32. Franklin D. Roosevelt


Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Years in office: 1933–1945
  • Political party: Democratic
  • Vice president: John N. Garner (first and second terms); Henry A. Wallace (third term); Harry S Truman (fourth term)
  • Age at inauguration: 51
  • Nicknames: “FDR,” “The New Dealer,” “That Man in the White House”

Random Trivia

  • Keeping the name in the family: Franklin and Eleanor have a famous name on their marriage certificate.  Teddy Roosevelt signed as a witness.
  • Four terms: FDR was elected to a record four terms as president.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: January 30, 1882
  • Birthplace: Hyde Park, New York
  • Death: April 12, 1945
  • Place of death: Warm Springs, Georgia
  • Place of burial: Hyde Park, New York
  • Last words: “I have a terrible headache.”


  • Father: James Roosevelt (1828–1900); Lawyer, financier, railroad vice president
  • Mother: Sara Delano Roosevelt (1854–1941)
  • Wife: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)
  • Marriage: March 17, 1905 in New York
  • Kids: Six
    • Anna Eleanor (1906–1975)
    • James (1907–1991)
    • Franklin Delano Jr. (1909)
    • Elliott (1910–1990)
    • Franklin Delano Jr. (1914–1988)
    • John Aspinwall (1916–1981)
  • Home: Springwood in Hyde Park, New York

Other Facts

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: Dutch
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: Yes


  • Early education: Private tutoring; Groton School
  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Harvard University (graduated with B.A. 1903); Columbia Law School (1907)


  • Military Service: No
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Lawyer (1907–)
  • Member of New York Legislature (1911–1913)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy: Wilson administration (1913–1920)
  • Governor of New York (1929–1933)
  • President (1933–1945)


  • The Happy Warrior, Alfred E. Smith
  • FDR: His Personal Letters


The economic crisis of the 1930s was the focus of the 1932 election.  The incumbent, Herbert Hoover, had lost the favor of the American people.  He had not instituted any major government plans to help those suffering, instead suggesting that individuals should work hard to fix their present situations. FDR stepped in offering government support and federal programs.  He won with overwhelming support.

We were still in the heart of the Great Depression during the election of 1936.  Americans were not happy about the economy, but they felt that FDR was doing something to help them.  His New Deal programs were giving them hope. He again won in a landslide, securing another four years for his economic policies.

History was made in the election of 1940 when FDR was elected to a third term as president.  Every president before followed the precedent established by George Washington and served a max of two terms.  FDR decided to run for a third term when it became clear the a second world war was in the works in Europe. This election win was much closer than his previous two wins. But, for a third time, the American people elected FDR to be their chief executive.

By 1944, FDR had been in office for twelve years.  Although this time had taken its toll on Roosevelt, he decided to run for a fourth term.  In the midst of World War II, he urged the American people to not “change horses in mid-stream.” His opponent, New York governor Thomas Dewey, missed few opportunities to point out the tired appearance of FDR.  In the end, the voters showed faith and trust in the incumbent, electing Roosevelt to a fourth term.

Campaign Poster

I Want You, F.D.R. – Stay and Finish the Job! chromolithograph poster by James Montgomery Flagg, c. 1944


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek