"Be sincere, be brief, be seated." Franklin D Roosevelt.
Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York, Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910 as a Democrat, and was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920 (which, incidentally, was the first election in which women were allowed to vote). The Cox/Roosevelt ticket lost to Warren G Harding & Calvin Coolidge.
In the summer of 1921, at the age of 39, he was stricken by polio. Determined to regain the use of his legs he spent some years rehabilitating at a Georgia resort called Warm Springs; and in 1926 announced that he had decided to buy Warm Springs and turn it into a center for the hydrotherapeutic treatment of polio victims.
In 1928 he was persuaded to run for governor of New York. Initially reluctant to leave the rewarding work at Warm Springs he was eventually persuaded to enter the race and was elected. Four years later, in 1932, he was elected President. In his first "hundred days," he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the 13 million unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes.
By 1935, the USA had achieved a partial recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning against Roosevelt's 'New Deal'. They were concerned about the USA leaving the gold standard, a rising budget deficit and labor concessions. Roosevelt responded with more reforms: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, bank and public utility controls and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
Following his re-election in 1936, Roosevelt took on the Supreme Court, which had been invalidating key "New Deal" measures. Although he lost the Supreme Court battle, major changes in constitutional law resulted that enabled the government to legally regulate the economy from then on.
In 1940, shortly after the start of WWII, Roosevelt began to send Great Britain aid but stopped short of military involvement, which did not come until after the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 - at which time the USA declared war on Japan, and Germany and Italy declared war on the USA.
Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia, he devoted much energy to the planning of the United Nations. On March 30 1945, Roosevelt went to Warm Springs to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations on April 25. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12.
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