Franklin Delano Roosevelt Sr. was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and awesome facts about Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history.
2. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century.
3. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II.
5. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York, to a Dutch American family made well known by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States.
6. Roosevelt attended Groton School, Harvard College and Columbia Law School, and went on to practice law in New York City.
7. In 1905, he married his fifth cousin once removed, Elanor Roosevelt. They had six children.
8. He won the election to the New York State Senate in 1910, and then served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson during World War I.
9. Roosevelt was James M. Cox’s running mate on the Democratic Party’s 1920 national ticket, but Cox was defeated by Warren G. Harding.
10. In 1921, Roosevelt contracted a paralytic illness, believed at the time to be polio, and his legs became permanently paralyzed.
11. While attempting to recover from his condition, Roosevelt founded the treatment center in Warm Springs, Georgia, for people with poliomyelitis.
12. In spite of being unable to walk without help, Roosevelt returned to public office by winning the election for Governor of New York in 1928. He was in office from 1929 to 1933 and served as a reform Governor, promoting programs to combat the economic crisis besetting the United States at the time.
13. In the 1932 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated Republican President Herbert Hoover in a landslide.
14. He was the only president to be elected to serve for four terms and the only president who used a wheelchair. However, with demanding exercise and determination, he learnt how to stand for a short time with leg braces.
15. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt served as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
16. In February 1945, Roosevelt played a key role in the Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference. He met with heads of state from the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, to discuss the final phase of World War II and agree on the reorganization of post-war Europe.
17. He was the first president to have his own airplane.
18. During the British Royal Visit, in June 1939, Roosevelt presented Queen Elizabeth and King George VI with a picnic and gave them hot dogs.
19. Roosevelt died when he was 63 years old and during his fourth term as president. The date was April 12, 1945, and he was at his home, the Little White House, in Warm Springs, Georgia.
20. He was buried in the Rose Garden at his estate in Hyde Park, New York, which is now a National Historical Site.
21. During his famous Portland Speech of September 1932, Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
22. Roosevelt had several affairs, including a long standing one with Elanor’s secretary, Lucy Mercer. When Elanor found out, she offered Roosevelt a divorce so that he could marry Lucy. However, as Lucy was Catholic, she didn’t feel she could marry a divorced man.
23. Franklin and Elanor decided to stay together and Franklin promised not to see Lucy anymore, a promise he broke and continued to regularly correspond with her.
24. The Secret Service knew all about Franklin’s affairs and had codenamed Lucy, “Mrs. Johnson.”
25. His son Elliot claimed that his father also had a 20 year long affair with his secretary Marguerite LeHand, which overlapped with his affair with Lucy.
26. While in college, Roosevelt was average academically, but very active socially. He was editor of the college newspaper, graduated in three years, and later passed his bar exam.
27. During World War II, Roosevelt supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy to support the war effort and implemented a Europe first strategy, making the defeat of Germany a priority over that of Japan.
28. He initiated the development of the world’s first atomic bomb and worked with other Allied leaders to lay the groundwork for the United Nations and other post-war institutions.
29. The Axis Powers surrendered to the Allies in the months following Roosevelt’s death, during the presidency of Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman.
30. The largest, the 7.5 acre Roosevelt Memorial, is located next to the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin.