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Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), the 32nd President of the United States, was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United Statesmarker during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he was often referred to by his initials, FDR. Roosevelt won his first of four presidential elections in 1932, while the United States was in the depths of the Great Depression. FDR's combination of optimism and economic activism is often credited with keeping the country's economic crisis from developing into a political crisis. He led the United States through most of World War II, and died in office of a cerebral hemorrhage, shortly before the war ended.

Roosevelt named his approach to the economic situation the New Deal; it consisted of legislation pushed through Congress as well as executive order. Executive orders included the bank holiday declared when he first came to office; legislation created new government agencies, such as the Works Progress Administration and the National Recovery Administration, with the intent of creating new jobs for the unemployed. Other legislation provided direct assistance to individuals, such as the Social Security Act.

As World War II began in 1939, with Japanese occupation of countries on the western Pacific rim and the rise of Hitler in Germany, FDR kept the US on an ostensibly neutral course. Once war broke out in Europe, however, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany, with Great Britainmarker the recipient of the most assistance. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbormarker on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt immediately asked for and received a declaration of war against Japan. Germany subsequently declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941. The nearly total mobilization of the US economy to support the war effort caused a rapid economic recovery.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterwards. His presidency created a realignment that dominated American politics until the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. FDR's coalition melded together such disparate elements as Southern whites and African Americans in the cities of the North. Roosevelt's political impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woodsmarker as examples of his administration's wide ranging impact. Roosevelt is rated by historians as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Personal life

The family name

Roosevelt is an Anglicized form of the Dutch surname 'Van Rosevelt,' or 'Van Rosenvelt', meaning 'from field of roses.' Although some use an Anglicized spelling pronunciation of , that is, with the vowels of rue and felt, Franklin used , with the vowel of the English rose.

One of the wealthiest and oldest families in New Yorkmarker State, the Roosevelts distinguished themselves in areas other than politics. Franklin's first cousin, Ellen Roosevelt, was the 1890 U.S. Open Championships women's singles and doubles tennis champion and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Famemarker.

His mother named him after her favorite uncle Franklin Delano. The progenitor of the Delano family in the Americas of 1621 was Philippe de la Noye, the first Huguenot to land in the New World, whose family name was Anglicized to Delano.

Early life

FDR in 1893
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Parkmarker, New Yorkmarker. His father, James Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara, were each from wealthy old New York families, of Dutch and French ancestry respectively. Franklin was their only child. His paternal grandmother, Mary Rebecca Aspinwall, was a first cousin of Elizabeth Monroe, wife of the fifth U.S. President, James Monroe. One of his ancestors was John Lothropp, also an ancestor of Benedict Arnold and Joseph Smith, Jr. One of his distant relatives from his mother's side is the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. His maternal grandfather Warren Delano II, a descendant of Mayflower passengers Richard Warren, Isaac Allerton, Degory Priest, and Francis Cooke, during a period of twelve years in China made more than a million dollars in the tea trade in Macaumarker, Cantonmarker, and Hong Kongmarker, but upon returning to the United States, he lost it all in the Panic of 1857. In 1860, he returned to China and made a fortune in the notorious but highly profitable opium trade supplying opium-based medication to the U. S. War Department during the American Civil War but not exclusively.

Young Franklin Roosevelt with his father and Helen R.
Roosevelt, sailing in 1899.
Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara was a possessive mother, while James was an elderly and remote father (he was 54 when Franklin was born). Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years. Frequent trips to Europe made Roosevelt conversant in German and French. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis.

Roosevelt went to Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusettsmarker. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Roosevelt went to Harvardmarker, where he lived in luxurious quarters and was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He was also president of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper. While he was at Harvard, his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became president, and Theodore's vigorous leadership style and reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero. In 1902, he met his future wife Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore's niece, at a White Housemarker reception (they had previously met as children, but this was their first serious encounter). Eleanor and Franklin were sixth cousins, once removed. They were both descended from Claes Martensz van Rosenvelt (Roosevelt), who arrived in New Amsterdam (Manhattanmarker) from the Netherlandsmarker in the 1640s. Rosenvelt's (Roosevelt) two grandsons, Johannes and Jacobus, began the Long Island and Hudson River branches of the Roosevelt family, respectively. Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt were descended from the Johannes branch, while FDR came from the Jacobus branch.

Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School in 1905, but dropped out in 1907 because he had passed the New York State Bar exam. In 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Streetmarker firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law. He was first initiated in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was initiated into Freemasonry on October 11, 1911 at Holland Lodge Nr. 8 in New York Citymarker.

Marriage and family life

On March 17, 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott. The young couple moved into Springwoodmarker, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. As for their personal lives, Franklin was a charismatic, handsome, and socially active man. In contrast, Eleanor was shy and disliked social life, and at first stayed at home to raise their children. Although Eleanor disliked sex, and considered it "an ordeal to be endured," they had six children in rapid succession:

Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer which began soon after she was hired in early 1914. In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I. According to the Roosevelt family, Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. According to FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith it is generally accepted that Eleanor indeed offered "to give Franklin his freedom." However, they reconciled after a fashion with the informal mediation of Roosevelt's adviser Louis McHenry Howe, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again. Sara also intervened, and told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, he would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar." However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941—and perhaps earlier. Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service. Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on April 12, 1945—the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known of until the 1960s.

The effect of this affair upon Eleanor Roosevelt is difficult to estimate. "I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget," she wrote a close friend. Though Eleanor never liked sex, after the affair, any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Eleanor soon thereafter established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkillmarker, and increasingly devoted herself to various social and political causes. For the rest of their lives, the Roosevelts' marriage was more of a political partnership than an intimate relationship. The emotional break in their marriage was so severe, that when FDR asked Eleanor in 1942—in light of his failing health—to come back home and live with him again, she refused.

Franklin's son Elliott claimed that Franklin had a 20-year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand.

In 1919 the Roosevelts lived next door to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, and were present when a Galleanist anarchist was killed in the botched bombing that was an attempt to assassinate Palmer. Also in 1919, Franklin Roosevelt helped Éamon de Valera and his fledgling Irish Republican Army get around export laws for shipping arms used against British troops in the Irish War of Independence.

The five surviving Roosevelt children all led tumultuous lives overshadowed by their famous parents. They had among them nineteen marriages, fifteen divorces, and twenty-nine children. All four sons were officers in World War II and were decorated, on merit, for bravery. Two of them were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—FDR, Jr. served three terms representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and James served six terms representing the 26th district in Californiamarker—but none were elected to higher office despite several attempts.

Roosevelt's dog, Fala, also became well-known as a companion of Roosevelt's during his time in the White House, and was called the "most photographed dog in the world."

Early political career

State Senator

In 1910, Roosevelt ran for the New York State Senate from the district around Hyde Parkmarker in Dutchess Countymarker, which had not elected a Democrat since 1884. He entered the Roosevelt name, with its associated wealth, prestige, and influence in the Hudson Valley, and the Democratic landslide that year carried him to the state capital of Albanymarker, New Yorkmarker. Roosevelt entered the state house, January 1, 1911. He became a leader of a group of reformers who opposed Manhattan's Tammany Hall machine which dominated the state Democratic Party. Roosevelt soon became a popular figure among New York Democrats. He was reelected for a second term November 5, 1912, and resigned from the New York State Senate on March 17, 1913.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy

FDR as Assistant Secretary for the Navy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. He served under Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. In 1914, he was defeated in the Democratic primary election for the United States Senate by Tammany Hall-backed James W. Gerard. As assistant secretary, Roosevelt worked to expand the Navy and founded the United States Navy Reserve. Wilson sent the Navy and Marines to intervene in Central American and Caribbeanmarker countries. In a series of speeches in his 1920 campaign for Vice President, Roosevelt claimed that he, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, wrote the constitution which the U.S. imposed on Haiti in 1915.

Roosevelt developed a life-long affection for the Navy. Roosevelt negotiated with Congressional leaders and other government departments to get budgets approved. He became an enthusiastic advocate of the submarine and of means to combat the German submarine menace to Allied shipping: he proposed building a mine barrier across the North Sea from Norwaymarker to Scotlandmarker. In 1918, he visited Britainmarker and France to inspect American naval facilities; during this visit he met Winston Churchill for the first time. With the end of World War I in November 1918, he was in charge of demobilization, although he opposed plans to completely dismantle the Navy. In July 1920, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Campaign for Vice-President

Cox/Roosevelt poster
The 1920 Democratic National Convention chose Roosevelt as the candidate for Vice President of the United States on the ticket headed by Governor James M. Cox of Ohiomarker, helping build a national base, but the Cox-Roosevelt ticket was heavily defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding in the presidential election. Roosevelt then retired to a New York legal practice and joined the newly organized New York Civitan Club, but few doubted that he would soon run for public office again.

Paralytic illness

One of only a few known photographs of Roosevelt in a wheelchair
In August 1921, while the Roosevelts were vacationing at Campobello Islandmarker, New Brunswickmarker, Roosevelt contracted an illness believed by his physicians to be polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, and, in 1926, he purchased a resort at Warm Springsmarker, Georgiamarker, where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients which still operates as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes). His leadership in this organization is one reason he is commemorated on the dime.

At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was getting better, which he believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. FDR used a car with specially designed hand controls, which further gave him the illusion of mobility.

In 2003, a retrospective study proposed that it was more likely that Roosevelt's paralytic illness was Guillain-Barré syndrome, not poliomyelitis. However, since Roosevelt's cerebrospinal fluid was not examined, the cause may never be known for certain.

Governor of New York, 1929–1932

Governor Roosevelt poses with Al Smith for a publicity shot in Albany, New York, 1930.

Roosevelt maintained contacts and mended fences with the Democratic Party during the 1920s, especially in New York. Although he made his name as an opponent of New York City'smarker Tammany Hall machine, Roosevelt moderated his stance. He helped Alfred E. Smith win the election for governor of New York in 1922. Roosevelt gave nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions. As the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1928 election, Smith in turn asked Roosevelt to run for governor in the state election. While Smith lost the Presidency in a landslide, and was even defeated in his home state, Roosevelt was narrowly elected governor.

As a reform governor, he established a number of new social programs, and he was advised by Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins.

In his 1930 campaign for re-election, Roosevelt needed the good will of the Tammany Hall machine in New York Citymarker; however, his Republican opponent, Charles H. Tuttle, was using Tammany Hall's corruption as an election issue. As the election approached, Roosevelt initiated investigations of the sale of judicial offices. He was elected to a second term by a margin of more than 700,000 votes.

Boy Scout supporter

Roosevelt was a strong supporter of scouting, beginning in 1915. In 1924, he became president of the New York City Boy Scout Foundation and led the development of Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp between 1924–1928 to serve the Scouts of New York City. As governor in 1930, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) honored him with their highest award for adults, the Silver Buffalo Award, which is conferred in recognition of distinguished support of youth on a national level. Later, as U.S. president, Roosevelt was honorary president of the BSA and attended the first national jamboree in Washington, D.C.marker in 1937.

1932 presidential election

Roosevelt's strong base in the most populous state made him an obvious candidate for the Democratic nomination, which was hotly contested since it seemed that incumbent Herbert Hoover would be vulnerable in the 1932 election. Al Smith was supported by some city bosses, but had lost control of the New York Democratic party to Roosevelt. Roosevelt built his own national coalition with personal allies such as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Irish leader Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and California leader William Gibbs McAdoo. When Texasmarker leader John Nance Garner switched to FDR, he was given the presidential nomination.

In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt declared:

The election campaign was conducted under the shadow of the Great Depression in the United States, and the new alliances which it created. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party mobilized the expanded ranks of the poor as well as organized labor, ethnic minorities, urbanites, and Southern whites, crafting the New Deal coalition. During the campaign, Roosevelt said: "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people", coining a slogan that was later adopted for his legislative program as well as his new coalition.

Economist Marriner Eccles observed that "given later developments, the campaign speeches often read like a giant misprint, in which Roosevelt and Hoover speak each other's lines." Roosevelt denounced Hoover's failures to restore prosperity or even halt the downward slide, and he ridiculed Hoover's huge deficits. Roosevelt campaigned on the Democratic platform advocating "immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures," "abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating bureaus and eliminating extravagances reductions in bureaucracy," and for a "sound currency to be maintained at all hazards." On September 23, Roosevelt made the gloomy evaluation that, "Our industrial plant is built; the problem just now is whether under existing conditions it is not overbuilt. Our last frontier has long since been reached." Hoover damned that pessimism as a denial of "the promise of American life ... the counsel of despair." The prohibition issue solidified the wet vote for Roosevelt, who noted that repeal would bring in new tax revenues.

Roosevelt won 57% of the vote and carried all but six states. Historians and political scientists consider the 1932-36 elections a realigning election that created a new majority coalition for the Democrats, thus transforming American politics and starting what is called the "New Deal Party System" or (by political scientists) the Fifth Party System.

After the election, Roosevelt refused Hoover's requests for a meeting to come up with a joint program to stop the downward spiral and calm investors, claiming it would tie his hands. The economy spiralled downward until the banking system began a complete nationwide shutdown as Hoover's term ended. In February 1933, Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Zangara (which killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak sitting next to him). Roosevelt leaned heavily on his "Brain Trust" of academic advisors, especially Raymond Moley when designing his policies; he offered cabinet positions to numerous candidates (sometimes two at a time), but most declined. The cabinet member with the strongest independent base was Cordell Hull at State. William Hartman Woodin at Treasury, was soon replaced by the much more powerful Henry Morgenthau, Jr.

First term, 1933–1937

When Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933 (32 days after Hitler, FDR's World War II nemesis, was appointed Chancellor of Germany), the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million were homeless. Due to the lack of employment, organized crime and outlaws were on the rise, such as John Dillinger. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia had closed their banks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days. Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism:
 Historians categorized Roosevelt's program as "relief, recovery and reform." Relief was urgently needed by tens of millions of unemployed. Recovery meant boosting the economy back to normal. Reform meant long-term fixes of what was wrong, especially with the financial and banking systems. Roosevelt's series of radio talks, known as fireside chats, presented his proposals directly to the American public.

First New Deal, 1933–1934

Roosevelt's "First 100 Days" concentrated on the first part of his strategy: immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. To propose programs, Roosevelt relied on leading Senators such as George Norris, Robert F. Wagner and Hugo Black, as well as his Brain Trust of academic advisers. Like Hoover, he saw the Depression caused in part by people no longer spending or investing because they were afraid.

His inauguration on March 4, 1933 occurred in the middle of a bank panic, hence the backdrop for his famous words: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The very next day Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act which declared a "bank holiday" and announced a plan to allow banks to reopen. However, the number of banks that opened their doors after the "holiday" was less than the number that had been open before. This was his first proposed step to recovery. To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

  • Relief measures included the continuation of Hoover's major relief program for the unemployed under the new name, Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The most popular of all New Deal agencies, and Roosevelt's favorite, was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which hired 250,000 unemployed young men to work on rural local projects. Congress also gave the Federal Trade Commission broad new regulatory powers and provided mortgage relief to millions of farmers and homeowners. Roosevelt expanded a Hoover agency, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, making it a major source of financing to railroads and industry. Roosevelt made agriculture relief a high priority and set up the first Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). The AAA tried to force higher prices for commodities by paying farmers to take land out of crops and to cut herds.
  • Reform of the economy was the goal of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933. It tried to end cutthroat competition by forcing industries to come up with codes that established the rules of operation for all firms within specific industries, such as minimum prices, agreements not to compete, and production restrictions. Industry leaders negotiated the codes which were then approved by NIRA officials. Industry needed to raise wages as a condition for approval. Provisions encouraged unions and suspended anti-trust laws. The NIRA was found to be unconstitutional by unanimous decision of the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker on May 27, 1935. Roosevelt opposed the decision, saying "The fundamental purposes and principles of the NIRA are sound. To abandon them is unthinkable. It would spell the return to industrial and labor chaos." In 1933, major new banking regulations were passed. In 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission was created to regulate Wall Street, with 1932 campaign fundraiser Joseph P. Kennedy in charge.
  • Recovery was pursued through "pump-priming" (that is, federal spending). The NIRA included $3.3 billion of spending through the Public Works Administration to stimulate the economy, which was to be handled by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes. Roosevelt worked with Republican Senator George Norris to create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. The repeal of prohibition also brought in new tax revenues and helped him keep a major campaign promise.
  • In a controversial move, Roosevelt gave Executive Order 6102 which made all privately held gold of American citizens property of the US Treasury. This gold confiscation by executive order was argued to be unconstitutional, but Roosevelt's executive order asserts authority to do so based on the "War Time Powers Act" of 1917. Gold bullion remained illegal for Americans to own until President Ford rescinded the order in 1974.

Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the regular federal budget, including 40% cuts to veterans' benefits and cuts in overall military spending. He removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and slashed benefits for the remainder. Protests erupted, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Roosevelt held his ground, but when the angry veterans formed a coalition with Senator Huey Long and passed a huge bonus bill over his veto, he was defeated. He succeeded in cutting federal salaries and the military and naval budgets. He reduced spending on research and education.

Roosevelt also kept his promise to push for repeal of Prohibition. In April 1933, he issued an Executive Order redefining 3.2% alcohol as the maximum allowed. That order was preceded by Congressional action in the drafting and passage of the 21st Amendment, which was ratified later that year.

Second New Deal, 1935–1936

the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million family heads. However, even at the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was still 12.5% according to figures from Michael Darby. The Social Security Act, established Social Security and promised economic security for the elderly, the poor and the sick. Senator Robert Wagner wrote the Wagner Act, which officially became the National Labor Relations Act. The act established the federal rights of workers to organize unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes.

While the First New Deal of 1933 had broad support from most sectors, the Second New Deal challenged the business community. Conservative Democrats, led by Al Smith, fought back with the American Liberty League, savagely attacking Roosevelt and equating him with Marx and Lenin. But Smith overplayed his hand, and his boisterous rhetoric let Roosevelt isolate his opponents and identify them with the wealthy vested interests that opposed the New Deal, setting Roosevelt up for the 1936 landslide. By contrast, the labor unions, energized by the Wagner Act, signed up millions of new members and became a major backer of Roosevelt's reelections in 1936, 1940 and 1944.

Economic environment

Government spending increased from 8.0% of gross national product (GNP) under Hoover in 1932 to 10.2% of the GNP in 1936. Because of the depression, the national debt as a percentage of the GNP had doubled under Hoover from 16% to 33.6% of the GNP in 1932. While Roosevelt balanced the "regular" budget, the emergency budget was funded by debt, which increased to 40.9% in 1936, and then remained level until World War II, at which time it escalated rapidly. The national debt rose under Hoover, and held steady under FDR until the war began, as shown on chart 1.
National debt from four years before Roosevelt took office to five years after the time that he died in office

Deficit spending had been recommended by some economists, most notably by John Maynard Keynes of Britain. Some economists in retrospect have argued that the National Labor Relations Act and Agricultural Adjustment Administration were ineffective policies because they relied on price fixing. The GNP was 34% higher in 1936 than in 1932 and 58% higher in 1940 on the eve of war. That is, the economy grew 58% from 1932 to 1940 in 8 years of peacetime, and then grew 56% from 1940 to 1945 in 5 years of wartime. However, the economic recovery did not absorb all the unemployment Roosevelt inherited. Unemployment fell dramatically in Roosevelt's first term, from 25% when he took office to 14.3% in 1937. Afterward, however, it increased to 19.0% in 1938 ('a depression within a depression'), 17.2% in 1939 because of various added taxation (Undistributed profits tax in Mar. 1936, and the Social Security Payroll Tax 1937, plus the effects of the Wagner Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act and a blizzard of other federal regulations), and stayed high until it almost vanished during World War II when the previously unemployed were conscripted, taking them out of the potential labor supply number.

During the war, the economy operated under such different conditions that comparison with peacetime is impossible. However, Roosevelt saw the New Deal policies as central to his legacy, and in his 1944 State of the Union Address, he advocated that Americans should think of basic economic rights as a Second Bill of Rights.

The U.S. economy grew rapidly during Roosevelt's term. However, coming out of the depression, this growth was accompanied by continuing high levels of unemployment; as the median joblessness rate during the New Deal was 17.2%. Throughout his entire term, including the war years, average unemployment was 13%. Total employment during Roosevelt's term expanded by 18.31 million jobs, with an average annual increase in jobs during his administration of 5.3%.

Roosevelt did not raise income taxes before World War II began; however payroll taxes were also introduced to fund the new Social Security program in 1937. He also got Congress to spend more on many various programs and projects never before seen in American history. However, under the revenue pressures brought on by the depression, most states added or increased taxes, including sales as well as income taxes. Roosevelt's proposal for new taxes on corporate savings were highly controversial in 1936–37, and were rejected by Congress. During the war he pushed for even higher income tax rates for individuals (reaching a marginal tax rate of 91%) and corporations and a cap on high salaries for executives. To fund the war, Congress broadened the base so that almost every employee paid federal income taxes, and introduced withholding taxes in 1943.

GDP in United States January 1929 to January 1941
Unemployment (% labor force) 

Foreign policy, 1933–37

The rejection of the League of Nations treaty in 1919 marked the dominance of isolationism from world organizations in American foreign policy. Despite Roosevelt's Wilsonian background, he and Secretary of State Cordell Hull acted with great care not to provoke isolationist sentiment. Roosevelt's "bombshell" message to the world monetary conference in 1933 effectively ended any major efforts by the world powers to collaborate on ending the worldwide depression, and allowed Roosevelt a free hand in economic policy.

The main foreign policy initiative of Roosevelt's first term was the Good Neighbor Policy, which was a re-evaluation of U.S. policy towards Latin America. Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, this area had been seen as an American sphere of influence. American forces were withdrawn from Haitimarker, and new treaties with Cubamarker and Panamamarker ended their status as United States protectorates. In December 1933, Roosevelt signed the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, renouncing the right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of Latin American countries.

Landslide re-election, 1936

In the 1936 presidential election, Roosevelt campaigned on his New Deal programs against Kansasmarker Governor Alf Landon, who accepted much of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste. Roosevelt and Garner won 60.8% of the vote and carried every state except Mainemarker and Vermontmarker. The New Deal Democrats won even larger majorities in Congress. Roosevelt was backed by a coalition of voters which included traditional Democrats across the country, small farmers, the "Solid South," Catholics, big city machines, labor unions, northern African Americans, Jews, intellectuals and political liberals. This coalition, frequently referred to as the New Deal coalition, remained largely intact for the Democratic Party until the 1960s.

Second term, 1937–1941

In dramatic contrast to the first term, very little major legislation was passed in the second term. There was a United States Housing Authority (1937), a second Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which created the minimum wage. When the economy began to deteriorate again in late 1937, Roosevelt responded with an aggressive program of stimulation, asking Congress for $5 billion for WPA relief and public works. This managed to eventually create a peak of 3.3 million WPA jobs by 1938.

The Supreme Courtmarker was the main obstacle to Roosevelt's programs during his second term, overturning many of his programs. In particular in 1935 the Court unanimously ruled that the National Recovery Act (NRA) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the president. Roosevelt stunned Congress in early 1937 by proposing a law allowing him to appoint five new justices, a "persistent infusion of new blood." This "court packing" plan ran into intense political opposition from his own party, led by Vice President Garner, since it seemed to upset the separation of powers and give the President control over the Court. Roosevelt's proposals were defeated. The Court also drew back from confrontation with the administration by finding the Labor Relations and Social Security Acts to be constitutional. Deaths and retirements on the Supreme Court soon allowed Roosevelt to make his own appointments to the bench with little controversy. Between 1937 and 1941, he appointed eight justices to the court.

Roosevelt had massive support from the rapidly growing labor unions, but now they split into bitterly feuding AFL and CIO factions, the latter led by John L. Lewis. Roosevelt pronounced a "plague on both your houses," but the disunity weakened the party in the elections from 1938 through 1946.

Determined to overcome the opposition of conservative Democrats in Congress (mostly from the South), Roosevelt involved himself in the 1938 Democratic primaries, actively campaigning for challengers who were more supportive of New Deal reform. His targets denounced Roosevelt for trying to take over the Democratic party and used the argument that they were independent to win reelection. Roosevelt failed badly, managing to defeat only one target, a conservative Democrat from New York City.

