(1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States
during a time of worldwide economic crisis
and world war
. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he facilitated a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades.
1933 In Miami, Florida, Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead shoots Chicago, Illinois Mayor Anton J. Cermak, who dies of his wounds on March 6, 1933.
1933 Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a "bank holiday", closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions.
1933 Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.
1933 Great Depression: Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This was also the first of his "fireside chats".
1933 Great Depression: Banks in the U.S. begin to re-open after President Franklin D. Roosevelt mandates a "bank holiday".
1933 Giuseppe Zangara is executed in Florida's electric chair for fatally shooting Anton Cermak in an assassination attempt against President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1933 New Deal: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
1934 New Deal: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Securities Act of 1933 into law, establishing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions.
1935 The National Labor Relations Act, which governs labor relations in the United States, is signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal|new deal for the American people.
Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
There seems to be no question that [Mussolini] is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy.
I don't mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman.
(1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States
during a time of worldwide economic crisis
and world war
. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he facilitated a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. With the bouncy popular song "Happy Days Are Here Again
" as his campaign theme, FDR defeated incumbent
Republican Herbert Hoover
in November 1932
, at the depth of the Great Depression
. FDR's persistent optimism and activism contributed to a renewal of the national spirit, reflecting his victory over paralytic illness
to become the longest serving president in U.S. history. He worked closely with Winston Churchill
and Joseph Stalin
in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II
, but died just as victory was in sight.
In his "first hundred days
" in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt spearheaded major legislation and issued a profusion of executive orders that instituted the New Deal
—a variety of programs designed to produce relief (government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (economic growth), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then relapsed into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition
that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court
or passing any considerable legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment diminished during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975–85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
, which was created in 1933, and Social Security
, which Congress passed in 1935.
As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese
invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany
, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy
" which would supply munitions to the Allies
. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease
aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Britain. With very strong national support he made war on Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
on December 7, 1941, calling it a "date which will live in infamy
". He supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy to support the Allied war effort. Unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men and 300,000 women were drafted or volunteered for military service.
Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System
. FDR's New Deal Coalition
united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt's diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations
and Bretton Woods
as examples of his administration's wide-ranging impact. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the top three U.S. Presidents
A liberal Democrat
, Roosevelt defined his ideological position as "a little left of center" and also called his cabinet "slightly to the left of center".
Family name, early life and educationRoosevelt is an Anglicized
form of the Dutch surname 'Van Rosevelt' or 'Van Rosenvelt', meaning 'from field of roses.' Although some use an Anglicized spelling pronunciation
of ˈ, that is, with the vowel of ruse, FDR himself used [ˈroʊzəvəlt], with the vowel of rose. (The last syllable was pronounced by him with a schwa, or nondescript vowel, almost as vult.)
One of the oldest families in New York State, the Roosevelts distinguished themselves in areas other than politics. One ancestor, Isaac Roosevelt, had served with the New York militia during the American Revolution. Roosevelt attended events of the New York society Sons of the American Revolution
, and joined the organization while he was president. While his paternal family had become prosperous early on in New York real estate and trade, much of his family's wealth had been built by FDR's maternal grandfather, Warren Delano, in the China trade, including opium
. His mother named him after her favorite uncle Franklin Delano.
Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in the Hudson Valley
town of Hyde Park
, New York. His father, James Roosevelt
, and his mother, Sara Ann Delano
, were sixth cousins and both were from wealthy old New York families. They were of mostly English descent; Roosevelt's great-grandfather, James Roosevelt, was of Dutch ancestry, and his mother's maiden name, Delano
, originated with a French Huguenot
immigrant of the 1600s. Roosevelt was their only child.
Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara was a possessive mother; James, 54 when Franklin was born, was considered by some as a remote father, though biographer Burns indicates James interacted with his son more than was typical at the time. Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years; she once declared "My son Franklin is a Delano, not a Roosevelt at all." Frequent trips to Europe made Roosevelt conversant in German and French. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis. Roosevelt also took up golf in his teen years, becoming a skilled long hitter. He learned to sail; his father gave him a sailboat which he named "New Moon".
Roosevelt attended Groton School
, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts; ninety percent of the students were from families on the social register. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody
, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Forty years later Roosevelt said of Peabody, "It was a blessing in my life to have the privilege of [his] guiding hand." Roosevelt was a "B" student.
and lived in a suite which is now part of Adams House
, in the "Gold Coast" area populated by wealthy students. Though he was a "C" student, he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi
fraternity, and also editor-in-chief of The Harvard Crimson
daily newspaper. Roosevelt later declared, "I took economics courses in college for four years, and everything I was taught was wrong." While he was at Harvard, his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt
became President, and the president's vigorous leadership style and reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero. In 1902, he met his future wife Eleanor Roosevelt
, Theodore's niece, at a White House
reception (they had previously met as children). Eleanor and Franklin were fifth cousins, once removed. At the time of their engagement Roosevelt was age twenty-two and Eleanor nineteen. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in 1903. He later received an honorary LL.D from Harvard in 1929.
Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School
in 1904, but dropped out in 1907 after he passed the New York State Bar exam. In 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn
, dealing mainly with corporate law. He was first initiated in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
and was initiated into Freemasonry
on October 11, 1911, at Holland Lodge No. 8 in New York City.
Marriage and family lifeOn March 17, 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott
. (Eleanor had lost both parents by age ten.) The young couple moved into Springwood
, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. The home was owned by Roosevelt's mother until her death in 1941 and was very much her home as well. As for their personal lives, Franklin was a charismatic, handsome and socially active man. In contrast, Eleanor was shy and disliked social life, and at first stayed at home to raise their children. Although Eleanor had an aversion to mating, and considered it "an ordeal to be endured"; they had six children, the first four in rapid succession:
- Anna Eleanor (1906–1975; age 69)
- JamesJames RooseveltJames Roosevelt was the oldest son of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a United States Congressman, an officer in the United States Marine Corps, an aide to his father, the official Secretary to the President, a Democratic Party activist, and a businessman.-Early life:Roosevelt was...
(1907–1991; age 83)
- Franklin Delano, Jr. (March 18, 1909 – November 7, 1909)
- ElliottElliott RooseveltElliott Roosevelt was a United States Army Air Forces officer and an author. Roosevelt was a son of U.S. President Franklin D...
(1910–1990; age 80)
- a second Franklin Delano, Jr.Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. was an American politician. He was the fifth child of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sr. and his wife Eleanor.-Personal life:...
(1914–1988; age 74)
- John AspinwallJohn Aspinwall RooseveltJohn Aspinwall Roosevelt was the sixth and last child of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the only Roosevelt son who never sought political office....
(1916–1981; age 65).
Roosevelt's dog, Fala, also became well known as Roosevelt's companion during his time in the White House, and was called the "most photographed dog in the world."
Roosevelt allegedly had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer
which began soon after she was hired in early 1914. In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I
. According to the Roosevelt family, Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. According to FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith
it is generally accepted that Eleanor indeed offered "to give Franklin his freedom." However, they reconciled after a fashion with the informal mediation of Roosevelt's adviser Louis McHenry Howe
, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again. His mother Sara also intervened, and told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, he would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar." However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941—and perhaps earlier. Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service
. Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known until the 1960s. Roosevelt's son Elliott claimed that Franklin also had a 20-year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand.
The effect of these affairs upon Eleanor Roosevelt is difficult to estimate. "I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget," she wrote to a close friend. After the affair any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Eleanor soon thereafter established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkill
, and increasingly devoted herself to various social and political causes. For the rest of their lives, the Roosevelts' marriage was more of a political partnership than an intimate relationship. The emotional break in their marriage was so severe that when FDR asked Eleanor in 1942—in light of his failing health—to come back home and live with him again, she refused.
