Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lydia Roberson and Braden Creel

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known by his initials FDR, was the 32nd president of the United States (1933–1945). He served for 12 years and four terms, and was the only president ever to serve more than eight years. He was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. A dominant leader of the Democratic Party, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his New Deal domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century.

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Background-Roosevelt's strong base in the most populous state made him an obvious candidate for the Democratic nomination, which was hotly contested in light of incumbent Herbert Hoover's vulnerability. 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 Texas leader John Nance Garner announced his support of FDR, he was given the vice-presidential nomination.

In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt declared, "I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms." 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.

Interesting facts- Franklin Roosevelt was related to 11 other presidents.By blood or marriage, he was related to 11 other former presidents: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grang, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft and, of course, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR's fifth cousin. Roosevelt's famous family tree doesn't end at the White House. He was also reportedly related to several other historic figures, including Winston Churchill, Douglas MacArthur, and two famed Confederate leaders: Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Another Interesting fact is the Roosevelts met famed aviator Amelia Earhart at a White House state dinner in April 1933, and she and the first lady quickly hit it off. Near the end of the night, Amelia offered to take Eleanor on a private flight, that night if she wanted to. Eleanor agreed, and the two women snuck away from the White House (still in evening clothes), commandeered an aircraft and flew from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. After their nighttime flight, Eleanor got her students’ permit, and Earhart promised to give her lessons. When Earhart went missing in 1937, both Roosevelts were shocked by the news. Franklin immediately authorized a massive search effort covering more than 250,000 square miles of the Pacific and costing more $4 million. However, Earhart was never found, and Eleanor Roosevelt never got her flying lessons.

Legacy-F.D.R. appreciated the irony that it was the Depression that made it possible for him to realize those larger objectives. It would be too much to say that he deliberately prolonged the crisis to preserve the possibilities for reform. But he candidly acknowledged the relationship between peril and progress in his second Inaugural Address, on Jan. 20, 1937.

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