In the November 1938 election, Democrats lost six Senate seats and 71 House seats. Losses were concentrated among pro-New Deal Democrats. When Congress reconvened in 1939, Republicans under Senator Robert Taft formed a Conservative coalition with Southern Democrats, virtually ending Roosevelt's ability to get his domestic proposals enacted into law. The minimum wage law of 1938 was the last substantial New Deal reform act passed by Congress.

Foreign policy, 1937–1941

The rise to power of dictator Adolf Hitler in Germany aroused fears of a new world war. In 1935, at the time of Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, Congress passed the Neutrality Act, applying a mandatory ban on the shipment of arms from the U.S. to any combatant nation. Roosevelt opposed the act because it penalized the victims of aggression such as Ethiopia, and that it restricted his right as President to assist friendly countries, but public support was overwhelming so he signed it. In 1937, Congress passed an even more stringent act, but when the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, public opinion favored Chinamarker, and Roosevelt found various ways to assist that nation.

In October 1937, he gave the Quarantine Speech aiming to contain aggressor nations. He proposed that warmongering states be treated as a public health menace and be "quarantined." Meanwhile he secretly stepped up a program to build long range submarines that could blockade Japan.

In May 1938, there occurred a failed coup by the fascist Integralista movement in Brazilmarker. After the failed coup, the Brazilian government claimed that the German Ambassador, Dr. Karl Ritter had been involved in the coup attempt and declared him persona non grata. The Brazilian allegation of German support for the Integralista coup had a galvanizing effect on the Roosevelt administration as it led to fears that German ambitions were not confined to Europe, but rather to the whole world. This in turn led the Roosevelt administration to change its previous view of the Nazi regime as an unpleasant regime that was however basically not an American problem.

On September 4, 1938 in the midst of the great crisis in Europe that was to culminate in the Munich Agreement, during the unveiling of a plaque in France honoring Franco-American friendship, the American Ambassador, and close friend of Roosevelt’s William C. Bullitt stated that "France and the United States were united in war and peace," leading to much speculation in the press that if war did break over Czechoslovakiamarker, then the United States would join the war on the Allied side. Roosevelt disavowed this interpretation of Bullitt’s remarks in a press conference on September 9, stating it was “100% wrong”, and that the U.S. would not join a “stop-Hitler bloc” under any circumstances, and he made it quite clear in the event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, the U.S. would remain neutral. Upon Neville Chamberlain’s return to London from the Munich Conference, Roosevelt sent him a two word telegram reading “Good Man”, which has been the subject of much debate, with the majority opinion arguing that the telegram was meant to be congratulatory with the minority opinion opposing that interpretation.

In October 1938, Roosevelt opened secret talks with the French on how to bypass American neutrality laws and allowed the French to buy American aircraft to make up for productivity deficiencies in the French aircraft industry. The French Premier Édouard Daladier commented in October 1938 that "If I had three or four thousand aircraft Munich would never have happened", and was most anxious to buy American war planes as the only way of strengthening the French Air Force. A major problem in the Franco-American talks was how the French were to pay for the American planes, and how to bypass the American neutrality acts In addition, the American Johnson Act of 1934 which forbade loans to the nations that had defaulted on their World War I debts was a further complicating factor (France had defaulted on its World War I debts in 1932). In February 1939, the French offered to cede their possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific together with a lump sum payment of ten billion francs, in exchange for the unlimited right to buy on credit American aircraft. After torturous negotiations, an arrangement was worked out in the spring of 1939 allowing the French to place huge orders with the American aircraft industry; though most of the aircraft ordered had not arrived in France by 1940, Roosevelt arranged for French orders to be diverted to the British.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Roosevelt rejected the Wilsonian neutrality stance and sought ways to assist Britain and France militarily. He began a regular secret correspondence with the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill in September 1939 discussing ways of supporting Britain. Roosevelt forged a close personal relationship with Churchill, who became Prime Minister of the UK in May 1940.

In April 1940 Germany invaded Denmarkmarker and Norwaymarker, followed by invasions of the Netherlandsmarker, Belgiummarker, Luxembourgmarker, and France in May. The German victories in Western Europe left Britain vulnerable to invasion. Roosevelt, who was determined that Britain not be defeated, took advantage of the rapid shifts of public opinion. The fall of Parismarker shocked American opinion, and isolationist sentiment declined. A consensus was clear that military spending had to be dramatically expanded. There was no consensus on how much the U.S. should risk war in helping Britain. In July 1940, FDR appointed two interventionist Republican leaders, Henry L. Stimson and Frank Knox, as Secretaries of War and the Navy respectively. Both parties gave support to his plans to rapidly build up the American military, but the isolationists warned that Roosevelt would get the nation into an unnecessary war with Germany. He successfully urged Congress to enact the first peacetime draft in United States history in 1940 (it was renewed in 1941 by one vote in Congress). Roosevelt was supported by the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and opposed by the America First Committee.

Roosevelt used his personal charisma to build support for intervention. America should be the "Arsenal of Democracy," he told his fireside audience. On September 2, 1940, Roosevelt openly defied the Neutrality Acts by passing the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, which gave 50 American destroyers to Britain in exchange for military base rights in the British Caribbean Islands and Newfoundland. This was a precursor of the March 1941 Lend-Lease agreement which began to direct massive military and economic aid to Britain, the Republic of Chinamarker, and later the Soviet Union. For foreign policy advice, Roosevelt turned to Harry Hopkins, who became his chief wartime advisor. They sought innovative ways to help Britain, whose financial resources were exhausted by the end of 1940. Congress, where isolationist sentiment was in retreat, passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, allowing the U.S. to give Britain, China and later the Soviet Unionmarker military supplies. Congress voted to commit to spend $50 billion on military supplies from 1941–45. In sharp contrast to the loans of World War I, there would be no repayment after the war. Roosevelt was a lifelong free trader and anti-imperialist, and ending European colonialism was one of his objectives.

Election of 1940

The two-term tradition had been an unwritten rule (until the 22nd Amendment after his presidency) since George Washington declined to run for a third term in 1796, and both Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt were attacked for trying to obtain a third non-consecutive term. FDR systematically undercut prominent Democrats who were angling for the nomination, including two cabinet members, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and James Farley, Roosevelt's campaign manager in 1932 and 1936, Postmaster General and Democratic Party chairman. Roosevelt moved the convention to Chicago where he had strong support from the city machine (which controlled the auditorium sound system). At the convention the opposition was poorly organized but Farley had packed the galleries. Roosevelt sent a message saying that he would not run, unless he was drafted, and that the delegates were free to vote for anyone. The delegates were stunned; then the loudspeaker screamed "We want Roosevelt... The world wants Roosevelt!" The delegates went wild and he was nominated by 946 to 147. The new vice presidential nominee was Henry A. Wallace, the liberal intellectual who was Secretary of Agriculture.

In his campaign against Republican Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt stressed both his proven leadership experience and his intention to do everything possible to keep the United States out of war. He won the 1940 election with 55% of the popular vote and 38 of the 48 states. A shift to the left within the Administration was shown by the naming of Henry A. Wallace as Vice President in place of the conservative Texan John Nance Garner, who had become a bitter enemy of Roosevelt after 1937.

Third term, 1941–1945


's third term was dominated by World War II, in Europe and in the Pacific. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938 since he was facing strong isolationist sentiment from leaders like Senators William Borah and Robert Taft who supported re-armament. By 1940, it was in high gear, with bipartisan support, partly to expand and re-equip the United States Army and Navy and partly to become the "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting the United Kingdom, French Third Republic, the Republic of China and (after June 1941), the Soviet Unionmarker. As Roosevelt took a firmer stance against the Axis Powers, American isolationists—including Charles Lindbergh and America First—attacked the President as an irresponsible warmonger. Unfazed by these criticisms and confident in the wisdom of his foreign policy initiatives, FDR continued his twin policies of preparedness and aid to the Allied coalition. On December 29, 1940, he delivered his Arsenal of Democracy fireside chat, in which he made the case for involvement directly to the American people, and a week later he delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech in January 1941, further laying out the case for an American defense of basic rights throughout the world.

