Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (also commonly referred to as FDR) was a man who wore various hats. These hats could be divided into two categories: personal and professional. He wore his personal hat as a son, husband, and father. He wore the professional hat when he was a Senator, Assistant Secretary to the Navy, Governor, and President. Many people are thankful he did not listen to what President Cleveland told him as a child, "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you. It is that you may never be President of the United States" (Smith 23).
Franklin was raised by a wealthy family; so wealthy that his father did not have to work. His father and mother were very active during Franklin's childhood. The fifty-three year difference between him and his father did not set him back. His mother was very protective (because he was the only child) and seldom allowed him to play with other children (Knapp 14-5). Like other wealthy children, Franklin did not attend public school. Instead, a tutor would come to their mansion to educate young Franklin (Freedman 9). He was fortunate to have the prestigious life that he had.
At age fourteen Franklin left home to go to a "prep school" called Groton. It was hard for him at first because all the other boys had been there for two years (Osinski 16). Four years later he graduated and wanted to go to the Naval Academy, but his parents wanted him to go to Harvard instead (Ryan 1). He started Harvard University in 1900. Later that fall he received the news about his father, who had suffered from a fatal heart attack and passed away on December 8, 1900. After his father's demise, Franklin and his mother took a ten week trip to Europe. They visited places that were important to his mother's childhood. While in Paris, they heard the news about President McKinley being shot. Twelve days later they got this message by megaphone: "President McKinley died last Saturday." Cousin Theodore was now the President. When Franklin returned back to school, he had been elected to be on the editorial board of The Harvard Crimson. He later went on to become editor-in-chief. Though he earned his degree in June 1903, he stayed in college another year to pass on his editorial duties (Smith 31). One biographer had written "At Groton, Roosevelt learned to get along with his contemporaries; at Harvard he learned to lead them" (Smith 33).
During his years at Harvard he met Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once removed (Ryan 2). His mother did not like Eleanor at first because she did not like the idea of another woman being in Franklin's life ("Roosevelt, Franklin D." 454). On October 11, 1904, which was Eleanor's twentieth birthday, Franklin gave her a large diamond engagement ring (Smith 47). On March 17, 1905 Franklin and Eleanor were married by Reverend Endicott Peabody (Franklin's headmaster from Groton). Eleanor's Uncle Teddy walked her down the aisle and gave her away in place of her father (Osinski28). Franklin and Eleanor remained together for the rest of their lives, despite his occasional infidelity (Ryan 2).
After graduating from Harvard, Franklin started Columbia University Law School in 1904. Midway through his third year, he passed the bar examination and dropped out only a year before receiving his degree ("Roosevelt, Franklin D." 454). He took up a job with the distinguished Wall Street firm of Carter, Ledyard, and Milburn. One of his Harvard classmates, Grenville Clark, remembered Franklin saying that he was not going to practice law forever. Instead, FDR wanted to run for office at the first chance he gets and eventually run for President of the United States. He set steps to reach his goal: obtain a seat in the State Assembly, get appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and then governorship of New York. FDR believed that anyone who was governor of New York had a great chance of becoming President (Smith 59). His law career ended with the beginning of...
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