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Franklin Roosevelt

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York on January 30th, 1882, the son of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. His parents and private tutors provided all of Franklin’s formative education. Roosevelt attended Groton, a prestigious preparatory school in Massachusetts between the years 1896-1900; he received a BA degree in history from Harvard University in only three years (1900-1903). Franklin next studied law at New York’s Columbia University. When he passed the bar examination in 1907 he left the school without taking a degree.

It wasn’t until 1910 that he entered politics and was elected to the New York State Senate as a Democrat. “He became the leader of a group of insurgent Democrats who prevented the Tammany candidate, William F. Sheehan, from being chosen for the U.S. Senate.” (Goldberg)

Roosevelt allied himself with Woodrow Wilson in election of 1912. Because of his efforts Woodrow Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he held that position from 1913 to 1920. In 1920 he ran as a vice presidential nominee with James M. Cox who lost overwhelmingly to Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

The summer after while vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Roosevelt contracted “poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis).”(Watts) He never regained the use of his legs. “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.” (Goldberg)

In July 1932, Roosevelt was chosen by the Democratic Party as its presidential candidate to run against the Republican incumbent, Herbert C. Hoover. In November, Roosevelt was overwhelmingly elected President. He entered the White House at the worst of times, the economic structure of the country severely damaged. “Fear and despair hung over the nation.” Roosevelt’s inaugural speech had words of hope for the troubled country---“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”---“ “This Nation asks for action, and action now. We must act and act quickly.” And act quickly he did in what became known as the “Hundred Days.” He and his administration rushed a series of anti-depression measures through congress; all of these changes to the American economy became called the “New Deal.” Some of the major changes included Government agencies, most notably the Agricultural Administration and the Public Works Administration were setup to “reorganize industry and agriculture under controls and to revive the economy by a vast expenditure of public funds.”

In 1936 Roosevelt was reelected in a landslide against his Republican opponent Alfred M. Landon, who won the electoral votes in only two states. In 1938 the international picture of the world was black, the Axis countries grew and all Roosevelt could do was speak out against aggression and greed. By 1940, after the fall of France and while Britain was being bombed by the Germans, Roosevelt increased the aid greatly to Britain. In the presidential election that year both Democratic and Republican parties supported giving Britain aid but opposed the entry into the war.

Roosevelt’s acceptation into the 1940 election broke tradition, no other President had ever run for a third term and even Roosevelt’s own Vice President criticized him. His third administration is basically the story of World War 2 and it’s affect on

the United States of America. The first non-wartime draft came into effect by order of President Roosevelt in August 1941. On December 7th, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The day after Franklin Roosevelt made one of the most memorable speeches of all time “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked



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