Franklin Delano Roosevelt ranks as one of the most renowned presidents in American history. He is the only president to be elected to four consecutive terms in office. As President, Roosevelt appears to have been a canny politician, a brilliant leader, and an eminent statesman. His presidential administration coped with two of the most important and influential events of the century--the Great Depression and World War II. During his tenure as President, he guided the United States through twelve years of despair, tragedy, triumph, and recovery. In doing so, he brought about a new relationship between the federal government and the people it served.
In the years following his election as president, Roosevelt implemented massive economic and social reforms. These reforms were directed at forestalling a collapse of the capitalist system of economics and correcting what Roosevelt saw as historic social injustices. His New Deal and Social Security programs are well known examples of those efforts. Although Roosevelt spent almost a decade implementing reforms and enacting legislation in his efforts to change the hard economic times for the American people, it was actually the outbreak of World War II, an international event, that finally brought an end to much of the economic and social suffering that had plagued the United States for so many years.
As a man F.D.R.'s vibrant personality, limitless energy, and contagious enthusiasm surely captivated all those who knew him.
Perhaps the most dominant aspect of F.D.R.'s later life was his physical state. From the age of 39, until his death at age 63, Roosevelt suffered from the affects of poliomyelitis, a viral disease commonly referred to as polio. Although Roosevelt's general health remained excellent in the years following his exposure to the virus, the affects of the disease caused the function of his legs to become so weak that he could hardly use them at all. Initially he could move about only in a wheelchair. After some time he progressed to a walker, then to a set of leg braces and finally to the stage where, with a pair of canes and a helping hand, he could walk.
Roosevelt found great pleasure and much relief from the discomforts of his malady while relaxing and swimming in the tepid mineral waters at Warm Springs, Georgia. So comforting were his experiences at Warm Springs that he eventually purchased the resort and developed it so that other people with similar problems might also benefit from it's use. The spa at Warm Springs eventually became known as the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. It has served thousands of patients in the decades since Roosevelt first envisioned it.
The sudden and unexpected death of Franklin Roosevelt in April of 1945 was a shock to the nation and to the world. To honor his memory, officials of the Treasury proposed that his likeness be adopted for immediate use on a U.S. coin of regular circulating issue. The dime was chosen as the denomination. Not only was this newly designed coin rushed into production to honor Franklin Roosevelt, its distribution was appropriately timed to coincide with the "March of Dimes" fund raising campaign of 1946.
The following is a brief chronology of Franklin D. Roosevelt's life and political career.
January 30, 1882 Born Franklin Delano Roosevelt in
Hyde Park, New York.
1885-1895 Privately schooled at home and
1900-1904 Harvard University, Bachelor of
1905 Marries Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
(Franklin's fifth cousin)
1910 Elected State Senator from New York.
1912 Reelected Senator.
1913 Appointed Assistant Secretary of the
Navy. Resigns as State Senator.
1917 The United States enters World
1919 Attends Peace Conference at
1920 Nominated for Vice President on
Democratic ticket with James Cox
for President. Loses to Republican
ticket of Harding/Coolidge.
August 10, 1921 Stricken with poliomyelitis.
1926 Purchases spa at Warm Springs,
Georgia and restores facility as a
center for polio therapy.
1928 Elected Governor of New York.
1930 Reelected Governor of New York.
Nominated Democratic presidential
candidate to run against Herbert
1932 Elected 32nd. President of the
1933-1936 Implementation of New Deal programs.
1936 Reelected President of the United
States defeating Alfred Landon.
1940 Reelected President of the United
States defeating Wendell Willkie.
December 7, 1941 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
December 8, 1941 United States declares war on Japan.
December 11, 1941 United States declares war on
Germany and Italy after declaration
of war against the U.S. by those
June 6, 1944 Allied forces invade Europe.
November 1944 Reelected President of the United
States (4th. term) defeating Thomas
February 4, 1945 Attends Yalta Conference with Joseph
Stalin and Winston Churchill to
discuss postwar plans.
April 12, 1945 Dies, age 63, at Warm Springs,
Georgia from cerebral hemorrhage.