154 Facts About Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won election to the New York State Senate in 1910, and then served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson during World War I Roosevelt was James M Cox's running mate on the Democratic Party's 1920 national ticket, but Cox was defeated by Republican Warren G Harding.

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In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted a paralytic illness, believed at the time to be polio, and his legs became permanently paralyzed.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as governor from 1929 to 1933, promoting programs to combat the economic crisis besetting the United States.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt called for the creation of programs designed to produce relief, recovery, and reform.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted major regulatory reforms related to finance, communications, and labor.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt frequently used radio to speak directly to the American people, giving 30 "fireside chat" radio addresses during his presidency and became the first American president to be televised.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940 for his third term, making him the only US president to serve for more than two terms.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the war effort and implemented a Europe first strategy, initiating the Lend-Lease program and making the defeat of Germany first a priority over that of Japan.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration oversaw the construction of The Pentagon, initiated the development of the world's first atomic bomb, and worked with other Allied leaders to lay the groundwork for the United Nations and other post-war institutions.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won re-election in the 1944 presidential election on his post-war recovery platform.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30,1882, in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York, to businessman James Roosevelt I and his second wife, Sara Ann Delano.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt learned to ride; shoot; and sail; and play polo, tennis, and golf.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt then attended Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not among the more popular Groton students, who were better athletes and had rebellious streaks.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and the Fly Club, and served as a school cheerleader.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was relatively undistinguished as a student or athlete, but he became editor-in-chief of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper, a position that required ambition, energy, and the ability to manage others.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's father died in 1900, causing great distress for him.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School in 1904 but dropped out in 1907 after passing the New York Bar Examination.

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In 1903 Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed to Eleanor, and after resistance from his mother, they were married on March 17,1905.

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Burns indicates young Franklin Delano Roosevelt was self-assured and at ease in the upper class, while Eleanor was then shy and disliked social life, and initially stayed home to raise their children.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had several extra-marital affairs, including with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer, soon after she was hired in 1914, and discovered by Eleanor in 1918.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt contemplated divorcing Eleanor, but Sara objected, and Lucy would not marry a divorced man with five children.

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The emotional break in their marriage was so severe that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Eleanor in 1942—in light of his failing health—to come back home and live with him again, she refused.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not always aware of when she visited the White House and for some time she could not easily reach him on the telephone without his secretary's help; Roosevelt, in turn, did not visit Eleanor's New York City apartment until late 1944.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt broke his promise to Eleanor as he and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941 or earlier.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt cared little for the practice of law and told friends he planned to enter politics.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the personality and energy for campaigning, and he had the money to pay for his own campaign.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt feared that opposition from Theodore could end his campaign, but Theodore encouraged his candidacy despite their party differences.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed Tammany Hall by supporting New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson's successful bid for the 1912 Democratic nomination.

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The election became a three-way contest when Theodore Franklin Delano Roosevelt left the Republican Party to launch a third party campaign against Wilson and sitting Republican President William Howard Taft.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt overcame a bout of typhoid fever, and with help from journalist Louis McHenry Howe, he was re-elected in the 1912 elections.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had then become more consistently progressive, in support of labor and social welfare programs.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had an affection for the Navy, was well-read on the subject, and was a most ardent supporter of a large, efficient force.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt oversaw the Navy's civilian employees and earned the respect of union leaders for his fairness in resolving disputes.

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In 1914, Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for the seat of retiring Republican Senator Elihu Root of New York.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was without Wilson's support, as the president needed Tammany's forces for his legislation and 1916 re-election.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary by Gerard, who in turn lost the general election to Republican James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt learned that federal patronage alone, without White House support, could not defeat a strong local organization.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt refocused on the Navy Department, as World War I broke out in Europe in August 1914.

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The Wilson administration initiated an expansion of the Navy after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German submarine, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped establish the United States Navy Reserve and the Council of National Defense.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt requested that he be allowed to serve as a naval officer, but Wilson insisted that he continue to serve as Assistant Secretary.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt became very ill with influenza and complicating pneumonia, but recovered by the time the ship landed in New York.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt approached Herbert Hoover about running for the 1920 Democratic presidential nomination, with Roosevelt as his running mate.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally supported US membership in the League of Nations, but, unlike Wilson, he favored compromising with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and other "Reservationists".

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted the loss without issue and later reflected that the relationships and goodwill that he built in the 1920 campaign proved to be a major asset in his 1932 campaign.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to build support for a political comeback in the 1922 elections, but his career was derailed by illness.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt convinced many people that he was improving, which he believed to be essential prior to running for public office again.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt laboriously taught himself to walk short distances while wearing iron braces on his hips and legs by swiveling his torso, supporting himself with a cane.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was careful never to be seen using his wheelchair in public, and great care was taken to prevent any portrayal in the press that would highlight his disability.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt maintained contacts with the Democratic Party during the 1920s, and he remained active in New York politics while establishing contacts in the South, particularly in Georgia.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an open letter endorsing Al Smith's successful campaign in New York's 1922 gubernatorial election, which both aided Smith and showed Roosevelt's continuing relevance as a political figure.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave presidential nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic National Conventions; the speech at the 1924 convention marked a return to public life following his illness and convalescence.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt accused Moses of using the name recognition of prominent individuals including Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win political support for state parks, but then diverting funds to the ones Moses favored on Long Island, while Moses worked to block the appointment of Howe to a salaried position as the Taconic commission's secretary.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt served on the commission until the end of 1928, and his contentious relationship with Moses continued as their careers progressed.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the leisure time and the interest, and he drafted a plan for the contest.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt never submitted it because his wife Eleanor Roosevelt was selected as a judge for the prize.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's plan called for a new world organization that would replace the League of Nations.

