Franklin D. Roosevelt
American History II
A great leader is someone who can lead a country through the best times and through the worst times. It is someone that can take a bad situation and turn it into a good one. On January 20, 1882, one of these great leaders was born. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York. He was born to James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano, who both came from wealthy New York families. Growing up, Franklin was a very lucky boy; he took frequent trips to Europe and learned many things such as sailing, horse riding, and polo among other things. Franklin attended Harvard, and then later he went to Columbia Law School but he did not graduate. Even though he did not graduate from Columbia Law School, he obtained enough knowledge to pass the New York Bar Exam. While in school at Harvard in 1902, he met his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, who was his fifth cousin.
Franklin Roosevelt’s career started out kind of slow. With his law degree he obtained a job with a large firm known as Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, who dealt mainly with corporate law. After working with this firm, Franklin decided that he was ready for bigger and better things. In 1910, he ran for state senate in New York. The odds were against him seeing how a democrat had not been elected in the Hyde Park district since 1882. But the name Roosevelt was a well-known name in New York at the time, it was associated with wealth and prestige, so the democrats won in a landslide that year. Roosevelt took office on January 1, 1911, and would end up serving a consecutive term. This would soon open doors for Roosevelt; President Woodrow Wilson asked him to become the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Roosevelt gladly accepted. Roosevelt developed a life-long affection for the navy while serving as assistant secretary. He worked diligently to expand the Navy and the Navy Reserve. In July of 1920, Roosevelt was ready for something else so he resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and prepared to run for vice president. He was running alongside Governor of Ohio, James M. Cox. The Cox-Roosevelt ticket lost to the Republican candidate, William G. Harding, by a wide margin. After this loss, Roosevelt returned home to New York and began practicing law again. Very few thought that he would run for re-election.
After losing the election of 1920, it seemed that things could not be worse for Roosevelt, but that surely wasn’t the case. While vacationing in Canada, Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio. This resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down and having to use a wheel chair for the rest of his life. Roosevelt knew that if he was going to run for public office again that he would have to convince the public that he was getting better. Therefore, he taught himself how to walk again, but this time with iron braces around his legs and hips. In 1928, Roosevelt was asked to run for governor in the state election; he narrowly won by a 1 percent margin. He then ran for a second term and reiterated some of the same things that he had stated during his first term, "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." He was reelected for a second term as governor. But once again, this was not enough for Roosevelt. He was ready to run for president, and why not, he had a strong base in the most populous state, and he was the obvious choice to run for president against Herbert Hoover in the 1932 election. 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. Roosevelt was ready for this new responsibility as president. He was ready to introduce his New Deal to...
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