Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. Until he was 14, he received his schooling from governesses and private tutors. Roosevelt then attended Groton School in Massachusetts between 1896 and 1900, where the headmaster, the Reverend Endicott Peabody, instilled the virtues of public service into the children. Roosevelt left Groton with the idea that the upper class had a duty to society. From 1900 to 1904, Roosevelt attended Harvard, where he became the editor of the college newspaper and finished his B.A. in only three years.
While at Harvard, Roosevelt met Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once-removed. They were married on March 17, 1905; Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States and Eleanor's uncle, gave her away. Eleanor delivered five children in the next eleven years: Anna, James, Elliott, Franklin Delano, and John. For the first five years of their marriage, the Roosevelt family lived in New York City while Roosevelt attended Columbia Law school until 1907, when he passed the bar exam was employed by a Wall Street law firm.
By 1910, the 28-year-old Roosevelt was restless at his tedious job. The democratic organization in Hyde Park needed a democratic candidate for the New York State Senate and recognized Roosevelt as a fine choice for his ability to finance a campaign and for his last name, the best-known political name in the United States. Roosevelt was eager to escape his job and told the organization that he would be their candidate. While traveling the country looking for support, his greatest asset became the split in the Republican Party. This allowed him to win the usually Republican district.
Roosevelt was admired for his support of soil conservation, state development of electric power, the direct primary, popular election of senators (who were at that time elected by the state legislature, not the popular vote), women's suffrage, and workmen's compensation. In 1912, Roosevelt supported Governor Woodrow Wilson for the democratic presidential nominee. Wilson won the nomination and Roosevelt ran again for state senate but was stricken with typhoid fever. Roosevelt was victorious, however, with the help of Louis Howe, a member of the press who eventually became Roosevelt’s closest aide.
When Wilson’s new secretary of the navy, Josephus Daniels, offered Roosevelt a job as assistant secretary, Roosevelt gladly accepted the offer and moved to Washington in 1913. Roosevelt advocated a big Navy, preparedness, a strong presidency, and an active foreign policy. He supported the war against Germany in 1917 and proudly visited the front line in 1918. Roosevelt’s time as assistant secretary of the navy gave him administrative experience and a number of contacts through Washington and the Democratic Party.
In 1920, Roosevelt was voted as the Vice Presidential nominee, running alongside Ohio governor James M. Cox. Roosevelt was an energetic campaigner and advocated the League of Nations. Republican candidates Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, however, achieved a landslide victory over Cox and Roosevelt.
After his defeat, Roosevelt returned to New York City, formed a law firm, and became vice president of Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland. In 1921, Roosevelt was stricken with polio. With the help of Eleanor and Louis Howe, he began rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he would frequently swim. He regained enough strength in his arms and legs to make an appearance at the 1924 democratic convention, on crutches, in order to nominate Alfred Smith for the presidency. Meanwhile, he established the Warm Springs Foundation for other polio victims and inspired the March of Dimes program, which eventually funded research for an effective vaccine.
In 1928, Roosevelt again nominated Smith as the democratic candidate for president. Smith pressured Roosevelt into running for governor, saying that he needed a strong candidate on the democratic ticket. Though Smith lost the presidency to Hoover, Roosevelt secured a position as governor of New York by 25,000 votes. While governor, Roosevelt battled for reforestation, state-supported old-age pensions and unemployment insurance, legislation regulating working hours for women and children, public development of electric power, and the promotion of social welfare during the depression. Roosevelt became the first governor to start a state relief administration. He was reelected in 1930 by an overwhelming 750,000 votes.
At the 1932 democratic national convention, Roosevelt was named the democratic presidential candidate with Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas running as vice president. Roosevelt flew to the convention in order to deliver his acceptance speech, in which he pledged himself to a "New Deal" for America.
When Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4, 1933, the U.S. economy was in dire straights. Thirteen to fifteen million were unemployed. 38 states had closed their banks. In his inaugural address, Roosevelt assured the American people that he would not allow the depression to worsen. “The only thing we have to fear,” he stated, "is fear itself." He closed the remaining banks and called Congress to a special session.
During his first 100 days of office, Roosevelt proposed a massive amount of legislation to aid in recovery from the Great Depression. Roosevelt secured passage of an emergency banking bill, which provided aid to private bankers. He cut $400 million from payments to veterans and cut $100 million from the salaries of government workers. He ended the prohibition, took the nation off of the gold standard, and started a number of government agencies to provide economic aid to the American people. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) safeguarded bank deposits. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) provided government loans for mortgage, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put young men to work on conservation projects, and the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) granted funds to states and municipalities in order to aid the unemployed, among others. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) paid subsidies to farmers who followed new quotas limiting production of certain livestock and agricultural products. Agricultural income increased by 50% in Roosevelt’s first term. As prices of agricultural products increased, however, it forced poor consumers to pay more for their necessities.
In 1935, Roosevelt fought for three significant reforms. The first led to the creation of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which provided $11 billion in work relief between 1935 and 1942. The second created the National Labor Relations Board, which guaranteed labor the right to bargain collectively on equal terms with management, accelerating the labor movement in the 1930s and 1940s. The third was social security, which provided federal payment of pensions to retired workers. This legislation helped him defeat the republican presidential nominee, Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas, in 1936. He would later defeat Wendel L. Wilkie in 1940 and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944, serving an unprecedented four terms as president of the United States.
After the formal beginning of World War II in 1939, Roosevelt called for “lend-lease” aid to the allies, which increased the flow of supplies to Britain and later Russia. In addition, U.S. destroyers began escorting convoys of Allied ships across the Atlantic. In the process, they helped locate German submarines, which the allied forces then attacked. Roosevelt hid this un-neutral position from the American people; it was not until a German ship attacked an American destroyer that Roosevelt feigned surprise and ordered the destruction of any hostile German ships.
Hoping to contain the Japanese military expansion, Roosevelt tightened the embargo of goods to Japan and demanded that they cease their aggressive activities in Asia. The Japanese responded by attacking Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan and the Axis and called December 7 "a date which will live in infamy."
By the time the allies gained a substantial foothold against the Axis powers in the spring of 1945, Roosevelt’s doctors were aware that he was suffering from hypertensive heart disease. Roosevelt did not live to see the end of World War II; he died at Warm Springs, Georgia on April 12, 1945 at the age of 63.
Rescued from last year's homework, which unfortunately did not include sources.