State Senator & Tammany antagonistIn the State election of 1910, Roosevelt ran for the New York State Senate
from the district around Hyde Park
in Dutchess County
, which had not elected a Democrat since 1884. The Roosevelt name, with its associated wealth, prestige, and influence in the Hudson Valley, and the Democratic landslide that year, carried him to the state capital in Albany. Taking his seat on January 1, 1911, he became the leader of a group of "Insurgents" who opposed the bossism
of the Tammany
dominating the state Democratic Party. The U.S. Senate election
which began with the Democratic caucus on January 16, 1911, was deadlocked by the struggle of the two factions for 74 days. On March 31, James A. O'Gorman was elected, and Roosevelt had achieved his goal: to upset the Tammany machine by blocking their choice, William F. Sheehan
. This brought Roosevelt national exposure and some experience in political tactics and intrigue. Roosevelt soon became a popular figure among New York Democrats, though he had not as yet become an eloquent speaker. Despite a bout of typhoid, and thanks to the help of Louis McHenry Howe
who ran his campaign, he was re-elected for a second term in the State election of 1912, and served as chairman of the Agriculture Committee. His success with farm and labor bills was a bit of a precursor to his New Deal policies twenty years later. By this time he had become more consistently progressive, in support of labor and social welfare programs for women and children; cousin Teddy was of some influence on these issues. Roosevelt, again in opposition to Tammany Hall, supported Woodrow Wilson's successful bid in the 1912 presidential election, and thereby earned an informal designation as an original Wilson man. This opened the door for opportunities in the Wilson administration. Roosevelt resigned from the New York State Senate
on March 17, 1913, to accept his appointment as Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Navy.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
by Woodrow Wilson
in 1913 and served under Secretary of the Navy
. Roosevelt developed a life-long affection for the Navy
, and was more ardent than his boss Daniels in supporting a large and efficient naval force. As assistant secretary, Roosevelt worked to expand the Navy and founded the United States Navy Reserve
. Roosevelt negotiated with Congressional leaders and other government departments to get budgets approved. He opposed the Taylor
"stop-watch" system which was hailed by shipbuilding managers but opposed by the unions. Not a single union strike occurred during his seven plus years in the Navy department.
In 1914, Roosevelt made an ill-conceived decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat for New York. The decision was doomed for lack of Wilson administration backing. He was determined to take on Tammany again at a time when Wilson needed them to help marshal his legislation and secure his future re-election. He was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary election
for the United States Senate by Tammany Hall-backed James W. Gerard
by a margin of 3-to-1. Roosevelt learned a valuable lesson – that federal patronage alone, without White House support, could not defeat a strong local organization.
In March 1917, after Germany initiated its submarine warfare campaign, Roosevelt asked Wilson for permission, which was denied, to fit the naval fleet out for war. He became an enthusiastic advocate of the submarine
and of means to combat the German submarine menace to Allied shipping: he proposed building a mine barrier across the North Sea from Norway to Scotland. In 1918, he visited Britain
and France to inspect American naval facilities; during this visit he met Winston Churchill
for the first time. Roosevelt wanted to provide arms to the merchant marine; knowing that a sale of arms was prohibited, he asked Wilson for approval to lease the arms to the mariners. Wilson ultimately approved this by executive order, and a precedent was set for this action in 1940.
During these war years, Roosevelt acted to make peace with the Tammany Hall forces, and in 1918 the group actually supported others in an unsuccessful attempt to convince him to run for governor of New York. He very much wished to get into a military uniform, but the armistice took shape before this could materialize. With the end of World War I
in November 1918, Roosevelt was in charge of demobilization, although he opposed plans to completely dismantle the Navy.
Campaign for Vice-PresidentIn July 1920, overshadowed by the Newport sex scandal
and its coverage in the Providence Journal and New York Times, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to run for Vice President. In a series of speeches in his campaign for Vice President, Roosevelt claimed (tongue-in-cheek) that as Assistant Secretary of the Navy he wrote the constitution which the U.S. imposed on Haiti in 1915. The 1920 Democratic National Convention
chose Roosevelt by acclamation as the candidate for Vice President of the United States
. The ticket was headed by Governor James M. Cox
of Ohio, and Roosevelt was considered as bringing balance to the ticket as a moderate, a Wilsonian and a prohibitionist. The Cox-Roosevelt ticket was defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding
in the presidential election
by a wide margin. This nomination as Vice-President was somewhat meteoric in nature, as Roosevelt had just turned thirty-eight, four years younger than his cousin Teddy had been when he first got the same nomination from his party. Roosevelt then returned to New York law practice and joined the newly organized New York Civitan Club, but few doubted that he would soon run for public office again.
which resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down; this diagnosis has since been questioned. For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy
, and, in 1926, he purchased a resort at Warm Springs
, Georgia, where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients which still operates as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes
At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was getting better, which he believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. Great care was also taken to prevent his being portrayed by the press in a way which would highlight his disability. Only two photographs are known to exist of FDR which were taken while he was in his wheelchair; only four seconds of film exist of the "walk" he achieved after his illness. He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. FDR used a car with specially designed hand controls, which provided him further mobility.
In the public mind, Roosevelt has been by far the most famous polio survivor. However, his age at onset (39 years) and the majority of symptoms of his illness are more consistent with a diagnosis of Guillain–Barré syndrome. Since Roosevelt's cerebrospinal fluid
was not examined, the cause may never be known for certain.
Governor of New York, 1929–1932
, Roosevelt moderated his stance against that group as well. He helped Alfred E. Smith
win the election for governor of New York in 1922, and was even a strong supporter of Smith against his cousin, Republican Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1924. Roosevelt gave nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions.
As the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1928 election
, Smith in turn asked Roosevelt to run for governor in the state election. Roosevelt was nominated by the Democrats by acclamation. While Smith lost the Presidency in a landslide, and was even defeated in his home state, Roosevelt was narrowly elected governor, by a one percent margin. As a reform governor, he established a number of new social programs, and he was advised by Frances Perkins
and Harry Hopkins
In May 1930, as he began his run for a second term, Roosevelt reiterated his doctrine from the campaign two years before: "that progressive government by its very terms, must be a living and growing thing, that the battle for it is never ending and that if we let up for one single moment or one single year, not merely do we stand still but we fall back in the march of civilization." In this campaign for re-election, Roosevelt needed the good will of the Tammany Hall machine in New York City to succeed; however, his Republican opponent, Charles H. Tuttle
, used Roosevelt's connection with Tammany Hall's corruption as an election issue. As the election approached, Roosevelt began preemptive efforts by initiating investigations of the sale of judicial offices. He was directly involved, as he had made a routine short term court appointment of a Tammany Hall man, who was alleged to have paid Tammany $30,000 for the position. His Republican opponent, however, could not overcome the public's criticism of his party for current economic distress, and Roosevelt was elected to a second term by a margin of fourteen percent.
1932 presidential electionRoosevelt'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
switched to 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
Economist Marriner Eccles observed that "given later developments, the campaign speeches often read like a giant misprint, in which Roosevelt and Hoover speak each other's lines." Roosevelt denounced Hoover's failures to restore prosperity or even halt the downward slide, and he ridiculed Hoover's huge deficits. Roosevelt campaigned on the Democratic platform advocating "immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures," "abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagances" and for a "sound currency to be maintained at all hazards." On September 23, Roosevelt made the gloomy evaluation that, "Our industrial plant is built; the problem just now is whether under existing conditions it is not overbuilt. Our last frontier has long since been reached." Hoover damned that pessimism as a denial of "the promise of American life ... the counsel of despair." The prohibition issue solidified the wet vote for Roosevelt, who noted that repeal would bring in new tax revenues.
Roosevelt won 57% of the vote and carried all but six states. Historians and political scientists consider the 1932-36 elections a realigning election
that created a new majority coalition for the Democrats, one made up of organized labor, blacks, and ethnic Americans such as Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans and Jews. Thus, this transformed American politics and starting what is called the "New Deal Party System" or (by political scientists) the Fifth Party System
After the election, Roosevelt refused Hoover's requests for a meeting to develop a joint program to stop the downward spiral and calm investors, claiming publicly it would tie his hands, and that Hoover had all the power to act if necessary. Unofficially, he told reporters that "it is not my baby". The economy spiraled downward until the banking system began a complete nationwide shutdown as Hoover's term ended. In February 1933, Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Zangara
(whose shots killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak
sitting alongside). Roosevelt leaned heavily on his "Brain Trust" of academic advisors, especially Raymond Moley
when designing his policies; he offered cabinet positions to numerous candidates, but some declined. The cabinet member with the strongest independent base was Cordell Hull
at State. William Hartman Woodin
– at Treasury – was soon replaced by the much more powerful Henry Morgenthau, Jr.
First term, 1933–1937
When Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933
(32 days after Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany), the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million were homeless. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia had closed their banks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days. Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism:
Historians categorized Roosevelt's program as "relief, recovery and reform." Relief was urgently needed by tens of millions of unemployed. Recovery meant boosting the economy back to normal. Reform meant long-term fixes of what was wrong, especially with the financial and banking systems. Roosevelt's series of radio talks, known as fireside chats
, presented his proposals directly to the American public. In 1934 FDR paid a visit to retired Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who mused about the President: "A second class intellect. But a first class temperament."
First New Deal, 1933–1934Roosevelt's "First 100 Days" concentrated on the first part of his strategy: immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. To propose programs, Roosevelt relied on leading Senators such as George Norris, Robert F. Wagner
and Hugo Black
, as well as his Brain Trust
of academic advisers. Like Hoover, he saw the Depression caused in part by people no longer spending or investing because they were afraid.
