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Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945

Born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921. He became the 32nd U.S. president in 1933, and was the only president to be elected four times. Roosevelt led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II, and greatly expanded the powers of the federal government through a series of programs and reforms known as the New Deal. Roosevelt

died in Georgia in 1945. The Roosevelts had been prominent for several generations, having made their fortune in real estate and trade. Franklin was the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt. The family lived at Springwood, their estate in the Hudson River Valley in New York State. After graduating from Groton in 1900, Franklin Roosevelt entered Harvard University, determined to make something of himself. Franklin studied law at Columbia University Law School and passed the bar exam in 1907. In 1910, at age 28, Roosevelt was invited to run for the New York state senate. Breaking from family tradition, he ran as a Democrat in a district that had voted Republican for the past 32 years. He campaigned hard and won the election with the help of his name and a Democratic landslide.

While vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, he was diagnosed as having contracted polio. Roosevelt worked to improve his physical and political image. He taught himself to walk short distances in his braces and was careful not to be seen in public using his wheelchair. His upbeat, positive approach and personal charm helped him defeat Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover in November 1932. By the time Roosevelt took office in March of 1933, there were 13 million unemployed Americans, and hundreds of banks were closed. Roosevelt faced the greatest crisis in American history since the Civil War. He formed a "Brain Trust" of economic advisors who designed the alphabet agencies such as the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) to support farm prices, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to employ young men, and the NRA (National Recovery Administration), which regulated wages and prices. Other agencies insured bank deposits, regulated the stock market, subsidized mortgages, and provided relief to the unemployed. By 1936, the economy showed signs of improvement. Gross national product was up 34 percent, and unemployment had dropped from 25 percent to 14 percent.

Roosevelt sought ways to assist China in its war with Japan and declared France and Great Britain were America's "first line of defense" against Nazi Germany. During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt was a commander in chief who worked with and sometimes around his military advisors. He helped develop a strategy for defeating Germany in Europe through a series of invasions, first in North Africa in November 1942, then Sicily and Italy in 1943, followed by the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944. The stress of war, however, began to take its toll on Franklin Roosevelt. In March 1944, hospital tests indicated he had atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. In spite of this, and because the country was deeply involved in war, there was no question that Roosevelt would run for another term as president.In February 1945, Franklin Roosevelt attended the Yalta Conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin to discuss post-war reorganization. He then returned to the United States and the sanctuary of Warm Springs, Georgia. On the afternoon of April, 12, 1945, Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died.


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