Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The office of the US President is considered world's most important office. There have been many charismatic individuals who held that office. One such famous president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Read on to know more about his life...
Historyplex Staff
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York, on January 30, 1882. He was born to a wealthy couple, James and Sara Roosevelt. His early education took place inside the Roosevelt house by home tutors, before attending Groton school at the age of 14. He was a bright student, and excelled in his studies at Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He got married to his cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1905. She was the niece of Theodore Roosevelt, who was the President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.
Franklin had great admiration for Teddy Roosevelt, and just like him, he entered politics, although as a Democratic party candidate. He became a member of the New York senate in 1910. He became an active Democrat leader and was appointed by President Wilson as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a post he held for six years. He attended the Paris Peace Conference, but voiced his opinion strongly against the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty, which imposed humiliating conditions on Germany, turned out to be a major cause for World War II. Roosevelt's popularity grew, and the Democratic candidate for presidency, James Fox, selected him as his running mate in 1920.
In 1921, he was diagnosed with poliomyelitis, which left him paralyzed. His legs suffered permanent damage, although he underwent strenuous training to minimize the effect of the illness. He came back even more matured and composed after this period, and helped the Democratic nominee, Alfred Smith in his campaign for the highest office, which, unfortunately, he lost. Roosevelt became the Governor of New York in 1928.
His work for the New York state and national issues, made him the obvious choice as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1932. He convincingly defeated Republican Herbert Hoover and became the 32nd President of the United States of America. Just before assuming office, there was an assassination attempt on him, by an Italian immigrant, Giuseppe Zangara, when he was addressing a rally in Belmont Park, Miami. Although the shooter missed his mark, the bullet struck Roosevelt's good friend, the then mayor of New York Cermak, who succumbed to his wounds. Zangara was executed within three weeks of this incident.
Roosevelt took over at a time when America was reeling under the effect of the Great Depression and there were almost 1,300,000 unemployed people in the country. He introduced sweeping reforms to bring the US economy back on track. He brought some relief to an ailing economy, but there was also some opposition to his policies, like the 'New Deal', where he proposed to enlarge the Supreme Court. Despite such events, he was successful in winning three terms as president, as his mass acceptance had grown enormously. Another major event during his tenure was World War II. Although the USA had maintained a neutral policy with respect to their involvement, they supplied huge military aid to the Allies, especially UK. When France surrendered to Germany and England was under heavy attack, the Americans increased the aid in every possible way, stopping just short of actual participation in the war.
The Japanese launched a surprise aerial attack on the American Naval Base of Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, causing serious damage to the unwary US troops. This prompted the American entry into the war, which led to a drastic change on all war fronts. Roosevelt directed all the production and resources of the state towards its military initiatives, and America emerged a superpower after the end of the war, having employed nuclear weapons in open warfare for the first time in human history. During the closing stages of the battle, Roosevelt's health suffered a great deal. He was extremely tired and unwell, as a result of all the hectic demands and pressure of being a president.
After the Yalta conference, he chose to take a hiatus. Unfortunately, during his vacation stay at a spa in Warm Springs, Georgia, he suffered a massive attack of cerebral hemorrhage, and died on April 12, 1945, at an age of 63. His body was carried to New York and laid to rest at his estate in Hyde Park. FDR remains a very popular president to this day, and went down in history as one of the greatest Presidents of the United States of America.