His inauguration on March 4, 1933, occurred in the middle of a bank panic
, hence the backdrop for his famous words: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The very next day Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act
which declared a "bank holiday" and announced a plan to allow banks to reopen. This was his first proposed step to recovery. To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass–Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Relief measures included the continuation of Hoover's major relief program for the unemployed under the new name, Federal Emergency Relief Administration
. The most popular of all New Deal agencies – and Roosevelt's favorite – was the Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC), which hired 250,000 unemployed young men to work on rural local projects.
Congress also gave the Federal Trade Commission
broad new regulatory powers and provided mortgage relief to millions of farmers and homeowners. Roosevelt expanded a Hoover agency, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation
, making it a major source of financing for railroads and industry. Roosevelt made agricultural relief a high priority and set up the first Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). The AAA tried to force higher prices for commodities by paying farmers to take land out of crops and to cut herds.
Reform of the economy was the goal of the National Industrial Recovery Act
(NIRA) of 1933. It tried to end cutthroat competition by forcing industries to come up with codes that established the rules of operation for all firms within specific industries, such as minimum prices, agreements not to compete, and production restrictions. Industry leaders negotiated the codes which were then approved by NIRA officials. Industry needed to raise wages as a condition for approval. Provisions encouraged unions and suspended anti-trust laws. The NIRA was found to be unconstitutional by unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court
on May 27, 1935. Roosevelt opposed the decision, saying "The fundamental purposes and principles of the NIRA are sound. To abandon them is unthinkable. It would spell the return to industrial and labor chaos." In 1933, major new banking regulations were passed. In 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission
was created to regulate Wall Street, with 1932 campaign fundraiser Joseph P. Kennedy in charge.
Recovery was pursued through "pump-priming" (that is, federal spending). The NIRA included $3.3 billion of spending through the Public Works Administration
to stimulate the economy, which was to be handled by Interior Secretary
. Roosevelt worked with Republican Senator George Norris to create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history, the Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA), which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. The repeal of prohibition
also brought in new tax revenues and helped Roosevelt keep a major campaign promise.
Executive Order 6102
made all privately held gold of American citizens was to be sold to the U.S. Treasury and the price raised from $20 to $35 per ounce. Exceptions were made for jewelers, coin collectors and a few others. The goal was to counter the deflation which was paralyzing the economy.
Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the federal budget, including a reduction in military spending from $752 million in 1932 to $531 million in 1934 and a 40% cuts in spending on veterans' benefits, removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and reduced benefits for the remainder, as well as cutting the salaries of federal employees and reduced spending on research and education. However, this was soon seen to be a mistake and most benefits were restored or increased by 1934. The benefit cuts also did not last. In June 1933 Roosevelt restored $50 million in pension payments, and Congress added another $46 million more. Veterans groups like the American Legion
and the Veterans of Foreign Wars
won their campaign to transform their benefits from payments due in 1945 to immediate cash when Congress overrode the President's veto and passed the Bonus Act in January 1936.
Roosevelt also kept his promise to push for repeal of Prohibition
. In April 1933, he issued an Executive Order redefining 3.2% alcohol as the maximum allowed. That order was preceded by Congressional action in the drafting and passage of the 21st Amendment
, which was ratified later that year.
Second New Deal, 1935–1936After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration
(WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million family heads. At the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was down from 20.6% in 1933 to only12.5% according to figures from Michael Darby. The Social Security Act, established Social Security and promised economic security for the elderly, the poor and the sick. Senator Robert Wagner
wrote the Wagner Act, which officially became the National Labor Relations Act
. The act established the federal rights of workers to organize unions, to engage in collective bargaining
, and to take part in strikes.
While the First New Deal of 1933 had broad support from most sectors, the Second New Deal challenged the business community. Conservative Democrats, led by Al Smith
, fought back with the American Liberty League
, savagely attacking Roosevelt and equating him with Marx and Lenin. But Smith overplayed his hand, and his boisterous rhetoric let Roosevelt isolate his opponents and identify them with the wealthy vested interests that opposed the New Deal, setting Roosevelt up for the 1936 landslide. By contrast, the labor unions, energized by the Wagner Act, signed up millions of new members and became a major backer of Roosevelt's reelections in 1936, 1940 and 1944.
Some historians disagree with the prevailing belief that there were two New Deals in the Roosevelt administration. They argue that there is no evidence of any such blueprint for Roosevelt's programs; these contrarians assert that abundant evidence shows FDR's policies were formulated and executed haphazardly, and fluctuated in the hands of a revolving cast of presidential advisors. Biographer James M. Burns as well indicates Roosevelt's policy decisions were replete with sudden reversals, and that FDR was "like the general of a guerilla army, fighting blindly through a jungle." Schweikart and Allen maintain that the two New Deals concept serves well to explain away the ineffectiveness of FDR's programs to improve the nation's economy and contradictory decisions by FDR in his first six years in office.
Economic environmentGovernment spending increased from 8.0% of gross national product (GNP) under Hoover in 1932 to 10.2% of the GNP in 1936. The national debt as a percentage of the GNP had more that doubled under Hoover from 16% to 40% of the GNP in early 1933. It held steady at close to 40% as late as fall 1941, then grew rapidly during the war, as shown on chart 1.
Deficit spending had been recommended by some economists, most notably by John Maynard Keynes
of Britain. The GNP was 34% higher in 1936 than in 1932 and 58% higher in 1940 on the eve of war. That is, the economy grew 58% from 1932 to 1940 in 8 years of peacetime, and then grew 56% from 1940 to 1945 in 5 years of wartime.
Unemployment fell dramatically in Roosevelt's first term, from 25% when he took office to 14.3% in 1937. However, it increased slightly to 19.0% in 1938 ('a depression within a depression') and fell to 17.2% in 1939, and then dropped again to 14.6% in 1940 until it reached 1.9% in 1945 due to World War II
when increased manufacturing and conscription decreased the labor supply number. Total employment during Roosevelt's term expanded by 18.31 million jobs, with an average annual increase in jobs during his administration of 5.3%.
During the war, the economy operated under such different conditions that comparison with peacetime is impossible. However, Roosevelt saw the New Deal policies as central to his legacy, and in his 1944 State of the Union Address
, he advocated that Americans should think of basic economic rights as a Second Bill of Rights
Roosevelt did not raise income taxes before World War II
began; however payroll tax
es were also introduced to fund the new Social Security
program in 1937. He also got Congress to spend more on many various programs and projects never before seen in American history. However, under the revenue pressures brought on by the depression, most states added or increased taxes, including sales as well as income taxes. Roosevelt's proposal for new taxes on corporate savings were highly controversial in 1936–37, and were rejected by Congress. During the war he pushed for even higher income tax rates for individuals (reaching a marginal tax rate of 91%) and corporations and a cap on high salaries for executives. He also issued Executive Order 9250 in October 1942, later to be rescinded by Congress, which raised the marginal tax rate for salaries exceeding $25,000 (after tax) to 100%, thereby limiting salaries to $25,000 (about $ today). To fund the war, Congress broadened the base so that almost every employee paid federal income taxes, and introduced withholding taxes in 1943.
Unemployment (% labor force)
Foreign policy, 1933–37The rejection of the League of Nations
treaty in 1919 marked the dominance of isolationism
from world organizations in American foreign policy. Despite Roosevelt's Wilsonian background, he and Secretary of State
acted with great care not to provoke isolationist sentiment. Roosevelt's "bombshell" message to the world monetary conference
in 1933 effectively ended any major efforts by the world powers to collaborate on ending the worldwide depression, and allowed Roosevelt a free hand in economic policy. Roosevelt was a lifelong free trader and anti-imperialist. Ending European colonialism
was one of his objectives.
The main foreign policy initiative of Roosevelt's first term was the Good Neighbor Policy
, which was a re-evaluation of U.S. policy towards Latin America
. Since the Monroe Doctrine
of 1823, this area had been seen as an American sphere of influence
. American forces were withdrawn from Haiti, and new treaties with Cuba and Panama ended their status as United States protectorate
s. In December 1933, Roosevelt signed the Montevideo Convention
on the Rights and Duties of States, renouncing the right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of Latin American countries.
The isolationist movement was bolstered in the early to mid 1930s by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye
and others who succeeded in their effort to stop the "merchants of death" in the U.S. from selling arms abroad. This effort took the form of the Neutrality Acts; the president asked for, but was refused, a provision to give him the discretion to allow the sale of arms to victims of aggression. In the interim, Italy and Mussolini proceeded to overcome Ethiopia and the Italians joined the Germans in co-opting a successful revolt in Spain. In 1936 Germany and Japan signed their Anti-Comintern Pact, allowing their Axis to develop united strategies. And thus the congress passed and the president signed a mandatory arms embargo at a time when dictators in Europe and Asia were girding for world war.
