Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only U.S. president to be elected four times. He led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II.
Born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 32nd U.S. president in 1933, and was the only president to be elected four times. Roosevelt led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II, and greatly expanded the powers of the federal government through a series of programs and reforms known as the New Deal.
The New Deal
The Great Depression in the United States began on October 29, 1929, a day known forever after as “Black Tuesday,” when the American stock market–which had been roaring steadily upward for almost a decade–crashed, plunging the country into its most severe economic downturn yet. Speculators lost their shirts; banks failed; the nation’s money supply diminished; and companies went bankrupt and began to fire their workers in droves.
When President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, he acted swiftly to try and stabilize the economy and provide jobs and relief to those who were suffering. Over the next eight years, the government instituted a series of experimental projects an
d programs, known collectively as the New Deal, that aimed to restore some measure of dignity and prosperity to many Americans. More than that, Roosevelt’s New Deal permanently changed the federal government’s relationship to the U.S. populace.
The New Deal
was the largest, most expensive government programme in the history of the American presidency and transformed America’s
The Intervention to save Europe
Early in 1940, Roosevelt had not publically announced that he would run for an unprecedented third term as president. But privately, with Germany’s victories in Europe and Japan’s growing dominance in Asia, he felt that only he had the experience and skills to lead America in such trying times. At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Roosevelt swept aside all challengers and received the nomination. In November 1940, he won the presidential election against Republican Wendell Willkie.
During 1941, Franklin Roosevelt pushed to have the United States’ factories become an “arsenal of democracy” for the Allies—France, Britain, and Russia. As Americans learned more about the war’s atrocities, isolationist sentiment diminished. Roosevelt took advantage, standing firm against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. Bipartisan support in Congress expanded the Army and Navy and increased the flow of supplies to the Allies. Hopes of keeping the United States out of war ended with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt was a commander in chief who worked with and sometimes around his military advisors. He helped develop a strategy for defeating Germany in Europe through a series of invasions, first in North Africa in November 1942, then Sicily and Italy in 1943, followed by the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944. At the same time, Allied forces rolled back Japan in Asia and the eastern Pacific. During this time, Roosevelt also promoted the formation of the United Nations.