The military buildup spurred economic growth. By 1941, unemployment had fallen to under 1 million. There was a growing labor shortage in all the nation's major manufacturing centers, accelerating the Great Migration of African Americans workers from the Southern United States, and of underemployed farmers and workers from all rural areas and small towns. The homefront was subject to dynamic social changes throughout the war, though domestic issues were no longer Roosevelt's most urgent policy concerns.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Roosevelt extended Lend-Lease to the Soviets. During 1941, Roosevelt also agreed that the U.S. Navy would escort Allied convoys as far east as Great Britainmarker and would fire upon German ships or submarines (U-boats) of the Kriegsmarine if they attacked Allied shipping within the U.S. Navy zone. Moreover, by 1941, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers were secretly ferrying British fighter planes between the UK and the Mediterranean war zones, and the British Royal Navy was receiving supply and repair assistance at American naval bases in the United States.

Thus, by mid-1941, Roosevelt had committed the U.S. to the Allied side with a policy of "all aid short of war." Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on August 14, 1941, to develop the Atlantic Charter in what was to be the first of several wartime conferences. In July 1941, Roosevelt ordered Henry Stimson, Secretary of War to begin planning for total American military involvement. The resulting "Victory Program," under the direction of Albert Wedemeyer, provided the President with the estimates necessary for the total mobilization of manpower, industry, and logistics to defeat the "potential enemies" of the United States. The program also planned to dramatically increase aid to the Allied nations and to have ten million men in arms, half of whom would be ready for deployment abroad in 1943. Roosevelt was firmly committed to the Allied cause and these plans had been formulated before the Attack on Pearl Harbormarker by the Empire of Japanmarker.

Pearl Harbor

Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Japan, December 8, 1941.

After Japan occupied northern French Indochina in late 1940, he authorized increased aid to the Republic of Chinamarker. In July 1941, after Japan occupied the remainder of Indo-China, he cut off the sales of oil. Japan thus lost more than 95 percent of its oil supply. Roosevelt continued negotiations with the Japanese government. Meanwhile he started shifting the long-range B-17 bomber force to the Philippinesmarker.

On December 4, 1941, The Chicago Tribune revealed "Rainbow Five," a top-secret war plan drawn up at President Franklin Roosevelt's order. "Rainbow Five" called for a 10-million man army invading Europe in 1943 on the side of Britain and Russia.

On December 6, 1941, President Roosevelt read an intercepted Japanese message and told his assistant Harry Hopkins, "This means war."

Warning was sent to US Army and Naval Commanders in Hawaii, but it was not received in time due to a bureaucratic error. The message was sent via Western Union Telegram to the West Coast and RCA Radio to Honolulu, it's contents in a cipher. This was the standard method of communicating with the Hawaiian Islands at the time when atmospheric conditions prevented direct communications, as was happening on that day. But the message was not marked with any urgent notations, so it was placed in the outgoing que and sent in order received. This was intentional on the part of the Generals in Washington, it was felt that any "urgent" message sent to the commanders in Hawaii might tip off Japanese spies on the West Coast. The plan was to alert the Army and Navy in Hawaii so they could lay a trap for the attacking Japanese. As it was, the message was received at Navy Headquarters from long after the attack had concluded.

From the record of the Congressional Hearing on Pearl Harbor [1]

After receiving the message Colonel French personally took charge of its dispatch. Learning that the War Department radio had been out of contact with Honolulu since approximately 10:20 a. m. he hereupon immediately decided that the most expeditious manner of getting the message to Hawaii was by commercial facilities; that is, Western Union to San Francisco, thence by commercial radio to Honolulu. The message was filed at the Army signal center at 12:01 a. m. (6:31 a. m., Hawaii); teletype transmission to Western Union completed at 12:17 p. m. (6:47 a. m., Hawaii); received by RCA Honolulu 1:03 p. m. (7:33 a. m., Hawaii); received by signal office, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, at approximately 5:15 p. m. (11:45 a. m., Hawaii) after the attack. It appears that the teletype arrangement between RCA in Honolulu and Fort Shafter was not operating at the particular hour the message was received with the result that it was dispatched by a messenger on a bicycle who was diverted from completing delivery by the first bombing.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S.marker Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbormarker, destroying or damaging 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleships, and killing almost 3000 American military personnel and civilians. In the weeks after the attack the Japanese conquered the Philippinesmarker and the British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia, taking Singaporemarker in February 1942 and advancing through Burmamarker to the borders of British India by May, cutting off the overland supply route to the Republic of China. Antiwar sentiment in the United States evaporated overnight and the country united behind Roosevelt. It is at this time Roosevelt gave the famous "Infamy Speech" in which he said this:"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Despite the wave of anger that swept across the U.S. in the wake of Pearl Harbormarker, Roosevelt decided from the start that the defeat of Nazi Germany had to take priority. On December 11, 1941, this strategic Europe First decision was made easier to implement when Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Roosevelt met with Churchill in late December and planned a broad informal alliance between the U.S., the UK, China and the Soviet Union, with the objectives of halting the German advances in the Soviet Union and in North Africa; launching an invasion of western Europe with the aim of crushing Nazi Germany between two fronts; and saving China and defeating Japan.

Internment of Germans, Japanese and Italians

There was some pressure to intern German Americans and Italian Americans even while the United States declared its neutrality.

After the attack on Pearl Harbormarker by forces of the Japanese Empiremarker, there was growing pressure to imprison Japanese and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast of the United States. This pressure grew due to fears of terrorism, espionage, and/or sabotage. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which imprisoned the "Issei" (first generation of Japanese who immigrated to the US) and their children, "Nisei" (who were US citizens).

After both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy unilaterally declared war on the United States, German Americans and Italian Americans were also interned more widely.

War strategy

The "Big Three" (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin), together with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek cooperated informally in which American and British troops concentrated in the West, Russian troops fought on the Eastern front, and Chinese, British and American troops fought in the Pacific. The Allies formulated strategy in a series of high profile conferences as well as contact through diplomatic and military channels. Roosevelt guaranteed that the U.S. would be the "Arsenal of Democracy" by shipping $50 billion of Lend Lease supplies, primarily to Britain and to the USSR, China and other Allies.

Roosevelt acknowledged that the U.S. had a traditional antipathy towards the British Empire. In One Christmas in Washington, a dinner meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill is described, in which Roosevelt is quoted as saying:
"It's in the American tradition, this distrust, this dislike and even hatred of Britain– the Revolution, you know, and 1812; and India and the Boer War, and all that. There are many kinds of Americans of course, but as a people, as a country, we're opposed to Imperialism—we can't stomach it."

Officials in the U.S. War Department believed that the quickest way to defeat Germany was to invade France across the English Channel. Churchill, wary of the casualties he feared this would entail, favored a more indirect approach, advancing northwards from the Mediterranean Seamarker. Roosevelt rejected this plan. Stalin advocated opening a Western front at the earliest possible time, as the bulk of the land fighting in 1942–44 was on Soviet soil.

The Allies undertook the invasions of French Moroccomarker and Algeriamarker (Operation Torchmarker) in November 1942, of Sicily (Operation Husky) in July 1943, and of Italy (Operation Avalanche) in September 1943. The strategic bombing campaign was escalated in 1944, pulverizing all major German cities and cutting off oil supplies. It was a 50-50 British-American operation. Roosevelt picked Dwight D. Eisenhower, and not George Marshall, to head the Allied cross-channel invasion, Operation Overlord that began on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Some of the most costly battles of the war ensued after the invasion, and the Allies were blocked on the German border in the "Battle of the Bulge" in December 1944. When Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Berlin.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, the Japanese advance reached its maximum extent by June 1942, when the U.S. Navy scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Midwaymarker. American and Australian forces then began a slow and costly progress called island hopping or leapfrogging through the Pacific Islands, with the objective of gaining bases from which strategic airpower could be brought to bear on Japan and from which Japan could ultimately be invaded. Roosevelt gave way in part to insistent demands from the public and Congress that more effort be devoted against Japan; he always insisted on Germany first.

Post-war planning

By late 1943, it was apparent that the Allies would ultimately defeat Nazi Germany, and it became increasingly important to make high-level political decisions about the course of the war and the postwar future of Europe. Roosevelt met with Churchill and the Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek at the Cairo Conference in November 1943, and then went to Tehranmarker to confer with Churchill and Stalin. While Churchill viewed Stalin as a tyrant, when warned of potential domination by a Stalin dictatorship over part of Europe, Roosevelt responded with a statement summarizing his rationale for relations with Stalin: "I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. . . . I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace." At the Tehran Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill told Stalin about the plan to invade France in 1944, and Roosevelt also discussed his plans for a postwar international organization. For his part, Stalin insisted on the redrawing the frontiers of Poland. Stalin supported Roosevelt's plan for the United Nations and promised to enter the war against Japan 90 days after Germany was defeated.