Landslide re-election, 1936In the 1936 presidential election
, Roosevelt campaigned on his New Deal programs against Kansas
Governor Alf Landon
, who accepted much of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste. Roosevelt and Garner won 60.8% of the vote and carried every state except Maine
. The New Deal Democrats won even larger majorities in Congress. Roosevelt was backed by a coalition of voters which included traditional Democrats across the country, small farmers, the "Solid South
", Catholics, big city political machines, labor unions, northern African Americans, Jews, intellectuals and political liberals. This coalition, frequently referred to as the New Deal coalition
, remained largely intact for the Democratic Party until the 1960s. Roosevelt's popularity meant massive volumes of correspondence in need of reply. He once told his son James, "Two short sentences will generally answer any known letter."
Second term, 1937–1941In contrast to the first term, little major legislation was passed in FDR's second term. There was the Housing Act of 1937
, a second Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA) of 1938, which created the minimum wage
. When the economy began to deteriorate again in late 1937, Roosevelt asked Congress for $5 billion in WPA relief and public works funding. This managed to eventually create as many as 3.3 million WPA jobs by 1938. Beyond this, however, the president only recommended to a special congressional session a permanent national farm act, administrative reorganization and regional planning measures, which were leftovers from a regular session. According to Burns, this attempt illustrated Roosevelt's inability to decide on a basic economic program.
The Supreme Court
became Roosevelt's primary focus during his second term, after the court overturned many of his programs. In particular in 1935 the Court unanimously ruled that the National Recovery Act (NRA) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the president. Roosevelt stunned Congress in early 1937 by proposing a law allowing him to appoint up to six new justices, what he referred to as a "persistent infusion of new blood." This "court packing" plan ran into intense political opposition from his own party, led by Vice President Garner, since it upset the separation of powers and gave the President control over the Court. Roosevelt's proposal to expand the court failed, nevertheless by 1941 Roosevelt had appointed eight of the nine justices of the court which began to ratify his policies.
Roosevelt had massive support from the rapidly growing labor unions, but now they split into bitterly feuding AFL
factions, the latter led by John L. Lewis
. Roosevelt pronounced a "plague on both your houses," but labor's disunity weakened the party in the elections from 1938 through 1946.
Determined to overcome the opposition of conservative Democrats in Congress (mostly from the South), Roosevelt involved himself in the 1938 Democratic primaries, actively campaigning for challengers who were more supportive of New Deal reform. His targets denounced Roosevelt for trying to take over the Democratic party and used the argument that they were independent to win reelection. Roosevelt failed badly, managing to defeat only one target, a conservative Democrat from New York City.
In the November 1938 election, Democrats lost six Senate seats and 71 House seats. Losses were concentrated among pro-New Deal Democrats. When Congress reconvened in 1939, Republicans under Senator Robert Taft formed a Conservative coalition
with Southern Democrats, virtually ending Roosevelt's ability to get his domestic proposals enacted into law. The minimum wage law of 1938 was the last substantial New Deal reform act passed by Congress.
Foreign policy, 1937–1941
in Germany had aroused fears of a new world war. Nevertheless, in 1937 Congress passed an even more stringent Neutrality act. But when the Sino-Japanese War
broke out that year, public opinion favored China, and Roosevelt found various ways to assist that nation.
In October 1937, he gave the Quarantine Speech
aiming to contain aggressor nations. He proposed that warmongering states be treated as a public health menace and be "quarantined." Meanwhile he secretly stepped up a program to build long range submarines that could blockade Japan.
At the time of the Munich Agreement
in 1938—with the U.S. not represented—Roosevelt said the U.S. would not join a “stop-Hitler bloc” under any circumstances, and he made it quite clear in the event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, the U.S. would remain neutral.
Roosevelt said in 1939 that France and Britain were America's "first line of defence" and needed American aid, but because of widespread isolationist sentiment he reiterated the U.S. would not itself go to war. In the spring of 1939 FDR allowed the French to place huge orders with the American aircraft industry on a cash-and-carry basis, as allowed by law. Most of the aircraft ordered had not arrived in France by the time of its collapse in May 1940, so Roosevelt arranged in June 1940 for French orders to be sold to the British.
When World War II
broke out in 1939, Roosevelt rejected the Wilsonian neutrality stance and sought ways to assist Britain and France militarily. At first the President gave only covert support to repeal of the arms embargo provisions of the Neutrality Act. He began a regular secret correspondence with the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill
in September 1939 discussing ways of supporting Britain. Roosevelt forged a close personal relationship with Churchill, who became Prime Minister of Britain in May 1940.
In April 1940 Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, followed by invasions of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in May. The German victories left Britain vulnerable to invasion. Roosevelt, who was determined that Britain not be defeated, took advantage of the rapid shifts of public opinion. The fall of Paris shocked American opinion, and isolationist sentiment declined. A consensus was clear that military spending had to be dramatically expanded. There was no consensus on how much the U.S. should risk war in helping Britain. In July 1940, FDR appointed two interventionist Republican leaders, Henry L. Stimson
and Frank Knox
, as Secretaries of War and the Navy respectively. Both parties gave support to his plans to rapidly build up the American military, but the isolationists warned that Roosevelt would get the nation into an unnecessary war with Germany. Congress set up the nation's first peacetime draft.
Roosevelt used his personal charisma to build support for intervention. America should be the "Arsenal of Democracy", he told his fireside audience. On September 2, 1940, Roosevelt openly defied the Neutrality Acts by passing the Destroyers for Bases Agreement
, which, in exchange for military base rights in the British Caribbean Islands, gave 50 WWI American destroyer
s to Britain. The U.S. also received free base rights in Bermuda
and Newfoundland, allowing British forces to be moved to the sharper end of the war; the idea of an exchange of warships for bases such as these originated in the cabinet. Hitler and Mussolini responded to the deal by joining with Japan in the Tripartite Pact
. The agreement with Britain was a precursor of the March 1941 Lend-Lease agreement which began to direct massive military and economic aid to Britain, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union. For foreign policy advice, Roosevelt turned to Harry Hopkins
, who became his chief wartime advisor. They sought innovative ways to help Britain, whose financial resources were exhausted by the end of 1940, short of going to war. Congress, where isolationist sentiment was waning, passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, allowing the U.S. to give Britain, China and later the Soviet Union military supplies. The legislation had hit a logjam until Sens. Byrd, Byrnes and Taft added a provision subjecting it to appropriation by Congress. Congress voted to commit to spend $50 billion on military supplies from 1941 to 1945. In sharp contrast to the loans of World War I
, there would be no repayment after the war. Until late in 1941, FDR refused Churchill's urgent requests for armed escort of ships bound for Britain, insisting on a more passive patrolling function in the western Atlantic.
Election of 1940The two-term tradition had been an unwritten rule (until the 22nd Amendment
after his presidency) since George Washington
declined to run for a third term in 1796, and both Ulysses S. Grant
and Theodore Roosevelt
were attacked for trying to obtain a third non-consecutive term. FDR systematically undercut prominent Democrats who were angling for the nomination, including two cabinet members, Secretary of State Cordell Hull
and James Farley
, Roosevelt's campaign manager in 1932 and 1936, Postmaster General and Democratic Party chairman. Roosevelt moved the convention to Chicago where he had strong support from the city machine (which controlled the auditorium sound system). At the convention the opposition was poorly organized but Farley had packed the galleries. Roosevelt sent a message saying that he would not run, unless he was drafted, and that the delegates were free to vote for anyone. The delegates were stunned; then the loudspeaker screamed "We want Roosevelt... The world wants Roosevelt!" The delegates went wild and he was nominated by 946 to 147 on the first ballot. The tactic employed by Roosevelt was not entirely successful, as his goal had been to be drafted by acclamation. The new vice presidential nominee was Henry A. Wallace
, a liberal intellectual who was Secretary of Agriculture.
In his campaign against Republican Wendell Willkie
, Roosevelt stressed both his proven leadership experience and his intention to do everything possible to keep the United States out of war. In one of his speeches he declared to potential recruits that "you boys are not going to be sent into any foreign war." He won the 1940 election
with 55% of the popular vote and 38 of the 48 states. A shift to the left within the Administration was shown by the naming of Henry A. Wallace as Vice President in place of the conservative Texan John Nance Garner
, who had become a bitter enemy of Roosevelt after 1937.
