Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933

Election to Presidency

Before being elected 32nd president of the United States in 1932, Franklin Delano
Roosevelt was serving his second term as governor of the state of New York. Because
America found itself in the middle of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s primary
goal was to restore a respectful sense of spirit in the people. He tried to encourage
them by hosting talks via the radio, as well as calling a bank holiday very soon
after his inauguration. FDR is likely most known for his plan to restore the economy;
he called this plan the New Deal. The New Deal aimed to restore many aspects of
business and agriculture. The first part was primarily focused on industry, which
promoted economic recovery. The second part was focused on the promotion of labor
unions, Social Security, and better working conditions in general.

Reelection in 1936

Despite the criticism he received during his first term, FDR was reelected in 1936.
He was the only president to serve four terms—this occurred before the 22nd amendment
to the Constitution was enacted, which stated that presidents could only serve two
consecutive terms. Roosevelt also guided the nation through the Nazi threats of
World War II. His original approach transformed the Monroe Doctrine into a policy
of mutual action against aggressors. Without placing a direct attack, he pushed
aid toward European allies of the US. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December
7, 1941, Roosevelt entered the US into the World War. He realized that many post-war
actions were dependent on the United States’ relationship with the Soviet Union,
so he focused on forming a “United Nations” in order to establish cooperation between
many different countries.

Declining health and legacy

When President Roosevelt returned to the US, he spoke to Congress about the results
of the Yalta conference. Many commented on how old and frail he looked; his health
conditions, combined with the additional stress of the impending end of the war
and peace talks, took a serious toll on his body. On April 12, 1945, he experienced
a severe pain in the back of his head, which was later diagnosed as a cerebral hemorrhage,
or stroke. When WWII officially ended on May 8, Truman dedicated the celebrations
to Roosevelt’s memory. Americans across the nation flew the flag at half-staff for
30 days, as is respectful to do in honor of the dead.

Be sure to listen to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s following speeches:

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