Roosevelt, Franklin Delano (1882-1945) was 32nd president of the United States (1933-1945). Roosevelt served longer than any other president. His unprecedented election to four terms in office will probably never be repeated; the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, passed after his death, denies the right of any person to be elected president more than twice.
Roosevelt held office during two of the greatest crises ever faced by the United States: the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by World War II. His domestic program, known as the New Deal, introduced far-reaching reforms within the free enterprise system and prepared the way for what is often called the welfare state. His leadership of the Democratic Party transformed it into a political vehicle for American liberalism. Both in peacetime and in war his impact on the office of president was enormous. Although there had been strong presidents before him, they were the exception. In Roosevelt's 12 years in office strong executive leadership became a basic part of United States government. He made the office of president the center of diplomatic initiative and the focus of domestic reform.
II EARLY LIFE
Roosevelt was born at his family's estate at Hyde Park, in Dutchess County, New York. He was the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. James Roosevelt was a moderately successful businessman, with a variety of investments and a special interest in coal. He was also a conservative Democrat who was interested in politics. His home overlooking the Hudson River was comfortable without being ostentatious, and the family occupied a prominent position among the social elite of the area. Sara Delano, 26 years younger than her previously widowed husband, brought to the marriage a fortune considerably larger than that of James Roosevelt. The Delano family had prospered trading with China, and Sara herself had spent some time with her parents in Hong... [continues]
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