By the beginning of 1945, however, with the Allied armies advancing into Germany and the Soviets in control of Poland, the issues had to come out into the open. In February, Roosevelt, despite his steadily deteriorating health, traveled to Yaltamarker, in the Soviet Crimeamarker, to meet again with Stalin and Churchill. While Roosevelt maintained his confidence that Stalin would keep his Yalta promises regarding free elections in eastern Europe, one month after Yalta ended, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averill Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it." Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right." Americans of Eastern European descent criticized the Yalta Conferencemarker for failing to curtail the Soviets' formation of the Eastern Bloc. Regarding earlier wartime decisions, a desire to maintain a good working relationship with Stalin during the war may have been a factor in Roosevelt's reluctance to agree with Churchill's proposal to aid the Poles in the Warsaw Uprising against Stalin's wishes and suppressing a report by George Earle that assigned responsibility for the Katyń Massacremarker to the Soviets.

Election of 1944

Roosevelt, who turned 62 in 1944, had been in declining health since at least 1940. The strain of his paralysis and the physical exertion needed to compensate for it for over 20 years had taken their toll, as had many years of stress and a lifetime of chain-smoking. By this time, Roosevelt had numerous ailments including chronic high blood pressure, emphysema, systemic atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease with angina pectoris, and myopathic hypertensive heart disease with congestive heart failure. Dr. Emanuel Libman, then an assistant pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, reacting to Roosevelt's appearance in newsreels, remarked in 1944 that "It doesn't matter whether Roosevelt is re-elected or not, he'll die of a cerebral hemorrhage within 6 months" (which he did, five months later).

Aware of the risk that Roosevelt would die during his fourth term, the party regulars insisted that Henry A. Wallace, who was seen as too pro-Soviet, be dropped as Vice President. After considering James F. Byrnes of South Carolinamarker, and being turned down by Indianamarker Governor Henry F. Schricker, Roosevelt replaced Wallace with the little-known Senator Harry S. Truman. In the 1944 election, Roosevelt and Truman won 53% of the vote and carried 36 states, against New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.

Fourth term and death, 1945

Last days, death and memorial

The President left the Yalta Conferencemarker on February 12, 1945, and flew to Egypt and boarded the USS Quincy operating on the Great Bitter Lakemarker near the Suez Canalmarker. Aboard Quincy, the next day he met with Farouk I, king of Egyptmarker, and Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopiamarker. On February 14, he held a historic meeting with King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabiamarker, a meeting which holds profound significance in U.S.-Saudi relations even today. After a final meeting between Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Quincy steamed for Algiersmarker, arriving February 18, at which time Roosevelt conferred with American ambassadors to Britain, France and Italy. At Yalta, Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's physician, commented on Roosevelt's ill health: "He is a very sick man. He has all the symptoms of hardening of the arteries of the brain in an advanced stage, so that I give him only a few months to live".

When he returned to the United States, he addressed Congress on March 1 about the Yalta Conference, and many were shocked to see how old, thin and frail he looked. He spoke while seated in the well of the House, an unprecedented concession to his physical incapacity. (He opened his speech by saying, "I hope that you will pardon me for this unusual posture of sitting down during the presentation of what I want to say, makes it a lot easier for me not to have to carry about ten pounds of steel around on the bottom of my legs." This was his only public mention of his disability.) But mentally he was still in full command. "The Crimean Conference," he said firmly, "ought to spell the end of a system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balances of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries– and have always failed. We propose to substitute for all these, a universal organization in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a chance to join."

During March 1945, he sent strongly worded messages to Stalin accusing him of breaking his Yalta commitments over Poland, Germany, prisoners of war and other issues. When Stalin accused the western Allies of plotting a separate peace with Hitler behind his back, Roosevelt replied: "I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment towards your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates."

On March 29, 1945, Roosevelt went to Warm Springsmarker to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations. On the afternoon of April 12, Roosevelt said, "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head." He then slumped forward in his chair, unconscious, and was carried into his bedroom. The president's attending cardiologist, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed a massive cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). At 3:35 p.m. that day, Roosevelt died. As Allen Drury later said, “so ended an era, and so began another.” After Roosevelt's death an editorial by The New York Times declared, "Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House". News of Roosevelt's final words were intentionally misinterpreted in Japan for propaganda purposes as "Oh, what a terrible thing I have done!"

At the time he collapsed, Roosevelt had been sitting for a portrait painting by the artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, known as the famous Unfinished Portrait of FDR.
Roosevelt's horse-drawn casket during his Pennsylvania Avenue funeral procession.

In his later years at the White House, Roosevelt was increasingly overworked and his daughter Anna Roosevelt Boettiger had moved in to provide her father companionship and support. Anna had also arranged for her father to meet with his former mistress, the now widowed Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Shoumatoff, who maintained close friendships with both Roosevelt and Mercer, rushed Mercer away to avoid negative publicity and implications of infidelity. When Eleanor heard about her husband's death, she was also faced with the news that Anna had been arranging these meetings with Mercer and that Mercer had been with Franklin when he died.

On the morning of April 13, Roosevelt's body was placed in a flag-draped coffin and loaded onto the presidential train. After a White House funeral on April 14, Roosevelt was transported back to Hyde Park by train, guarded by four servicemen from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. As was his wish, Roosevelt was buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estatemarker, the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park on April 15. After her death in November 1962, Eleanor was buried next to him.

Roosevelt's death was met with shock and grief across the U.S. and around the world. His declining health had not been known to the general public. Roosevelt had been president for more than 12 years, longer than any other person, and had led the country through some of its greatest crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and to within sight of the defeat of Japan as well.

Less than a month after his death, on May 8, came the moment Roosevelt fought for: V-E Day. President Harry Truman, who turned 61 that day, dedicated V-E Day and its celebrations to Roosevelt's memory, paying tribute to his commitment to ending the war in Europe. He also kept flags across the U.S. at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period, again to pay tribute to Roosevelt's commitment to ending the war in Europe.

Civil rights issues

Roosevelt's record on civil rights has been the subject of much controversy. He was a hero to large minority groups, especially African-Americans, Catholics, and Jews, and was highly successful in attracting large majorities of these groups into his New Deal coalition. African-Americans and Native American fared well in the New Deal relief programs, although they were not allowed to hold significant leadership roles in the WPA and CCC. Roosevelt needed the support of Southern Democrats for his New Deal programs, and he therefore decided not to push for anti-lynching legislation that might threaten his ability to pass his highest priority programs - though he did denounce lynchings as "a vile form of collective murder".

In terms of the New Deal, economic and regulatory policies favored White Americans and placed hardships over African Americans. The New Deal threw African Americans out of work, raised the price of food during the depths of the Depression, and granted monopoly bargaining powers to racist unions. According to one historian, Jim Powell, "Black people were among the major victims of the New Deal."

Another historian, Kevin J. McMahon, however, claims that strides were made for the civil rights of African Americans. In Roosevelt's Justice Department, the Civil Rights Section worked closely with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Roosevelt worked with other civil rights groups on cases dealing with police brutality, lynching, and voting rights abuses. It is argued that these actions sent a powerful message to white supremacists in the South and their political allies in Washington.

Beginning in the 1960s he was charged with not acting decisively enough to prevent or stop the Holocaust. Critics cite episodes such as when, in 1939, the 936 Jewish refugees on board the SS St. Louis were denied asylum and not allowed into the United States.

Roosevelt was unwilling to desegregate the armed forces, but commented that de-facto integration would be "backed into" in time of war due to the constant shifting of troops. However, on June 25, 1941, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, forbidding discrimination on account of "race, creed, color, or national origin" in the hiring of workers in defense related industries.
Then, on February 19, 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that applied to everyone, including U.S. citizens, residing in the United States classified as an "enemy alien". Under the order, thousands of Japanese, Italians, and Germans residing in the United States were arrested. The order to the Secretary of War stated, "to designate military areas from which any or all persons may be excluded". Internment camps and restriction zones were created all over the United States. It has been estimated that 600,000 Italian-Americans were subjected to strict travel restrictions and seizure of their personal property. It is estimated that 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes along with farms, schools, jobs, and businesses. In some cases family members were separated. From 1942 to 1945, they lived in internment prison camps. The Japanese, adults and children, were forced to live in bleak, remote camps behind barbed wire and under the surveillance of armed guards. FDR is quoted as saying, "In the days to come, I won’t trust the Japs around the corner", referring to Japanese residing inside the United States.

