Franklin D Roosevelt: 32nd President: Longest Serving

Updated on December 1, 2019
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Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.

Official Presidential Portrait


Suffered from Polio

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, which now is a national historic site. He attended Harvard University and got a law degree at Columbia Law School. When he was in his young twenties, on Saint Patrick's Day in 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a great companion and support for him.

In 1910, he ran for the New York Senate and won. President Wilson recognized his vast potential and chose him to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy, then became the Democratic nominee for Vice-President in 1920.

When he was 39, during the summer of 1921, he suffered from poliomyelitis, more commonly known as polio, which harmed his legs, but it did not slow him down. He worked hard to regain the use of his legs through exercise, such as swimming. He soon learned to walk using bulky leg braces and crutches, though at times used a wheelchair.

Since he was unable to move around, during his political career, he often delegated others to travel and represent him during appearances. His wife Eleanor was one of his great helpers, appearing for him many times.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen R. Roosevelt (FDR's half-niece, daughter of James "Rosy" Roosevelt) and James Roosevelt (FDR's father) at Campobello Island, 1899
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen R. Roosevelt (FDR's half-niece, daughter of James "Rosy" Roosevelt) and James Roosevelt (FDR's father) at Campobello Island, 1899 | Source

Fireside Chats and the New Deal

When Roosevelt entered Office in November 1932, people were very hopeful, especially since the democratic slogan was "happy days are here again." Unfortunately, the Great Depression, the worst depression the nation has ever experienced, only persisted and became worse. By March of the following year, 130 million people were unemployed. Businesses were failing, and most of the banks had closed. This trend continued for years to come.

Fortunately, Franklin was a positive influence over the American people as he talked on the radio in what became known as the "fireside chats." He often declared that the United States would revive, and one of his most famous quotes was, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

He backed these great words with action in his first one hundred days in office. The new president passed a lot of legislation in an attempt to get the country back on track. One of the most notable was passing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Act, which was part of the "New Deal." The "New Deal" was a reform program that he hoped would help all America, especially the poor. Through the TVA, they improved access to the Tennessee River and provided flood control that increased the profitability of farmland. Although some of it was controversial, it did bring electricity to many people at a very affordable price, among other things.

Although the "New Deal" did improve the country, the businessmen and bankers became weary of his plans, because of the aggressive actions FDR took. First of all, he allowed deficits in the budget and took the nation off the gold standard. Seeing their displeasure, he began a new reform program through Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, enormous work relief programs for those who were unemployed, and new controls over public utilities and banks.

As far as international affairs, Roosevelt pledged the US to the "good neighbor" policy during World War II. He wanted to keep out of the war in Europe while helping those nations that were being attacked. Roosevelt sent England aid, but no military involvement when Germany attacked them in 1940. Despite his resistance in entering World War II, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he felt there was no choice but to enter the war and lead the country against Tojo's Japan.

Due to FDR's desire for peace between countries, he chose to begin work on the United Nations. It was similar to Woodrow Wilson's League of Nation's, except this time, it would successfully form. Unfortunately, Roosevelt would never see his work accomplished, as it finished assembling six months after his death.

He served longer than any other president by serving four terms. Due to the 22nd Amendment ratified in 1951, no other president will ever serve longer, as it states, "no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice." His fourth term was cut short when he became very ill and died at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Excerpt from the History Channel

Fun Facts

  • First president to ride in an airplane during the presidency in January 1943. He flew in a Boeing 314 from Miami to Morocco for a Casablanca Conference. There were six stops on the way.
  • 5th cousin to Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The first president that his mother was allowed to vote for him.
  • He was one of 8 presidents who died while in office.
  • The longest-serving president that ever has and ever will serve due to the 22nd Amendment that prohibits any president from serving more than two terms.
  • Due to polio was confined to a wheelchair and leg braces most of his adult life.

Secretary of the Navy


Basic Facts

January 30, 1882 - New York
President Number
Military Service
Wars Served
Age at Beginning of Presidency
51 years old
Term of Office
March 4, 1933 - April 12, 1945
How Long President
12 years
John Nance Garner (1933–41) Henry A. Wallace (1941–45) Harry S. Truman (1945)
Age and Year of Death
April 12, 1945 (aged 63)
Cause of Death
cerebral hemmorhage
12/11/1941 - United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany, marking US entry into World War II in Europe. Senator Tom Connally stands by holding a watch to fix the exact time of the declaration.
12/11/1941 - United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany, marking US entry into World War II in Europe. Senator Tom Connally stands by holding a watch to fix the exact time of the declaration. | Source

List of American Presidents

1. George Washington
16. Abraham Lincoln
31. Herbert Hoover
2. John Adams
17. Andrew Johnson
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
3. Thomas Jefferson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
33. Harry S. Truman
4. James Madison
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
5. James Monroe
20. James Garfield
35. John F. Kennedy
6. John Quincy Adams
21. Chester A. Arthur
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
7. Andrew Jackson
22. Grover Cleveland
37. Richard M. Nixon
8. Martin Van Buren
23. Benjamin Harrison
38. Gerald R. Ford
9. William Henry Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
39. James Carter
10. John Tyler
25. William McKinley
40. Ronald Reagan
11. James K. Polk
26. Theodore Roosevelt
41. George H. W. Bush
12. Zachary Taylor
27. William Howard Taft
42. William J. Clinton
13. Millard Fillmore
28. Woodrow Wilson
43. George W. Bush
14. Franklin Pierce
29. Warren G. Harding
44. Barack Obama
15. James Buchanan
30. Calvin Coolidge
45. Donald Trump


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2006). Theodore Roosevelt. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from
  • Kaplan, M. (2010). FDR and the United Nations: An Enduring Legacy. Retrieved April 21, 2016, from
  • Sullivan, G. (2001). Mr. President: A book of U.S. presidents. New York: Scholastic.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from
  • U.S. Presidential Fun Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from
  • What are some interesting facts about presidents and first ladies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from

© 2016 Angela Michelle Schultz


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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      4 years ago

      FDR saddled us with Social Security, A tax with a promise of one day benefiting you when you retire. The federal government employees were originally exempt from contributing to SS. But, the government kept spending the SS contributions faster than the population could provide new workers to contribute. So the government added federal workers to SS. These workers treat SS as a bonus, while the US taxpayers foot the bill for their real defined benefits retirement. (FERS).

      You have to look at FERS to see how SS is treated differently for government employees.

      Today, SS doesn't have enough new workers to keep it in the black. In addition, the baby boomers are retiring and that is draining the SS. The 65 age is now 67 and may go higher to forestall SS running out of money. Which will happen in the near future.

      The other thing about SS is that you never stop contributing into it, as long as you earn a wage. Even if you are already receiving SS benefits.

      That means contributing for 50 or more years.

      FERS is managed by a private company and not like the SS which is run by congress. Workers would be better off using the 12.4% FICA and having a FERS type retirement privately managed system.

      LBJ compounded SS by tagging Medicare on it.

      Over the years, Medicare has had a lot of fraud that cost the people a lot of lost money that could have been used for them.

      FDR didn't get the country out of the depression, that was done by WWII which cranked the country into producing expensive war products. FDR actually started selling weapons to England years before WWII started for us.

      FDR may have had good intentions, but he left us with his failure, SS.


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