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Franklin Roosevelt

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9 November, 2010.


"I'll tell you, at night when I lay my head on my pillow, and it is often pretty late, and I think of the things that have come before me during the day and the decisions that I have made, I say to myself -- well, I have done the best I could and turn over and go to sleep."

This simple statement of Franklin Roosevelt to his friend during the toughest time of his presidency makes it evident to us that Franklin Roosevelt was a man with confidence in himself and his leadership capabilities. (Smith) This Essay aims to depict the different aspects of 32nd president of the United States.

Birth and Childhood

Franklin Delano Roosevelt nicknamed as "FDR" was born on January 30, 1882 in New York's Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park in a very socially privileged and a financially strong family of Roosevelt to James and Sara Roosevelt. Besides being an only child of a possessive mother and elderly father he was also a distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt and a relative of 5th U.S President James Monroe's wife.

Student Life

Franklin got the best of education by home tutors until attending Groton School, a very prestigious Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts, at the age of 14. In his school he was heavily influenced by his headmasters and his preaching's of helping the less fortunate. These teachings of his headmaster had a profound effect on his personality. After his school Roosevelt went to Harvard and did very well there. Besides being a good student at his university he was also the president of "The Harvard Crimson" daily newspaper. During the time of his studies at Harvard Franklins fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States and also Franklin's hero and role model due to his leadership style and zeal. After graduating from Harvard in 1904, he entered Columbia Law School but dropped out in 1907 when he cleared the New York Bar exam.(History Central)

Besides being a competent student Roosevelt was also keenly interested in sports like riding, shooting, Rowing, Polo and lawn tennis. He also took up Golf as a hobby in his late teens and later on became highly skilled as a long hitter. According to his wife Eleanor Golf was his favourite sport. During the period of his Presidency he designed a golf course in the complex he brought in Georgia.

Personal Life

Franklin was fifth cousin of his wife, their first serious encounter as group up was at a White House reception because his future wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, was Theodore's niece. Despite the fierce objection of his mother, Sara, Franklin married Eleanor on March 17, 1905. The couple after their marriage moved to Franklin's family estate Spring Wood. He had six children with his wife of which one didn't survive the infancy.

Franklin and Eleanor marriage was shaky from the start due to huge personality differences between the two. Where Franklin was a socially active, charismatic man, Eleanor did not like social life and was shy. This personality conflict is through to be the basis of his affairs outside his marriage especially with Lucy Mercer, his wife social secretary. His affairs with Lucy Mercer which started in 1914, soon after her appointment was the reason that his marriage got on the verge of divorce but the divorce did not take place because of Lucy's denial to marry Franklin after his divorce due to her being Catholic. So the couple reunited again but their marriage even after the reconciliation took the form of a political partnership rather than an intimate relationship, for the rest of their life. However Franklin affair with Lucy after some time resumed again in 1941 or may be earlier despite his promise to his mother to discontinue it and was so intense that it continued till Franklin death.

Political Life


Franklin like his father was a Democrat. He in 1910 tried politics by making a run for New York State Senate from Hyde Park district. No Democrat had been elected from this district since 1884. But he used his family's name, wealth, prestige and influence in the area to win the position and did so. He took his seat on January 1, 1911. After his election as a senator he upset the party bosses by becoming the leader of a group "Insurgents" which was against the Tammany Machine domination in the Democratic Party. He supported a rebel Democrat as senator for New York and succeeded in his efforts when James A. O' Gorman was elected instead of Tammany Machine's choice William F. Sheehan. Franklin and his group received a lot of publicity in the New York City politics due to this. After Franklin re-election in the State Senate in 1912 he actively backed Woodrow Wilson in the presidential election against his cousin Theodore Roosevelt. Wilson won and rewarded Franklin with the position of Assistant Secretary of Navy due to which he resigned from the Senate on March 17, 1913.

Assistant Secretary U.S Navy

Franklin Roosevelt was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1913. He served under Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy. His major work as assistant secretary was towards the expansion of American Navy and in this regard he founded United States Navy Reserve. He also claimed to be the writer of the constitution imposed by U.S on Haiti in 1915.

Roosevelt efforts had resulted in smooth and effective working of the American Naval plants and yards by the time the country entered the First World War in 1917. During the world war he helped to develop the battle plans of the North Sea, which broke success of German U-boat Warfare. In July 1920 he resigned from navy to run for Vice President.

Vice- Presidency Campaign

In 1920, Franklin D. Roosevelt was selected as the candidate for vice president by James Cox, Democratic candidate for president but they lost the election heavily to the Republican candidate Warren G. Harding. After the defeat Franklin retired from politics to a New York Legal practice.

Paralytic Illness

In August1921, when Franklin Roosevelt was vacationing in Canada he was



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