|[b]32nd President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt[/b]
The 32nd President of the United States (1933 - 1945). His Policy about the New Deal against the economic depression had the result that the State was no more a passive actor in the economy and society. In the 2nd world war, Roosevelt had an important part in defining the allys’ aims of war.
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. He attended Groton (1896-1900), a prestigious preparatory school in Massachusetts, and received a BA 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. 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.While vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick in the summer of 1921 (in the age of 39), 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.In 1928 Alfred E. 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. In Chicago in 1932, Roosevelt won the nomination as the Democratic Party candidate for president. He broke with tradition and flew to Chicago to accept the nomination in person.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 initiated his “New Deal”. That means, he supported farm prices and made great efforts in employing young men. These measures revived confidence in the economy. Banks reopened and direct relief saved millions from starvation. But the “New Deal” measures also involved government directly in areas of social and economic life.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. By 1939 Roosevelt was concentrating increasingly on foreign affairs with the outbreak of war in Europe. When Hitler attacked Poland in September 1939, Roosevelt tried to make American aid available to China, Britain and France to keep the American neutrality.With the fall of France in 1940, the American mood and Roosevelt's policy changed dramatically. Roosevelt signed a "lend-lease" bill in March 1941 to enable the nation to furnish aid to nations at war with Germany and Italy. America, though a neutral in the war and still at peace, was becoming the "arsenal of democracy", as its factories began producing as they had in the years before the Depression. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, followed four days later by Germany's and Italy's declarations of war against the United States, brought the nation irrevocably into the war.The unending stress and strain of the war literally wore Roosevelt out. By early 1944 a full medical examination disclosed serious heart and circulatory problems; and although his physicians placed him on a strict regime of diet and medication, the pressures of war and domestic politics weighed heavily on him. During a vacation at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945, he suffered a massive stroke and died two and one-half hours later without regaining consciousness. He was 63 years old. His death came on the eve of complete military victory in Europe and within months of victory over Japan in the Pacific. President Roosevelt was buried in the Rose Garden of his estate at Hyde Park, New York.