PoliciesRoosevelt's third term was dominated by World War II. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938 though he was facing strong isolationist sentiment from leaders like Senators William Borah and Robert Taft
. By 1940, it was in high gear, with bipartisan support, partly to expand and re-equip the Army and Navy and partly to become the "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting Britain, France, China and (after June 1941), the Soviet Union. As Roosevelt took a firmer stance against the Axis Powers
, American isolationists—including Charles Lindbergh
and America First
—vehemently attacked the President as an irresponsible warmonger. Roosevelt initiated FBI and Internal Revenue Service
investigations of his loudest critics, though no legal actions resulted. Unfazed by these criticisms and confident in the wisdom of his foreign policy initiatives, FDR continued his twin policies of preparedness and aid to the Allied
coalition. On December 29, 1940, he delivered his Arsenal of Democracy fireside chat, in which he made the case for involvement in the war directly to the American people. And a week later he delivered his famous Four Freedoms
speech laying out the case for an American defense of basic rights throughout the world.
of African Americans, farmers and rural populations to manufacturing centers. To pay for increased government spending, in 1941 FDR proposed that Congress enact an income tax rate of 99.5% on all income over $100,000; when the proposal failed, he issued an executive order imposing an income tax of 100% on income over $25,000, which Congress rescinded.
When Nazi Germany
the Soviet Union in June 1941, Roosevelt agreed to extend Lend-Lease to the Soviets. Thus, Roosevelt had committed the U.S. to the Allied side with a policy of "all aid short of war." Execution of the aid fell victim to foot dragging in the administration so FDR appointed a special assistant, Wayne Coy, to expedite matters. Later that year a German submarine fired on the U.S. destroyer Greer and Roosevelt declared that the U.S. Navy would assume an escort role for Allied convoys in the Atlantic as far east as Great Britain and would fire upon German ships or submarines (U-boat
s) of the Kriegsmarine
if they entered the U.S. Navy zone. This "shoot on sight" policy effectively declared Naval war on Germany and was favored by Americans by a margin of 2-to-1.
Roosevelt and Churchill conducted a highly secret bilateral meeting in Argentia, Newfoundland, and on August 14, 1941, concluded their Atlantic Charter
, conceptually outlining global goals following the war; this was the first of several wartime conferences. In July 1941, Roosevelt had ordered Henry Stimson, Secretary of War
to begin planning for total American military involvement. The resulting "Victory Program," under the direction of Albert Wedemeyer
, provided the President with the estimates necessary for the total mobilization of manpower, industry, and logistics to defeat the "potential enemies" of the United States. The program also planned to dramatically increase aid to the Allied nations and to have ten million men in arms, half of whom would be ready for deployment abroad in 1943. Roosevelt was firmly committed to the Allied cause and these plans had been formulated before the Attack on Pearl Harbor
by the Empire of Japan
Congress was debating a modification of The Neutrality Act in October 1941, when the USS Kearny
, along with other ships, engaged a number of U-boats south of Iceland; the Kearny took fire and lost eleven crewmen. As a result, The Neutrality Act to permit the arming of the merchant marine passed both houses, though by a slim margin.
In 1942, war production increased dramatically, but fell short of the goals established by the President, due in part to manpower shortages. The effort was also hindered by numerous strikes by union workers, especially in the coal mining and railroad industries, which lasted well into 1944. The White House became the ultimate site for labor mediation, conciliation or arbitration. One particular battle royal occurred, between Vice-President Wallace, who headed the BEW, and Jesse Jones, in charge of the RFC; both agencies assumed responsibility for acquisition of rubber supplies and came to loggerheads over funding. FDR resolved the dispute by dissolving both agencies.
In 1944 the President requested Congress enact legislation which would tax all unreasonable profits, both corporate and individual, and thereby support his declared need for over ten billion in revenue for the war and other government measures. The Congress passed a revenue bill raising 2 billion, which FDR vetoed, though Congress in turn overrode.
Pearl Harbor and declarations of war
in late 1940, FDR authorized increased aid to the Republic of China
, a policy that won widespread popular support. In July 1941, after Japan occupied the remainder of Indo-China, he cut off the sale of oil to Japan which thus lost more than 95 percent of its oil supply. Roosevelt continued negotiations with the Japanese government, primarily through Secretary Hull. Japan Premier Konoye desired a Pacific conference with FDR which U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew favored, but which Hull opposed. When Kenoye failed to produce diplomatic results, Emperor Hirohito replaced him with Minister of War Tojo. Meanwhile, Roosevelt started sending long-range B-17 bombers to the Pacific.
FDR felt that an attack by the Japanese was probable – most likely in the Dutch East Indies or Thailand. On December 4, 1941, The Chicago Tribune published the complete text of "Rainbow Five," a top-secret war plan drawn up by the War Department. It dealt chiefly with mobilization issues, calling for a 10-million man army.
The great majority of scholars have rejected the conspiracy thesis
that Roosevelt, or anyone any other high government officials, knew in advance about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had done a very good job in keeping their secrets. All senior American officials were aware that war was imminent, but none expected an attack on Pearl Harbor.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor
, destroying or damaging 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleship
s, and killing almost 3000 American military personnel and civilians. Later that day, FDR called Churchill to confirm the news, saying "We are all in the same boat now." The President summoned his cabinet to assess events and to review a draft of his speech the next day to Congress. He rejected a suggestion for requesting a declaration of war against Germany in addition to Japan. Roosevelt, seeking a declaration of war against Japan, then delivered to Congress his famous "Infamy Speech
" in which he said, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Within an hour of the speech, Congress had passed a declaration of war, as Britain had just hours earlier.
In 1942 Roosevelt set up a new military command structure with Admiral Ernest J. King as Chief of Naval Operations in complete control of the Navy and Marines, General George C. Marshall in charge of the Army, and in nominal control of the Air Force, which in practice was commanded by General Hap Arnold. Roosevelt formed a new body, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
, which made the final decisions on American military strategy. The Joint Chiefs was a White House agency and was chaired by Admiral William D. Leahy
, but as the war progressed, Marshall increasingly dominated its deliberations. When dealing with Europe, the Joint Chiefs met with their British counterparts and formed the Combined Chiefs of Staff
. Unlike the political leaders of the other major powers, Roosevelt rarely overrode his military advisors. His civilian appointees handled the draft and procurement of men and equipment, but no civilians—not even the secretaries of War or Navy, had a voice in strategy. Roosevelt avoided the State Department and conducted high level diplomacy through his aides, especially Harry Hopkins
. Since Hopkins also controlled $50 billion in Lend Lease funds given to the Allies, they paid attention to him.
War plansRoosevelt and his military advisors implemented a war strategy with the objectives of halting the German advances in the Soviet Union and in North Africa; launching an invasion of western Europe with the aim of crushing Nazi Germany between two fronts; and saving China and defeating Japan. Public opinion, however, gave priority to the destruction of Japan, so American forces were sent chiefly to the Pacific in 1942.
In the opening weeks of the war, Japan had conquered the Philippines, Indonesia and the British and colonies in Southeast Asia
, capturing Singapore in February 1942. Furthermore Japan defeated the British in Burma to the borders of British India
, cutting off the overland supply route to China.
After Pearl Harbor antiwar sentiment in the United States evaporated overnight. On December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, which responded in kind. Roosevelt met with Churchill in late December and planned a broad informal alliance among the U.S., Britain, China and the Soviet Union. This included Churchill's initial plan to invade North Africa (called Operation Gymnast
) and the primary plan of the U.S. generals for a western Europe invasion, focused directly on Germany (Operation Sledgehammer
). An agreement was also reached for a centralized command and offensive in the Pacific theater called ABDA
(American, British, Dutch, Australian) to save China and defeat Japan. Nevertheless, the Atlantic First strategy was intact, to Churchill's great satisfaction. On New Years Day of 1942 Churchill and FDR issued the "Declaration by United Nations", representing 26 countries in opposition to the Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy and Japan.
Internment of Germans, Japanese and ItaliansWhen the war began the danger of a Japanese attack on the coast led to growing pressure to remove people of Japanese descent away from the coastal region. This pressure grew due to fears of terrorism, espionage, and/or sabotage. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066
which relocated the "Issei" (first generation of Japanese immigrants who did not have U.S. citizenship) and their children, "Nisei" (who had dual citizenship).
After both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy
declared war on the United States in December 1941, German
citizens who had not taken out American citizenship and who spoke out for Hitler and Mussolini were often arrested or interned.
), together with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
cooperated informally on a plan in which American and British troops concentrated in the West, Soviet troops fought on the Eastern front
, and Chinese, British and American troops fought in Asia and the Pacific. The Allies formulated strategy in a series of high profile conferences as well as contact through diplomatic and military channels. Roosevelt guaranteed that the U.S. would be the "Arsenal of Democracy" by shipping $50 billion of Lend Lease supplies, primarily to Britain and to the USSR, China and other Allies.
