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Franklin D Roosevelt: 32nd President: Longest Serving

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else we're 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, 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 could not 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

Fireside Chats and the New Deal

When Roosevelt entered Office in November 1932, people were hopeful, especially since the democratic slogan was "happy days are here again." Unfortunately, the Great Depression, the worst depression the nation 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 to get the country back on track. One of the most notable was passing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Act, part of the "New Deal." The "New Deal" was a reform program that he hoped would help all of 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" improved the country, the businessmen and bankers became weary of his plans because of FDR's aggressive actions. First, 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 being attacked. Roosevelt sent England aid but no military involvement when Germany attacked them in 1940. Despite his resistance to 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 Nations, except it would successfully form this time. 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 of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945.

Fun Facts

  • First president to ride in an airplane during the presidency in January 1943. He flew a Boeing 314 from Miami to Morocco for a Casablanca Conference. There were six stops on the way.
  • 5th cousin to Theodore Roosevelt.
  • He was the first president whose 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

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Basic Facts

Question Answer


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.

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


Brad on April 21, 2016:

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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