Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), commonly known as FDR, served as the 32nd President of the United States, from 1933 to 1945.
Roosevelt was born in 1882, to a prominent Dutch family from Dutchess County, New York. He attended the elite Groton School and Harvard College. He married Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom he had six children. Roosevelt fought with polio since 1921.
He entered politics in 1910, serving in the New York State Senate, and then as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson. In 1920, Roosevelt ran for vice president with presidential candidate James M. Cox, but lost to the Republican ticket. He successfully ran for Governor of New York in 1928.
In 1932 Roosevelt successfully defeated Republican president Herbert Hoover to win the presidency of the United States. In his first hundred days in office, Roosevelt initiated an unprecedented legislation and issued a number of executive orders that instituted the New Deal programs.
He created numerous programs supporting the unemployed and farmers, encouraged labor union growth while more closely regulating business and Wall street finance. The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 helped FDR to win re-election in 1936. The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937 but then relapsed into a deep recession in 1937–38.
As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggression of Nazi Germany, Roosevelt gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and the United Kingdom, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy", which would supply munitions to the Allies.
In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to Britain and China. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, United States declared war on Japan and, a few days later, on Germany. During the war, unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to wartime factory jobs or entered military service.
Roosevelt supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy. As an active military leader, he implemented a war strategy on two fronts that ended in the defeat of the Axis Powers and the development of the world's first nuclear bomb. His work also influenced the later creation of the United Nations and Bretton Woods. Roosevelt's health seriously declined during the war years, and he died three months into his fourth term.
"If you treat people right they will treat you right... ninety percent of the time."