Roosevelt acknowledged that Americans had a traditional antipathy towards the British Empire, saying:
- "It's in the American tradition, this distrust, this dislike and even hatred of Britain– the Revolution, you know, and 1812; and India and the Boer War, and all that. There are many kinds of Americans of course, but as a people, as a country, we're opposed to Imperialism—we can't stomach it."
The U.S. War Department
believed that the quickest way to defeat Germany was to invade France across the English Channel. Churchill, wary of the casualties he feared this would entail, favored a more indirect approach, advancing northwards from the Mediterranean Sea. Roosevelt rejected this plan. Stalin advocated opening a Western front at the earliest possible time, as the bulk of the land fighting in 1942–44 was on Soviet soil. In May 1942 Stalin's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov
met with Roosevelt in Washington and got from FDR a commitment to the opening of a second war front in 1942 against the Germans, by way of England. Shortly thereafter a postponement of this became necessary, and Churchill carried the news to Stalin in Moscow.
In October 1942, the President was advised that military resources were desperately needed at Guadalcanal to prevent overrunning by the Japanese. FDR heeded the advice, redirected armaments and the Japanese Pacific offensive was stalled.
) in November 1942. FDR very much desired the assault be initiated before election day, but did not order it. FDR and Churchill had another war conference in Casablanca in January 1943; Stalin declined an invitation. The Allies agreed strategically that the Mediterranean focus be continued, with the cross-channel invasion coming later, followed by concentration of efforts in the Pacific. Hitler reinforced his military in North Africa, with the result that the Allied efforts there suffered a temporary setback; Allied attempts to counterbalance this were successful, but resulted in war supplies to the USSR being delayed, as well as the second war front. Later, their assault pursued into Sicily
(Operation Husky) followed in July 1943, and of Italy (Operation Avalanche) in September 1943. In 1943 it was apparent to FDR that Stalin, while bearing the brunt of Germany's offensive, had not had sufficient opportunity to participate in war conferences. The President made a concerted effort to arrange a one-on-one meeting with Stalin, in Fairbanks. However, when Stalin learned that Roosevelt and Churchill had postponed the cross-channel invasion a second time, he cancelled. The strategic bombing campaign
was escalated in 1944, pulverizing all major German cities and cutting off oil supplies. It was a 50–50 British-American operation. Roosevelt picked Dwight D. Eisenhower
, and not George Marshall
, to head the Allied cross-channel invasion, Operation Overlord
that began on D-Day
, June 6, 1944. Some of the most costly battles of the war ensued after the invasion, and the Allies were blocked on the German border in the "Battle of the Bulge
" in December 1944. When Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Berlin.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, the Japanese advance reached its maximum extent by June 1942, when the U.S. Navy scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Midway
. American and Australian forces then began a slow and costly progress called island hopping or leapfrogging
through the Pacific Islands, with the objective of gaining bases from which strategic airpower could be brought to bear on Japan and from which Japan could ultimately be invaded. In contrast to Hitler, Roosevelt took no direct part in the tactical naval operations, though he approved strategic decisions. FDR gave way in part to insistent demands from the public and Congress that more effort be devoted against Japan; he always insisted on Germany first.
at the Cairo Conference
in November 1943, and then went to the Tehran Conference
to confer with Churchill and Stalin. While Churchill warned of potential domination by a Stalin dictatorship over eastern Europe, Roosevelt responded with a statement summarizing his rationale for relations with Stalin: "I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. . . . I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace." At the Tehran Conference
, Roosevelt and Churchill discussed plans for a postwar international organization. For his part, Stalin insisted on redrawing the frontiers of Poland. Stalin supported Roosevelt's plan for the United Nations
and promised to enter the war against Japan 90 days after Germany was defeated.
By the beginning of 1945, however, with the Allied armies advancing into Germany and the Soviets in control of Poland, the postwar issues came into the open. In February, Roosevelt traveled to Yalta, in the Soviet Crimea
, to meet again with Stalin and Churchill. While Roosevelt maintained his confidence that Stalin would keep his Yalta promises regarding free elections in eastern Europe, one month after Yalta ended, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averell Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it." Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right."
Declining healthRoosevelt, who turned 62 in 1944, had been in declining health since at least 1940. Noticeably fatigued, in March 1944, he went to Bethesda Hospital for tests, the results of which were startling. The strain of his paralysis and the physical exertion needed to compensate for it for over 20 years had taken their toll, as had many years of stress and smoking. The tests showed Roosevelt had numerous ailments including chronic high blood pressure, systemic atherosclerosis
, coronary artery disease with angina pectoris, and myopathic hypertensive heart disease
with congestive heart failure
Election of 1944Party leaders insisted that Roosevelt drop Henry A. Wallace
, who had been erratic as Vice President and was too pro-Soviet. James F. Byrnes
of South Carolina, a top FDR aide, was considered ineligible because he had left the Catholic Church and Catholic voters would not accept him. Roosevelt replaced Wallace with Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman
, best known for his battle against corruption and inefficiency in wartime spending. The Republicans nominated Thomas E. Dewey, the liberal governor of New York. The opposition lambasted FDR and his administration for domestic corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, tolerance of Communism, and military blunders. Labor unions, which had grown rapidly in the war, threw their all-out support behind Roosevelt. In a relatively close 1944 election
, Roosevelt and Truman won 53% of the vote and carried 36 states. The President campaigned in favor of a strong United Nations, so his victory symbolized support for the nation's future participation in the international community.
Due to the President's health and the ongoing state of war, the President's fourth inauguration was held on the White House lawn.
Last days, death and memorialThe President left the Yalta Conference
on February 12, 1945, and flew to Egypt and boarded the USS Quincy
operating on the Great Bitter Lake
near the Suez Canal
. Aboard Quincy, the next day he met with Farouk I, king of Egypt, and Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia. On February 14, he held a historic meeting with King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, a meeting some historians believe holds profound significance in U.S.-Saudi relations even today. After a final meeting between Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill
, Quincy steamed for Algiers, arriving February 18, at which time Roosevelt conferred with American ambassadors to Britain, France and Italy. At Yalta, Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's physician, commenting on Roosevelt's ill health, said that he was a dying man.
During March 1945, he sent strongly worded messages to Stalin accusing him of breaking his Yalta commitments over Poland, Germany, prisoners of war
and other issues. When Stalin accused the western Allies of plotting a separate peace with Hitler behind his back, Roosevelt replied: "I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment towards your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates."
On March 29, 1945, Roosevelt went to the Little White House
at Warm Springs, Georgia
to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations
. On the afternoon of April 12, Roosevelt said, "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head." He then slumped forward in his chair, unconscious, and was carried into his bedroom. The president's attending cardiologist, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed a massive cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). At 3:35 pm that day, Roosevelt died. As Allen Drury
later said, “so ended an era, and so began another.” After Roosevelt's death an editorial by The New York Times declared, "Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House".
At the time he collapsed, Roosevelt had been sitting for a portrait painting by the artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff
, known as the famous Unfinished Portrait of FDR
had moved in to provide her father companionship and support. Anna had also arranged for her father to meet with his former mistress, the now widowed Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd
. Shoumatoff, who maintained close friendships with both Roosevelt and Mercer, rushed Mercer away to avoid negative publicity and implications of infidelity. When Eleanor heard about her husband's death, she was also faced with the news that Anna had been arranging these meetings with Mercer and that Mercer had been with Franklin when he died.
On the morning of April 13, Roosevelt's body was placed in a flag-draped coffin and loaded onto the presidential train. After a White House funeral on April 14, Roosevelt was transported back to Hyde Park by train, guarded by four servicemen, one each from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. As was his wish, Roosevelt was buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estate
, the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park on April 15. Eleanor, who died in November 1962, was buried next to him.
Roosevelt's death was met with shock and grief across the U.S. and around the world. His declining health had not been known to the general public. Roosevelt had been president for more than 12 years, longer than any other person, and had led the country through some of its greatest crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and to within sight of the defeat of Japan as well.
Less than a month after his death, on May 8, the war in Europe ended. President Harry Truman, who turned 61 that day, dedicated Victory in Europe Day
and its celebrations to Roosevelt's memory, and kept the flags across the U.S. at half-staff for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period. In doing so, Truman said that his only wish was "that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day."
Administration, Cabinet, and Supreme Court appointments 1933–1945President Roosevelt appointed eight Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States
, more than any other President except George Washington
, who appointed ten. By 1941, eight of the nine Justices were Roosevelt appointees. Harlan Fiske Stone was elevated to Chief Justice from the position of Associate Justice by Roosevelt.