Administration, Cabinet, and Supreme Court appointments 1933–1945

The FDR Cabinet
President Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933–1945
Vice President John Nance Garner 1933–1941
Henry A. Wallace 1941–1945
Harry S. Truman 1945
State Cordell Hull 1933–1944
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. 1944–1945
War George H. Dern 1933–1936
Harry H. Woodring 1936–1940
Henry L. Stimson 1940–1945
Treasury William H. Woodin 1933–1934
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. 1934–1945
Justice Homer S. Cummings 1933–1939
Frank Murphy 1939–1940
Robert H. Jackson 1940–1941
Francis B. Biddle 1941–1945
Post James A. Farley 1933–1940
Frank C. Walker 1940–1945
Navy Claude A. Swanson 1933–1939
Charles Edison 1940
Frank Knox 1940–1944
James V. Forrestal 1944–1945
Interior Harold L. Ickes 1933–1945
Agriculture Henry A. Wallace 1933–1940
Claude R. Wickard 1940–1945
Commerce Daniel C. Roper 1933–1938
Harry L. Hopkins 1939–1940
Jesse H. Jones 1940–1945
Henry A. Wallace 1945
Labor Frances C. Perkins 1933–1945

Official White House portrait of Franklin D.

President Roosevelt appointed eight Justices to the Supreme Court of the United Statesmarker, more than any other President except George Washington, who appointed ten. By 1941, eight of the nine Justices were Roosevelt appointees. Harlan Fiske Stone was elevated to Chief Justice from the position of Associate Justice by Roosevelt.

Roosevelt's appointees would not share ideologies, and some, like Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter, would become "lifelong adversaries." Frankfurter even labeled his more liberal colleagues Rutledge, Murphy, Black, and Douglas as part of an "Axis" of opposition to his judicially conservative agenda.


[[Image:FDR Memorial wall.jpg|thumb|The Four Freedoms engraved on a wall at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorialmarkerin Washington]]
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's gravesite in the Rose Garden in their Hyde Park home.

A 1999 survey by C-SPAN found that by a wide margin academic historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Roosevelt the three greatest presidents, consistent with other surveys. Roosevelt is the sixth most admired person from the 20th century by US citizens, according to Gallup.Thomas A. Bailey, Presidential Greatness (1966), a non quantitative appraisal by leading historian;

Degregorio, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. 4th ed. New York: Avenel, 1993. Contains the results of the 1962 and 1982 surveys;

Charles and Richard Faber The American Presidents Ranked by Performance (2000);

Felzenberg, Alvin S. “There You Go Again: Liberal Historians and the New York Times Deny Ronald Reagan His Due,” Policy Review, March—April 1997.;

Melvin G. Holli. The American Mayor: The Best & the Worst Big-City Leaders (1999);

Miller, Nathan. Star-Spangled Men America's Ten Worst Presidents (1999);

Murray, Robert K. and Tim H. Blessing. Greatness in the White House: Rating the Presidents, from Washington Through Ronald Reagan (1994);

Pfiffner, James P. ; "Ranking the Presidents: Continuity and Volatility" White House Studies, Vol. 3, 2003 pp 23+;

Ridings, William J., Jr. and Stuart B. McIver. Rating the Presidents: A Ranking of U.S. leaders, from the Great and Honorable to the Dishonest and Incompetent. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-8065-1799-9.;

Schlesinger, Jr. Arthur M. "Ranking the Presidents: From Washington to Clinton," Political Science Quarterly (1997) 112:179-90;

Skidmore, Max J. Presidential Performance: A Comprehensive Review (2004);

Skidmore, Max J. "Ranking and Evaluating Presidents: The Case of Theodore Roosevelt" White House Studies. Volume: 1. Issue: 4. 2001. pp 495+.;

Taranto, James and Leonard Leo, eds. Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and Worst in the White House. New York: Wall Street Journal Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7432-5433-3, for Federalist Society surveys.;

Vedder, Richard and Gallaway, Lowell, "Rating Presidential Performance" in Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom ed. John V. Denson, Mises Institute, 2001. ISBN 0-945466-29-3

Both during and after his terms, critics of Roosevelt questioned not only his policies and positions, but also the consolidation of power that occurred because of his lengthy tenure as president, his service during two major crises, and his enormous popularity. The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Roosevelt's term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Roosevelt's advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations.

Roosevelt firmly established the United States' leadership role on the world stage, with pronouncements such as his Four Freedoms speech, forming a basis for the active role of the United States in the war and beyond.

After Franklin's death, Eleanor Roosevelt continued to be a forceful presence in U.S. and world politics, serving as delegate to the conference which established the United Nations and championing civil rights. Many members of his administration played leading roles in the administrations of Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, each of whom embraced Roosevelt's political legacy.

Roosevelt's home in Hyde Parkmarker is now a National historic site and home to his Presidential librarymarker. His retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia is a museum operated by the state of Georgia. His summer retreat on Campobello Islandmarker is maintained by the governments of both Canada and the United States as Roosevelt Campobello International Parkmarker; the island is accessible by way of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge.

The Roosevelt Memorialmarker is located in Washington, D.C. next to the Jefferson Memorialmarker on the Tidal Basinmarker, and Roosevelt's image appears on the Roosevelt dime. Many parks and schools, as well as an aircraft carrier and a Paris subway stationmarker and hundreds of streets and squares both across the US and the rest of the world have been named in his honor.

Reflecting on Roosevelt's presidency, "which brought the United States through the Great Depression and World War II to a prosperous future", said FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith in 2007, "He lifted himself from a wheelchair to lift the nation from its knees."

Coat of Arms

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Roosevelt can trace his ancestry to Claes Maartenszen van Rosenvelt, a Dutch burgher whose coat of arms was white with a rosebush with three rose flowers growing upon a grassy mound, and whose crest was of three ostrich feathers divided into red and white halves each. The arms would be modified by Roosevelt to rid of the rosebush and use in it‘s place three crossed roses on their stems.

The arms are in a style of heraldry called canting, which describes a family name pictorially, usually with a pun. The surname van Rosenvelt means "from the rose field" in Dutch, and thus the rosebush and grassy mound are a clear play on words with the name.

Roosevelt made much use of his arms, from decorating christening robes with the family roses, to the use of heraldic bookplates, to signet rings, to full carved displays in the family home. Roosevelt also gave to his wife, Eleanor, a gold pin of the coat of arms as a wedding gift. Also, when King George VI of the United Kingdom made a state visit, Roosevelt had frames decorated with his crest of three ostrich feathers handed out to members of the royal entourage, likely done purposely and in good humour because of the resemblance the Roosevelt crest has to the badge of the Prince of Wales, which also has three ostrich feathers.


The official state car used by Roosevelt was a 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible, known informally as the "Sunshine Special", a reference to the car's convertible roof. Originally created in 1939, the car was the first presidential state car to be specifically built for presidential use, and was leased to the Office of the President by Ford Motor Company for $500 a year. It was a well-known personal favorite of the president, and accompanied him to Yaltamarker, Teheran, Casablanca, and Malta, as well as various domestic trips. The convertible roof, which was famously enjoyed by the president, was most commonly down during parades, and other times it was used as presidential transportation.

The limousine was originally built by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company, and modified by Brunn & Company to U.S. Government specifications. It was powered by a 150hp, 414 cubic inch V12 L-head engine. The limousine was originally equipped with a siren, running lights, and a 2-way radio, as well as extra-wide running boards and grab handles for Secret Service agents. The convertible roof, was designed as a way for Roosevelt to communicate with crowds without leaving the vehicle. The car quickly became known as a favourite of the president, as during the WWII era, it was transported to various locations throughout the world with the president, most commonly when travelling to conferences, and other international, diplomatic meetings.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbormarker, the Secret Service began to express concern with potential assassination attempts against the president, as his limousine then was not armoured and had no protective features. Roosevelt used a heavily armored 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan, which had originally belonged to gangster Al Capone until his Sunshine Special was modified to be capable of protecting him, with armor plating for the doors, bullet-proof tires, inch-thick windows and storage compartments for pistols and sub-machine guns. All the safety modifications increased the car's weight to 9,300 pounds. Despite these precautions, Roosevelt preferred to ride with the top down during parades and at most public gatherings. The car was also fitted with the then-current Lincoln front end in 1942. After Roosevelt’s death in 1945, the Sunshine Special remained in the White House fleet and was used occasionally by President Truman until a new fleet of Lincoln limousines was acquired after the 1948 election. The limousine is now on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michiganmarker.


Collection of video clips of the president

See also



Primary sources

  • Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1951 (1951) full of useful data; online
  • Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 (1976)
  • Cantril, Hadley and Mildred Strunk, eds.; Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (1951), massive compilation of many public opinion polls from USA
  • Gallup, George Horace, ed. The Gallup Poll; Public Opinion, 1935–1971 3 vol (1972) summarizes results of each poll as reported to newspapers.
  • Loewenheim, Francis L. and Harold D. Langley, eds; Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence (1975)
  • Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years (1939), memoir by key Brain Truster
  • Nixon, Edgar B. ed. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs (3 vol 1969), covers 1933–37. 2nd series 1937–39 available on microfiche and in a 14 vol print edition at some academic libraries.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D.; Rosenman, Samuel Irving, ed. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (13 vol, 1938, 1945); public material only (no letters); covers 1928–1945.
  • Zevin, B. D. ed.; Nothing to Fear: The Selected Addresses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1932–1945 (1946) selected speeches
  • Documentary History of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration 20 vol. available in some large academic libraries.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D.; Myron C. Taylor, ed. Wartime Correspondence Between President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII. Prefaces by Pius XII and Harry Truman. Kessinger Publishing (1947, reprinted, 2005). ISBN 1-4191-6654-9


  • Black, Conrad. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, 2003.
  • Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt (1956, 1970), 2 vol; interpretive scholarly biography, emphasis on politics; vol 2 is on war years
  • Coker, Jeffrey W. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Biography. Greenwood, 2005. 172 pp.
  • Freidel, Frank. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny (1990), One-volume scholarly biography; covers entire life
  • Freidel, Frank. Franklin D. Roosevelt (4 vol 1952–73), the most detailed scholarly biography; ends in 1934.
  • Davis, Kenneth S. FDR: The Beckoning of Destiny, 1982–1928 (1972)
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (1995)
  • Jenkins, Roy. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2003) short bio from British perspective
  • Lash, Joseph P. Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers (1971), history of a marriage.
  • Morgan, Ted, FDR: A biography, (1985), a popular biography
  • Ward, Geoffrey C. Before The Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt, 1882–1905 (1985); A First Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, (1992), covers 1905–1932.

Scholarly secondary sources

  • Alter, Jonathan. The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006), popular history
  • Beasley, Maurine, et al. eds. The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (2001) online
  • Bellush, Bernard; Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York (1955) online
  • Graham, Otis L. and Meghan Robinson Wander, eds. Franklin D. Roosevelt: His Life and Times. (1985). encyclopedia
  • Kennedy, David M. Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945. (1999), wide-ranging survey of national affairs
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932–1940. (1963). A standard interpretive history of era.
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman (2001), his long-term influence
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. "Showdown on the Court." Smithsonian 2005 36(2): 106–113. Issn: 0037-7333 Fulltext: at Ebsco
  • McMahon, Kevin J. Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown. U. of Chicago Press, 2004. 298 pp.
  • Parmet, Herbert S. and Marie B. Hecht; Never Again: A President Runs for a Third Term (1968) on 1940 election
  • Ritchie, Donald A,; Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932 U. Press of Kansas, 2007.
  • Rosen, Elliot A. Roosevelt, the Great Depression, and the Economics of Recovery. U. Press of Virginia, 2005. 308 pp.
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr., The Age of Roosevelt, 3 vols, (1957–1960), the classic narrative history. Strongly supports FDR. Online at vol 2 vol 3
  • Shaw, Stephen K.; Pederson, William D.; and Williams, Frank J., eds. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Transformation of the Supreme Court. Sharpe, 2004.
  • Sitkoff, Harvard, ed. Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated (1985)

Foreign policy and World War II

  • Beschloss, Michael R. The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941–1945 (2002).
  • Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom (1970), vol 2 covers the war years.
  • Wayne S. Cole, "American Entry into World War II: A Historiographical Appraisal," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Mar., 1957), pp. 595–617.
  • Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945 (2nd ed. 1995) broad survey of foreign policy
  • Glantz, Mary E. FDR and the Soviet Union: The President's Battles over Foreign Policy. U. Press of Kansas, 2005. 253 pp.
  • Heinrichs, Waldo. Threshold of War. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (1988).
  • Kimball, Warren. The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as World Statesman (1991)
  • Langer, William and S. Everett Gleason. The Challenge to Isolation, 1937–1940 (1952). The Undeclared War, 1940–1941 (1953). highly influential two-volume semi-official history
  • Larrabee, Eric. Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War. History of how FDR handled the war
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994). Overall history of the war; strong on diplomacy of FDR and other main leaders
  • Woods, Randall Bennett. A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946 (1990)


  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Its Aftermath (1953). "revisionist" blames FDR for inciting Japan to attack.
  • Best, Gary Dean. The Retreat from Liberalism: Collectivists versus Progressives in the New Deal Years (2002) criticizes intellectuals who supported FDR
  • Best, Gary Dean. Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933–1938 Praeger Publishers. 1991; summarizes newspaper editorials
  • Conkin, Paul K. New Deal (1975), critique from the left
  • Doenecke, Justus D. and Stoler, Mark A. Debating Franklin D. Roosevelt's Foreign Policies, 1933–1945. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 248 pp.
  • Flynn, John T. The Roosevelt Myth (1948), former FDR supporter condemns all aspects of FDR
  • Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years (1939) insider memoir by Brain Truster who became conservative
  • Russett, Bruce M. No Clear and Present Danger: A Skeptical View of the United States Entry into World War II 2nd ed. (1997) says US should have let USSR and Germany destroy each other
  • Plaud, Joseph J. Historical Perspectives on Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Foreign Policy, and the Holocaust (2005). Archived at the FDR American Heritage Center Museum Website
  • Powell, Jim. FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression. (2003) ISBN 0761501657
  • Robinson, Greg. By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (2001) says FDR's racism was primarily to blame.
  • Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933–1939 (2006) compares populist and paternalist features
  • Smiley, Gene. Rethinking the Great Depression (1993) short essay by economist who blames both Hoover and FDR
  • Wyman, David S. The Abandonment Of The Jews: America and the Holocaust Pantheon Books, 1984. Attacks Roosevelt for passive complicity in allowing Holocaust to happen

FDR's rhetoric

  • Braden, Waldo W., and Earnest Brandenburg. "Roosevelt's Fireside Chats." Communication Monographs' 22 (1955): 290–302.
  • Buhite, Russell D. and David W. Levy, eds. FDR's Fireside Chats (1993)
  • Craig, Douglas B. Fireside Politics: Radio and Political Culture in the United States, 1920–1940 (2005)
  • Crowell, Laura. "Building the "Four Freedoms" Speech." Communication Monographs 22 (1952): 266–283.
  • Crowell, Laura. "Franklin D. Roosevelt's Audience Persuasion in the 1936 Campaign." Communication Monographs 17 (1950): 48–64
  • Houck, Davis W. F. D. R. and Fear Itself: The First Inaugural Address. Texas A&M UP, 2002.
  • Houck, Davis W. Rhetoric as Currency: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Great Depression. Texas A&M UP, 2001.
  • Ryan, Halford Ross. "Roosevelt's First Inaugural: A Study of Technique." Quarterly Journal of Speech 65 (1979): 137–149.
  • Ryan, Halford Ross. Franklin D. Roosevelt's Rhetorical Presidency. Greenwood Press, 1988.
  • Stelzner, Hermann G. "'War Message,' December 8, 1941: An Approach to Language." Communication Monographs 33 (1966): 419–437.

External links

Speeches and quotations: audio and transcripts


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