Franklin D. Roosevelt

— 32nd President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery


March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945

BORN: January 30, 1882
Hyde Park, New York
April 12, 1945, Warm Springs, Georgia
Buried in Hyde Park, New York
OCCUPATION: Farmer, lawyer, public official
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1905
Anna, James, Elliott, Franklin Jr., John

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president four times. He guided the country through the Great Depression and World War II despite being paralyzed from the waist down as a result of polio.

When Roosevelt took office in 1933, the economy was in a shambles and millions of adults were out of work. In his first inaugural speech Roosevelt told a panicked country, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."To put people back to work and bring an attitude of hope back to America, Roosevelt launched what he called the "New Deal."

Among other things, the New Deal included:

1. An immediate response to the banking crisis. A banking holiday was declared while federal auditors went over the books. The banks that were in good shape were opened again, which helped restore the American people's confidence.

2. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) began when the government hired more than three million young men to build roads, plant trees, and work on other projects. The CCC workers were given food, a roof over their heads, and $1 a day, most of which had to be sent home to their families. The WPA workers received a modest salary.

3. The Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, harnessed the floodwaters of the Tennessee River to generate electricity. This was a massive project that created thousands of jobs.

There were many other parts to the New Deal, but the end result was that Americans were working again and were able to pay their rent and put food on the table.

Roosevelt proved to be a strong international leader during World War II. After Pearl Harbor had been bombed by planes from the Empire of Japan, Roosevelt immediately went to Congress and asked for a declaration of war. This declaration of war was against what was called the Axis powers. These were Japan, Germany, and Italy. Although the first year of the war was a difficult one, the Allied forces began to turn the tide and crushed the German army by 1945.

Roosevelt died of a brain hemorrhage at age 63, one month before Germany surrendered.

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