Roosevelt's appointees would not share ideologies, and some, like Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter, would become "lifelong adversaries." Frankfurter even labeled his more liberal colleagues Rutledge, Murphy, Black, and Douglas as part of an "Axis" of opposition to his judicially conservative agenda.
Race and civil rightsRoosevelt was a hero to major minority groups, especially African-Americans, Catholics, and Jews, and was highly successful in attracting large majorities of these voters into his New Deal coalition
. He won strong support from Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans, but not Japanese Americans.
African-Americans and Native Americans
fared well in two New Deal relief programs, the Indian Reorganization Act
and the Civilian Conservation Corps
. Sitkoff reported that the WPA "provided an economic floor for the whole black community in the 1930s, rivaling both agriculture and domestic service as the chief source" of income.
Roosevelt needed the support of Southern Democrats for his New Deal programs, and he therefore decided not to push for anti-lynching
legislation that could not pass and might threaten his ability to pass his highest priority programs—though he did denounce lynchings as "a vile form of collective murder".
Historian Kevin J. McMahon claims that strides were made for the civil rights of African Americans. In Roosevelt's Justice Department, the Civil Rights Section worked closely with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP). Roosevelt worked with other civil rights groups on cases dealing with police brutality, lynching, and voting rights abuses.
Beginning in the 1960s FDR was charged with not acting decisively enough to prevent or stop the Holocaust
. Critics cite instances such as the 1939 episode in which 936 Jewish refugees on the SS St. Louis
were denied asylum and not allowed into the United States because of strict laws passed by Congress.
The issue of desegregating the armed forces did not arise, but in 1940 Roosevelt appointed Hastie to be a civilian aide to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. On the home front on June 25, 1941, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802
, forbidding discrimination on account of "race, creed, color, or national origin" in the hiring of workers in defense related industries. This was a precursor to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to come decades later.
Enemy aliens and people of Japanese ancestry fared badly. On February 19, 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066
that applied to everyone classified as an "enemy alien", including people who had dual citizenship living in designated high-risk areas that covered most of the cities on the West Coast. With the U.S at war with Italy, some 600,000 Italian aliens (citizens of Italy who did not have U.S. citizenship) were subjected to strict travel restrictions; the restrictions were lifted in October 1942.
Some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave the West Coast.
From 1942 to 1945, they lived in internment camps inland. Those outside the West Coast, and in Hawaii, were not affected.
, consistent with other surveys. Roosevelt is the sixth most admired
person from the 20th century by U.S. citizens, according to Gallup.
The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Roosevelt's term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Roosevelt's advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations.
Roosevelt firmly established the United States' leadership role on the world stage, with his role in shaping and financing World War II. His isolationist critics faded away, and even the Republicans joined in his overall policies. After his death, his widow continued to be a forceful presence in U.S. and world politics, serving as delegate to the conference which established the United Nations and championing civil rights and liberalism generally. Many members of his administration played leading roles in the administrations of Truman, Kennedy
, each of whom embraced Roosevelt's political legacy.
Reflecting on Roosevelt's presidency, "which brought the United States through the Great Depression and World War II to a prosperous future", said FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith
in 2007, "He lifted himself from a wheelchair to lift the nation from its knees."
Both during and after his terms, critics of Roosevelt
questioned not only his policies and positions
, but even more so the consolidation of power in the White House at a time when dictators were taking over Europe and Asia. Many of the New Deal programs were abolished during the war by FDR's opponents. The powerful new wartime agencies were set up to be temporary and expire at war's end.
Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park
is now a National Historic Site
and home to his Presidential library
. His retreat
at Warm Springs, Georgia is a museum operated by the state of Georgia. His summer retreat on Campobello Island is maintained by the governments of both Canada and the United States as Roosevelt Campobello International Park
; the island is accessible by way of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge
The Roosevelt Memorial
is located in Washington, D.C. next to the Jefferson Memorial
on the Tidal Basin
, and Roosevelt's image appears on the Roosevelt dime. Many parks and schools, as well as an aircraft carrier
and a Paris subway station
and hundreds of streets and squares both across the U.S. and the rest of the world have been named in his honor.
Roosevelt was a strong supporter of scouting
, beginning in 1915. Roosevelt's leadership in the March of Dimes is one reason he is commemorated on the American dime
Roosevelt was honored by the United States Postal Service
with a Prominent Americans series
6¢ postage stamp
, issue of 1966. Roosevelt also appears on several other U.S. Postage stamps.
- FDR's limousineSunshine Special Presidential State Car (United States)The Sunshine Special was the official state car used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States. It is said to have been the "First Presidential car to acquire its own personality" although the exact origin of its nickname is unknown...
- Historical rankings of United States PresidentsHistorical rankings of United States PresidentsIn political science, historical rankings of Presidents of the United States are surveys conducted in order to construct rankings of the success of individuals who have served as President of the United States. Ranking systems are usually based on surveys of academic historians and political...
- Sunrise at CampobelloSunrise at CampobelloSunrise at Campobello is a 1960 American biographical film made by Dore Schary Productions and Warner Bros. It tells the story of the initial struggle by future President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family when he was stricken with paralysis at the age of 39 in August...
- August Adolph GennerichAugust Adolph GennerichAugust Adolph Gennerich was the bodyguard of Franklin Roosevelt who died in Buenos Aires. -Biography:He was born on February 10, 1887 in Yorkville, Manhattan....
, his bodyguard
- Warm SpringsWarm Springs (film)Warm Springs is a 2005 television film about American President Franklin D. Roosevelt's struggle with polio, his discovery of the Warm Springs, Georgia spa resort and his work to turn it into a center for the aid of polio victims, and his resumption of his political career...
- Black, ConradConrad BlackConrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, OC, KCSG, PC is a Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords, and a historian, columnist and publisher, who was for a time the third largest newspaper magnate in the world. Lord Black controlled Hollinger International, Inc...
. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, 2003, ISBN 9781586482824 : interpretive detailed biography
- Brands, H.W. Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2009), ISBN 9780385519588 :despite the title, a favorable biography by scholar online edition
- Freidel, FrankFrank FreidelFrank Freidel was the first major biographer of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and one of the first scholars to work in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers at Hyde Park, New York...
. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny (1990), ISBN 9780316292603 : One-volume scholarly biography; covers entire life
- Freidel, Frank. Franklin D. Roosevelt (4 vol 1952–73), : the most detailed scholarly biography; ends in 1934.
- Davis, Kenneth S.Kenneth S. DavisKenneth Sydney Davis was a historian and university professor, most renowned for his series of biographies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Davis also wrote biographies of Charles Lindbergh, Adlai Stevenson, and authored the first biography of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, entitled Dwight D...
FDR: The Beckoning of Destiny, 1882–1928 (1972), ISBN 9780399109980 : well written popular biography
- Goodwin, Doris KearnsDoris Kearns GoodwinDoris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer and historian, and an oft-seen political commentator. She is the author of biographies of several U.S...
. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (1995), ISBN 9780684804484 : well written popular joint biography
- Jenkins, RoyRoy JenkinsRoy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead OM, PC was a British politician.The son of a Welsh coal miner who later became a union official and Labour MP, Roy Jenkins served with distinction in World War II. Elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1948, he served in several major posts in...
. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2003), ISBN 9780805069594 : short bio from British perspective
- Lash, Joseph P.Joseph P. LashJoseph P. Lash was an American radical political activist, journalist, and author. A close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, Lash won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Award in 1972 for Eleanor and Franklin, the first of two volumes he wrote about the former First Lady.-Early...
Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers (1971), ISBN 9780393074598 : history of a marriage.
- Morgan, Ted, FDR: A biography, (1985), ISBN 9780671454951 : well written popular biography
- Pederson, William D. A Companion to Franklin D. Roosevelt (Blackwell Companions to American History) (2011); 35 essays by scholars
- Ward, Geoffrey C.Geoffrey WardGeoffrey Champion Ward is an author and screenwriter of various documentary presentations of American history. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1962.He was an editor of American Heritage magazine early in his career...
