Franklin D. Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a central figure of the 20th century during a time
of worldwide economic crisis and world war. Elected to four terms in office, he
served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than
two terms. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt were fifth cousins but
were close. FDR's wife Eleanor Roosevelt was Theodore's orphaned niece who he
gave away in marriage to "cousin Franklin" in 1905.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems, through various agencies, such as the Works Project Administration (WPA), National Recovery Administration (NRA), and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).
Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until World War II, several
programs he initiated, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce.
Some of Franklin D. Roosevelt's other legacies include the Social Security
system and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
As Britain warred with the Axis nations, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before the United States' entry into World War II in December 1941. On the home front, he introduced price controls and rationing. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by forces of the Japanese Empire and after the declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany and by Fascist Italy, Roosevelt introduced internment of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans.
Franklin D. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. The United States had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition, arguing disappearing unemployment, closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, with the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's election to the presidency brought about a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. Franklin D. Roosevelt's aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals; the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief.
Franklin D. Roosevelt has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the
greatest U.S. Presidents.
This Franklin D. Roosevelt Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub