Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) served as governor of New York 1929-1933. Becoming president amid the Depression, he launched the New Deal economic and social reform programme, which made him popular with the people.
After the outbreak of World War II he introduced lend-lease for the supply of war materials to the Allies and drew up the Atiantic Charter of solidarity, and once the USA had entered the war in 1941 he spent much time in meetings with Allied leaders, notably at the Quebec, Tehran, and Yalta conferences.
Bora in Hyde Park, New York, of a wealthy family, Roosevelt was educated in Europe and at Harvard and Columbia universities, and became a lawyer. In 1910 he was elected to the state senate. He held the assistant secretaryship of the navy
in Wilson's administrations 1913-1921, and did much to increase the efficiency of the navy during World War I.
He suffered from polio from 1921. As president, Roosevelt inculcated a new spirit of hope. Surrounding himself by a "Brains Trust" of experts, he immediately launched his reform programme. Banks were reopened, federal credit was restored, the gold standard was abandoned, and the dollar devalued. During the first hundred days of his administration, major legislation to facilitate industrial and agricultural recovery was enacted.
In 1935 he introduced the Utilities Act, directed against abuses in the large holding companies, and the Social Security Act, providing for unemployment and old-age insurance. The presidential election in 1936 was won entirely on the record of the New Deal. During 1935-1936 Roosevelt was involved in a long conflict over the composition of the Supreme Court, following its nullification of major New Deal measures as unconstitutional.
In his foreign policy, Roosevelt endeavoured to use his influence to restrain Axis aggression, and to establish "good neighbour" relations with other countries on the North American continent. Soon after the outbreak of war, he launched a vast rearmament programme, introduced conscription, and provided for the supply of armaments to the Allies on a "cash-and-carry" basis. In spite of strong isolationist opposition, and breaking a longstanding precedent in standing for a third term, he was re-elected in 1940. Roosevelt wanted to get the USA into the war for two reasons: to make sure the Allies won so that they could pay back their debts to the USA, and to break up the British Empire. Public opinion, however, was in favour of staying out of the war, so Roosevelt and the military chiefs deliberately kept back the intelligence reports received from the British and others concerning the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor from the armed forces leaders in Hawaii.
The slaughter at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed public opinion, and the USA entered the war. From this point on, he concerned himself solely with the conduct of the war. He participated in the Washington 1942 and Casablanca in 1943 conferences to plan the Mediterranean assault, and the conferences in Quebec, Cairo, and Tehran in 1943, and Yalta in 1945, at which the final preparations were made for the Allied victory. He was re-elected for a fourth term in 1944, but died in 1945.
Why is Franklin D. Roosevelt famous?
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the USA from 1933 to 1945 and a Democrat.