Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)

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His upbringing was very unlike the common people whom he would later champion. In , Roosevelt attended Groton School for boys, a prestigious Episcopal preparatory school in Massachusetts. The experience was a difficult one for him, as he did not fit in with the other students. Groton men excelled in athletics and Roosevelt did not. He strived to please the adults and took to heart the teachings of Groton's headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who urged students to help the less fortunate through public service.

After graduating from Groton in , Roosevelt entered Harvard University , determined to make something of himself. Though only a "C" student, he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper and received his degree in only three years.

Franklin D Roosevelt

Roosevelt went on to study law at Columbia University Law School and passed the bar exam in , though he didn't receive a degree. For the next three years, he practiced corporate law in New York, living the typical upper-class life. But Roosevelt found law practice boring and restrictive. He set his sights on greater accomplishments. Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt , his fifth cousin and the niece of Theodore Roosevelt, on March 17, Except for John, who chose a career as a businessman, all of the Roosevelts' children had careers in politics and public service.

In , at age 28, Roosevelt was invited to run for the New York state senate. He ran as a Democrat in a district that had voted Republican for the past 32 years. Through hard campaigning and the help of his name, he won the seat in a Democratic landslide. As a state senator, Roosevelt opposed elements of the Democratic political machine in New York. This won him the ire of party leaders but gained him national notoriety and valuable experience in political tactics and intrigue. During this time, he formed an alliance with Louis Howe, who would shape his political career for the next 25 years.

Roosevelt was re-elected to the state senate in and served as chair of the agricultural committee, passing farm and labor bills and social welfare programs.

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During the National Democratic Convention, Roosevelt supported presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson and was rewarded with an appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the same job Theodore Roosevelt had used to catapult himself to the presidency. Roosevelt was an energetic and efficient administrator. He specialized in business operations, working with Congress to get budgets approved and systems modernized, and he founded the U. Naval Reserve. But he was restless in the position as "second chair" to his boss, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who was less enthusiastic about supporting a large and efficient naval force.

In , Roosevelt decided to run for the U. Senate seat for New York.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Selected full-text books and articles

The proposition was doomed from the start, as he lacked White House support. President Wilson needed the Democratic political machine to get his social reforms passed and ensure his re-election. He could not support Roosevelt, who had made too many political enemies among New York Democrats. Roosevelt was soundly defeated in the primary election and learned a valuable lesson that national stature could not defeat a well-organized local political organization. Still, Roosevelt took to Washington politics and found his career thriving as he developed more personal relationships.

At the Democratic Convention, he accepted the nomination for vice president, as James M. Cox's running mate.

The pair was soundly defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding in the general election, but the experience gave Roosevelt national exposure. Roosevelt repaired his relationship with New York's Democratic political machine. He appeared at the and Democratic National Conventions to nominate New York governor Al Smith for president, which increased his national exposure. When Eleanor discovered the affair, she gave Franklin an ultimatum in to stop seeing Lucy or she would file for divorce.


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Roosevelt agreed to stop seeing Mercer romantically, but years later began secretly see Mercer again. She was, in fact, with him at the time of his death. In , at the age of 39, Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio while vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. At first, refusing to accept that he was permanently paralyzed, Roosevelt tried numerous therapies and even bought the Warm Springs resort in Georgia seeking a cure.

Despite his efforts, he never regained the use of his legs. He later established a foundation at Warm Springs to help others and instituted the March of Dimes program that eventually funded an effective polio vaccine. For a time, Roosevelt was resigned to being a victim of polio, believing his political career to be over.

Historians, Teachers, Authors Take a Fresh, Sometimes Critical, Look at Roosevelt

But his wife Eleanor and political confidante Louis Howe encouraged him to continue on. Over the next several years, Roosevelt worked to improve his physical and political image. He taught himself to walk short distances in his braces. And he was careful not to be seen in public using his wheelchair. Roosevelt was narrowly elected, and the victory gave him confidence that his political star was rising. As governor, FDR believed in progressive government and instituted a number of new social programs.

Following the stock market crash of , Republicans were being blamed for the Great Depression.

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Sensing opportunity, Roosevelt began his run for the presidency by calling for government intervention in the economy to provide relief, recovery and reform. His upbeat, positive approach and personal charm helped him defeat Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover in November When FDR ran for his second term in , he was re-elected to office on November 3, , in a landslide against Alfred M. Early in , Roosevelt had not publicly announced that he would run for an unprecedented third term as president.

F.D.R - The Four-Term President

At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Roosevelt swept aside all challengers and received the nomination. In November , he won the presidential election against Republican Wendell Willkie. Roosevelt selected Missouri Senator Harry S. A good rule of thumb is that series have a conventional name and are intentional creations , on the part of the author or publisher.

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