Nickname: FDR

Years in office: 1933–1945

Political party: Democratic

Birthday: January 30, 1882

Official presidential portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt

by Frank O. Salisbury, 1947

Photo by PJ Creek (Washington, D.C.)

Near the National Archives, in Washington, D.C., is the little known (original) memorial to FDR. This modest memorial is much different from the sprawling memorial that opened in 1997. Roosevelt reportedly told a a friend, Felix Frankfurter, that he wanted: “a block about the size of [this desk] . . . in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building.”

The 1932 election centered on the economic crisis of the Great Depression.  The incumbent, Herbert Hoover, lost the favor of the American people by offering no support for struggling Americans. FDR, on the other hand, campaigned on building government support and federal programs. He won 89% of the electoral votes.

In 1936, the US was still in the heart of the Great Depression. Americans didn’t approve of the economic situation, but they approved of the way FDR was handling it. His New Deal programs gave them hope. He again won in a landslide, and secured 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 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.


Hyde Park, NY


Warm Springs, GA


Hyde Park, NY


Washington, D.C.


Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.

DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.

Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.


Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com

Library of Congress, loc.gov

Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency

The White House, whitehouse.gov

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