Before The Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt, 1882–1905 (1985), ISBN 9780060154516; A First Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, (1992), ISBN 9780060160661 : covers 1905–1932; well written popular biography
Scholarly secondary sources
- Alter, Jonathan. The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006), ISBN 9780743246002, popular history
- Badger, Anthony. FDR: The First Hundred Days (2008) 200pp; overview by leading British scholar ISBN 0809044412
- Beasley, Maurine, et al. eds. The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (2001), ISBN 0313301816
- Bellush, Bernard; Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York (1955)
- Graham, Otis L. and Meghan Robinson Wander, eds. Franklin D. Roosevelt: His Life and Times. (1985). ISBN 9780816186679, encyclopedia
- Jordan, David M. FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (2011)
- Kennedy, David M. Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945. (1999), ISBN 9780195038347, wide-ranging survey of national affairs by leading scholar
- Leuchtenburg, William E. In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Barack Obama (2009), his long-term influence
- Leuchtenburg, William E. "Showdown on the Court." Smithsonian 2005 36(2): 106–113. Fulltext: at Ebsco
- McMahon, Kevin J. Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown. (2004), ISBN 9780226500881
- Parmet, Herbert S. and Marie B. Hecht; Never Again: A President Runs for a Third Term (1968), on 1940 election online edition
- Pederson, William D. A Companion to Franklin D. Roosevelt (2011) 768 pages; essays by scholars covering major historiographical themes
- Rauchway, Eric. The Great Depression and The New Deal; A Very Short Introduction (2008), ISBN 9780195326345, balanced summary
- Ritchie, Donald A. Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932 (2007), ISBN 9780700616879
- Rosen, Elliot A. Roosevelt, the Great Depression, and the Economics of Recovery. (2005), ISBN 9780813923680
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr., The Age of Roosevelt, 3 vols, (1957–1960), , the classic narrative history. Strongly supports FDR.
- Shaw, Stephen K.; Pederson, William D.; and Williams, Frank J., eds. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Transformation of the Supreme Court. (2004), ISBN 9780765610331
- Sitkoff, Harvard, ed. Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated (1985). ISBN 9780394335483; essays by scholars
Foreign policy and World War II
- Cole, Wayne S. "American Entry into World War II: A Historiographical Appraisal," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Mar. 1957), pp. 595–617. in JSTOR
- Glantz, Mary E. FDR and the Soviet Union: The President's Battles over Foreign Policy. U. Press of Kansas, 2005. 253 pp. ISBN 9780700613656
- Heinrichs, Waldo. Threshold of War. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (1988). ISBN 9780195044249
- Kimball, Warren. The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as World Statesman (1991) ISBN 9780691047874
- Langer, William and S. Everett Gleason. The Challenge to Isolation, 1937–1940 (1952) . The Undeclared War, 1940–1941 (1953) . highly influential two-volume semi-official history
- Larrabee, Eric. Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War. ISBN 9780060390501 Detailed history of how FDR handled the war
- Sherwood, Robert E. Roosevelt and Hopkins: an intimate history (1950), Pulitzer Prize; online edition
- Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994) ISBN 9780521443173. Overall history of the war; strong on diplomacy of FDR and other main leaders online edition
- Woods, Randall Bennett. A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946 (1990) ISBN 9780807818770
- Barnes, Harry Elmer. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Its Aftermath (1953). "revisionist" blames FDR for inciting Japan to attack.
- Best, Gary Dean. The Retreat from Liberalism: Collectivists versus Progressives in the New Deal Years (2002) criticizes intellectuals who supported FDR
- Best, Gary Dean. Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933–1938 Praeger Publishers. 1991; summarizes newspaper editorials
- Conkin, Paul K. New Deal (1975), critique from the left
- Doenecke, Justus D. and Stoler, Mark A. Debating Franklin D. Roosevelt's Foreign Policies, 1933–1945. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 248 pp.
- Flynn, John T.John T. FlynnJohn Thomas Flynn was an American journalist best known for his opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and to American entry into World War II.-Career:...
The Roosevelt Myth (1948), former FDR supporter condemns all aspects of FDR
- Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years (1939) insider memoir by Brain Truster who became conservative
- Russett, Bruce M. No Clear and Present Danger: A Skeptical View of the United States Entry into World War II 2nd ed. (1997) says U.S. should have let USSR and Germany destroy each other
- Plaud, Joseph J. Historical Perspectives on Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Foreign Policy, and the Holocaust (2005).Archived at the FDR American Heritage Center Museum Website
- Powell, Jim. FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression. (2003) ISBN 0761501657
- Robinson, Greg. By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (2001) says FDR's racism was primarily to blame.
- Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933–1939 (2006) compares populist and paternalist features
- Smiley, Gene. Rethinking the Great Depression (1993) short essay by libertarian economist who blames both Hoover and FDR
- Wyman, David S. The Abandonment Of The Jews: America and the Holocaust Pantheon Books, 1984. Attacks Roosevelt for passive complicity in allowing Holocaust to happen
- Braden, Waldo W., and Earnest Brandenburg. "Roosevelt's Fireside Chats." Communication Monographs 22 (1955): 290–302.
- Buhite, Russell D. and David W. Levy, eds. FDR's Fireside Chats (1993)
- Craig, Douglas B. Fireside Politics: Radio and Political Culture in the United States, 1920–1940 (2005)
- Crowell, Laura. "Building the "Four Freedoms" Speech." Communication Monographs 22 (1952): 266–283.
- Crowell, Laura. "Franklin D. Roosevelt's Audience Persuasion in the 1936 Campaign." Communication Monographs 17 (1950): 48–64
- Houck, Davis W. F. D. R. and Fear Itself: The First Inaugural Address. Texas A&M UP, 2002.
- Houck, Davis W. Rhetoric as Currency: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Great Depression. Texas A&M UP, 2001.
- Ryan, Halford Ross. "Roosevelt's First Inaugural: A Study of Technique." Quarterly Journal of Speech 65 (1979): 137–149.
- Ryan, Halford Ross. Franklin D. Roosevelt's Rhetorical Presidency. Greenwood Press, 1988.
- Stelzner, Hermann G. "'War Message,' December 8, 1941: An Approach to Language." Communication Monographs 33 (1966): 419–437.
- Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1951 (1951) full of useful data
- Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 (1976)
- Cantril, Hadley and Mildred Strunk, eds.; Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (1951), massive compilation of many public opinion polls from USA
- Gallup, George Horace, ed. The Gallup Poll; Public Opinion, 1935–1971 3 vol (1972) summarizes results of each poll as reported to newspapers.
- Loewenheim, Francis L. and Harold D. LangleyHarold D. LangleyHarold David Langley is an American diplomatic and naval historian who served as associate curator of naval history at the Smithsonian Institution from 1969...
, eds; Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence (1975)
- Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years (1939), memoir by key Brain Truster
- Nixon, Edgar B. ed. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs (3 vol 1969), covers 1933–37. 2nd series 1937–39 available on microfiche and in a 14 vol print edition at some academic libraries.
- Roosevelt, Franklin D.; Rosenman, Samuel Irving, ed. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (13 vol, 1938, 1945); public material only (no letters); covers 1928–1945.
- Zevin, B. D. ed.; Nothing to Fear: The Selected Addresses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1932–1945 (1946) selected speeches
- Documentary History of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration 20 vol. available in some large academic libraries.
- Roosevelt, Franklin D.; Myron C. Taylor, ed. Wartime Correspondence Between President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII. Prefaces by Pius XII and Harry Truman. Kessinger Publishing (1947, reprinted, 2005). ISBN 1-4191-6654-9
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
- Hyde Park NY Home of FDR
- Campobello Island Summer Home of FDR
- FDR Memorial Washington DC
- The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
- Academic Data Related to the Roosevelt Administration
- TIME Magazine Cover: Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 28, 1923
- Roosevelt at Warm Springs
- Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Museum One of the largest FDR-related resources in the world
- Photographs of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1913-1945 Photographic collection from the National Archives
- Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt(standing on right) and Secretary of the Navy Josephus DanielsJosephus DanielsJosephus Daniels was a newspaper editor and publisher from North Carolina who was appointed by United States President Woodrow Wilson to serve as Secretary of the Navy during World War I...
congratulate Commander Albert C. Read and his crew on their historic crossing of the Atlantic OceanAtlantic OceanThe Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...
in the NC-4NC-4The NC-4 was a Curtiss NC flying boat which was designed by Glenn Curtiss and his team, and manufactured by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. In May 1919, the NC-4 became the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, starting in the United States and making the crossing as far as Lisbon,...
in May 1919.(photo June 30, 1919)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt on The History Channel
- "When the President Takes The Helm Of Yacht" Popular Mechanics, September 1933 - article on President's personal racing yacht
Speeches and quotations: audio and transcripts
- Full audio of over 40 Roosevelt speeches (including a full set of fireside chats) via the Miller Center of Public Affairs (UVa)
- famous quotes
- The American Presidency Project at University of California at Santa Barbara
- FDR - Day of Infamy video clip (2 min.)
- Court "Packing" Speech March 9, 1937
- University of Virginia graduating class speech ("Stab in the Back" speech) June 10, 1940
- IPL POTUS Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- An archive of political cartoons from the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt
- FDR at the Atlantic Conference
- The Happy Warrior a biography of Alfred Smith by Franklin D. Roosevelt
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