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Smith, the Democratic presidential nominee in the 1928 election, asked Franklin Delano Roosevelt to run for governor of New York in the 1928 state election.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt initially resisted, as he was reluctant to leave Warm Springs and feared a Republican landslide in 1928.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the party's gubernatorial nomination by acclamation and again turned to Howe to lead his campaign.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was joined on the campaign trail by associates Samuel Rosenman, Frances Perkins, and James Farley.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed the construction of hydroelectric power plants and addressed the ongoing farm crisis of the 1920s.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt began holding "fireside chats", in which he directly addressed his constituents via radio, often pressuring the New York State Legislature to advance his agenda.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw the seriousness of the situation and established a state employment commission.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first governor to publicly endorse the idea of unemployment insurance.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed an economic relief package and the establishment of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration to distribute those funds.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt began an investigation into corruption in New York City among the judiciary, the police force, and organized crime, prompting the creation of the Seabury Commission.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt supported reforestation with the Hewitt Amendment in 1931, which gave birth to New York's State Forest system.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt rallied the progressive supporters of the Wilson administration while appealing to many conservatives, establishing himself as the leading candidate in the South and West.

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The chief opposition to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's candidacy came from Northeastern conservatives, Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas and Al Smith, the 1928 Democratic presidential nominee.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered the convention with a delegate lead due to his success in the 1932 Democratic primaries, but most delegates entered the convention unbound to any particular candidate.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt flew in from New York to Chicago after learning that he had won the nomination, becoming the first major-party presidential nominee to accept the nomination in person.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's appearance was essential, to show himself as vigorous, despite the ravaging disease that disabled him physically.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's statements attacked the incumbent and included no other specific policies or programs.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt reconciled with the party's conservative wing, and even Al Smith was persuaded to support the Democratic ticket.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's victory was enabled by the creation of the New Deal coalition, small farmers, the Southern whites, Catholics, big city political machines, labor unions, northern African Americans, Jews, intellectuals, and political liberals.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in November 1932 but like his predecessors did not take office until the following March.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused Hoover's request to develop a joint program to stop the economic decline, claiming that it would tie his hands and that Hoover had the power to act.

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William H Woodin, a Republican industrialist close to Roosevelt, was the choice for Secretary of the Treasury, while Roosevelt chose Senator Cordell Hull of Tennessee as Secretary of State.

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When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4,1933, the US was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history.

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On his second day in office, Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a four-day national "bank holiday", to end the run by depositors seeking to withdraw funds.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw the establishment a number of agencies and measures designed to provide relief for the unemployed and others.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt expanded Hoover's Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which financed railroads and industry.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt set up the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to increase commodity prices, by paying farmers to leave land uncultivated and cut herds.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt reformed financial regulations with the Glass–Steagall Act, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to underwrite savings deposits.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt worked with Senator Norris to create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history—the Tennessee Valley Authority —which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the federal budget.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt expected that his party would lose several races in the 1934 Congressional elections, as the president's party had done in most previous midterm elections, but the Democrats picked up seats in both houses of Congress.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt consolidated the various relief organizations, though some, like the PWA, continued to exist.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won re-nomination with little opposition at the 1936 Democratic National Convention, while his allies overcame Southern resistance to permanently abolish the long-established rule that had required Democratic presidential candidates to win the votes of two-thirds of the delegates rather than a simple majority.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt lost high-income voters, especially businessmen and professionals, but made major gains among the poor and minorities.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won 86 percent of the Jewish vote, 81 percent of Catholics, 80 percent of union members, 76 percent of Southerners, 76 percent of blacks in northern cities, and 75 percent of people on relief.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt carried 102 of the country's 106 cities with a population of 100,000 or more.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, which would have allowed him to appoint an additional Justice for each incumbent Justice over the age of 70; in 1937, there were six Supreme Court Justices over the age of 70.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt did manage to pass some legislation, including the Housing Act of 1937, a second Agricultural Adjustment Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which was the last major piece of New Deal legislation.

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Beyond this Franklin Delano Roosevelt recommended to a special congressional session only a permanent national farm act, administrative reorganization, and regional planning measures, all of which were leftovers from a regular session.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt failed badly, managing to defeat only one of the ten targeted, a conservative Democrat from New York City.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a lifelong interest in the environment and conservation starting with his youthful interest in forestry on his family estate.

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When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was Governor of New York, the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration was essentially a state-level predecessor of the federal Civilian Conservation Corps, with 10,000 or more men building fire trails, combating soil erosion and planting tree seedlings in marginal farmland in the state of New York.

