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“A Day Which Will Live In Infamy” Analysis
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on 30 January 1882 at his family's estate in New York State. His father was a businessman. He attended Harvard and Columbia University Law School, but had little enthusiasm for the legal profession (Beschloss 1). Franklin D. Roosevelt spent his early years at his family home in Hyde Park. Since he was tutored at home and traveled extensively with his family, Roosevelt did not spend much time with others his age. In 1896, at age 14, Roosevelt was sent for his first formal schooling at the prestigious preparatory boarding school, Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts (Rosenberg 2). While at Groton, Roosevelt was an average student. In 1900, Roosevelt entered Harvard University. Only a few months into his first year at Harvard, Roosevelt's father died. During his college years, Roosevelt became very active with the school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and became its managing editor in 1903 (Rosenberg 4). Franklin and Eleanor were married two years later, on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1905. Within the next eleven years, they had six children, five of whom lived past infancy ( Rosenberg 7). Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to rise in politics like his fifth cousin President Theodore Roosevelt. Even though Franklin D. Roosevelt's political career looked very promising, he did not win every election. Having lost, Roosevelt decided to take a short break from politics and re-enter the business world. Just a few months later, Roosevelt became sick. Dr. Robert Lovett diagnosed him with polio after a week when they came back from vacation. Despite the paralysis, Roosevelt kept his humor and charisma. Unfortunately, he also still had pain. At this spa in Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt subsequently built a house (known as "the Little White House") and established a polio treatment center to help other polio sufferers (Koch 4). In 1928, Franklin D. Roosevelt was asked to run for governor of New York. While he wanted back into politics, FDR had to determine whether or not his body was strong enough to withstand a gubernatorial campaign. In the end, he decided he could do it. Roosevelt won the election in 1928 for governor of New York and then won again in 1930 (Bassanese 13). During his term, social security tax was passed. Eleanor Roosevelt stayed active in politics, championing civil rights, and writing a daily syndicated newspaper column called, “My Day.” After her husband’s death, she continued her own career as an American spokeswoman in the United Nations.

Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor (Freeman 3). At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United. President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places.

Roosevelt's audience in his First Inaugural Address was, of course, the American people, but his immediate listeners were some 150,000 people “spread over forty acres facing the Capitol,” writes Jean Edward Smith. While Roosevelt dealt with the spirit of the American people, he also targeted the business and banking sectors. Except for his one statement about his “good neighbor policy,” Roosevelt did not...
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