adulthood.
Early Political Career
In 1910, Roosevelt started his political Career from Hyde Park district around Hyde Park New York as State Senate. His surname Roosevelt won him a lot of respect and popularity along with prestige in the area. After a short span of time Roosevelt’s leadership skills became apparent and he won quick fame and won a lot of following in the state Democratic Party. He entered the state house on 1 January 1911 becoming a popular figure among New York Democrats, resulting into his re-election in 1912. He resigned from the State Senate in 1913.
During 1913, on the eve of the first world war, Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by the then American President Woodrow Wilson. In 1914, he was defeated in the Democratic primary election for the United States Senate. To improve the condition of the organization, he negotiated with Congressional leaders and other government departments to get budgets approved. In July 1920, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy but he continued his political aspirations and campaigned for the Post of the Vice President in the same year.
He however was defeated in the elections heavily and thus went to do his legal practice. In 1921, Roosevelt who had polio at that time had an attack which resulted in paralysis of waist which continued for the rest of his life. Roosevelt however continued to maintain his political contacts and as a matter, was elected in 1928 as the governor of New York, however by a narrow margin. He ran a fantastic tenure during the two years and as a result of that was re-elected in 1930 for the second time by a mammoth margin of 7,00,000 votes.
The Journey to White House
Roosevelt's fame and popularity in New York made his case strong for the Presidential Candidate of Democratic party in 1932.The great orator that he was, he won the support of a lot of people due to his authoritative declarations. His first speech is still famous in history. At the time of election campaign the problem of Great Depression was on the heads of all the top brass of the country's leadership. It was at that time that Roosevelt proposed the New Deal Coalition. He openly declared it in public and made it as his slogan and won the election with 57% of the vote, thus transforming American politics by starting what is called the "New Deal Party.
After his election to the post of President, Roosevelt inherited the greatest depression in the US history. A massive population had lost employment and all the Institutions were in a trouble that had dug deep. Roosevelt blamed the crisis on bankers and financiers, because of what he called as their greed and quest for interest. He started tackling the problem head on beginning with the three R's i.e. relief, recovery and reform. He used radio and newspapers very well to create awareness among the Public.
First New Deal
This is where the making of history was started. During the First 100 days he concentrated on the immediate relief to the one hit most badly. He understood that it was fear that was causing more damage and thus first decided to tackle that. In this regard, he inaugurated the Panic Bank to provide immediate relief. His strategy of the New Deal to create reforms and generate funds and provide relief to the unemployed proved to be remarkable for the recovery of the American Economy although the crisis was so deep that it took almost a decade for the Scenario to improve.
The First New deal proved to be instrumental in paving the way out for the US from such a global crisis which had wounded the whole of the world except the Soviet Union. Roosevelt, in fact by this, kept all his promises which he had done during his Campaign. Although the First part of that New Deal Policy was mainly concerned with low par sectors which were first hit, the Second part challenged the business fraternity. Within a couple of years it became evident to the American public that the nation was healing.
Re-Election and Second Term
In the 1932’s Presidential Campaign Roosevelt had strong New Deal programs in his Lap and obviously was expected to sweep through. Roosevelt won by a landslide margin of 60.8% in every state except Maine and Vermont. Although the second term was not as charismatic and did not involve as much legislation but he still continued in American publics eyes as a hero. Many of Roosevelt’s programmes were also overturned by the Supreme Court decisions. To the surprise of many, as many as eight judges were changed in the four years of Roosevelt’s second tenure. Though Roosevelt enjoyed massive support among the peasant class which was growing rapidly at that time but the Democratic Party was splitting internally which was constantly weakening the party. This became public in 1938 when the party lost seats in the Senate creating more hurdles for the party.
The Third Term
The US constitution after its First President George Washington until this had a trend for a president to serve for two terms only or a rule that was rather unscripted. Although Theodore Roosevelt tried to obtain the third term but he was denied. But the Delegates stressed that for America to recover properly and to control what was happening in Europe; Roosevelt should fight the elections again. The call ‘we want Roosevelt became’ immensely popular in the Country. Roosevelt himself was also willing to continue because he knew that to keep the US out of the war, he had to. He thus had strong base and won the 1940 elections by 55% of the popular vote.
His third term was more or less under the shadow of the Great War that was happening in Europe at that time. Although he committed to the allies for full support, including the Soviet Union, when Hitler attacked the soviets, but he never wanted the US to enter the war directly. Until the fierce Pearl Harbor incident happened. On December 7, 1941, the Japan attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleships, and killing more than 2,400 American military personnel and civilians. It was time for the president to give reply and Roosevelt did what whole of America expected him to. He decided and declared that it was time that the United States entered the cage starting from the powerful Germany itself.
Franklin Roosevelt teamed up with Churchill and Stalin to make policies to crush the Axis Powers. Once the US joined the allies and with china became invincible and Hitler and Mussolini began to feel the heat. With each passing day they were pushed to back foot. Roosevelt always believed Germany was the biggest threat to the allies and always insisted on combating Germany first. And by the last years of 1945 the allies lead by the Soviet Red Army had advanced to Berlin.
Last Days and Death
In 1944 Roosevelt, despite very weak and suffering from many health problems fought the Election for the 4th time. Though he was only 62 then but he was so weak that his party members were sure that he won't live long now. Roosevelt in his final days formulated the concept of the United Nations as a substitute to the Ineffective League of Nations. And it was on April 12, 1945 that a terrific shock wave rolled across the US, when President Roosevelt passed away. At his wish, Franklin was buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estate, in Hyde Park. Eleanor Roosevelt died in year 1962 and was buried next to him.
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