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Main foreign policy initiative of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first term was the Good Neighbor Policy, which was a re-evaluation of US policy toward Latin America.

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In December 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, renouncing the right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of Latin American countries.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt normalized relations with the Soviet Union, which the United States had refused to recognize since the 1920s.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt largely acquiesced to Congress's non-interventionist policies in the early-to-mid 1930s.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt made it clear that, in the event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, the US would remain neutral.

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When World War II began in September 1939 with Germany's invasion of Poland and Britain and France's subsequent declaration of war upon Germany, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought ways to assist Britain and France militarily.

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Isolationist leaders like Charles Lindbergh and Senator William Borah successfully mobilized opposition to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's proposed repeal of the Neutrality Act, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt won Congressional approval of the sale of arms on a cash-and-carry basis.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a regular secret correspondence with Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, in September 1939—the first of 1,700 letters and telegrams between them.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt forged a close personal relationship with Churchill, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May 1940.

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In July 1940, Roosevelt appointed two interventionist Republican leaders, Henry L Stimson and Frank Knox, as Secretaries of War and the Navy, respectively.

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In September 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt openly defied the Neutrality Acts by reaching the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, which, in exchange for military base rights in the British Caribbean Islands, gave 50 WWI American destroyers to Britain.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused to give a definitive statement as to his willingness to be a candidate again, and he even indicated to some ambitious Democrats, such as James Farley, that he would not run for a third term and that they could seek the Democratic nomination.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was aided by the party's political bosses, who feared that no Democrat except Roosevelt could defeat Wendell Willkie, the popular Republican nominee.

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At the July 1940 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt easily swept aside challenges from Farley and Vice President Garner, who had turned against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his second term because of his liberal economic and social policies.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt maintained close personal control of all major diplomatic and military decisions, working closely with his generals and admirals, the war and Navy departments, the British, and even with the Soviet Union.

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In military affairs, Roosevelt worked most closely with Secretary Henry L Stimson at the War Department, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, and Admiral William D Leahy.

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In July 1941, after Japan occupied the remainder of French Indochina, Franklin Delano Roosevelt cut off the sale of oil to Japan, depriving Japan of more than 95 percent of its oil supply.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt placed the Philippine military under American command and reinstated General Douglas MacArthur into active duty to command US forces in the Philippines.

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration was unwilling to reverse the policy, and Secretary of State Hull blocked a potential summit between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt had expected that the Japanese would attack either the Dutch East Indies or Thailand.

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In late December 1941, Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt met at the Arcadia Conference, which established a joint strategy between the US and Britain.

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In 1942, Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed a new body, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which made the final decisions on American military strategy.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt avoided micromanaging the war and let his top military officers make most decisions.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt avoided the State Department and conducted high-level diplomacy through his aides, especially Harry Hopkins, whose influence was bolstered by his control of the Lend Lease funds.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt feared the consequences of allowing Germany to have sole possession of the technology and authorized preliminary research into nuclear weapons.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt coined the term "Four Policemen" to refer to the "Big Four" Allied powers of World War II, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China.

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Concerned that their forces were not yet ready for an invasion of France, Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to delay such an invasion until at least 1943 and instead focus on a landing in North Africa, known as Operation Torch.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not push for the immediate evacuation of Soviet soldiers from Poland, but he won the issuance of the Declaration on Liberated Europe, which promised free elections in countries that had been occupied by Germany.

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At the conference, Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced that he would only accept the unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan, and Italy.

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In contrast to Hitler, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took no direct part in the tactical naval operations, though he approved strategic decisions.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave way in part to insistent demands from the public and Congress that more effort be devoted against Japan, but he always insisted on Germany first.

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In 1943, Roosevelt established the Office of War Mobilization to oversee the home front; the agency was led by James F Byrnes, who came to be known as the "assistant president" due to his influence.

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Roosevelt made it clear before the convention that he was seeking another term, and on the lone presidential ballot of the convention, Roosevelt won the vast majority of delegates, although a minority of Southern Democrats voted for Harry F Byrd.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt assailed the President as a "tired old man" with "tired old men" in his cabinet, pointedly suggesting that the President's lack of vigor had produced a less than vigorous economic recovery.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as most observers could see from his weight loss and haggard appearance, was a tired man in 1944.

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When Franklin Delano Roosevelt returned to the United States from the Yalta Conference, many were shocked to see how old, thin and frail he looked.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke while seated in the well of the House, an unprecedented concession to his physical incapacity.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's declining physical health had been kept secret from the public.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death was met with shock and grief across the world.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was viewed as a hero by many African Americans, Catholics, and Jews, and he was highly successful in attracting large majorities of these voters into his New Deal coalition.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt won strong support from Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans, but not Japanese Americans, as he presided over their internment during World War II.

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The rate of repatriations fell for all immigrants, especially for Mexicans, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president, who instituted more lenient policies towards immigrants, especially for well-settled ones.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt stopped short of joining NAACP leaders in pushing for federal anti-lynching legislation, as he believed that such legislation was unlikely to pass and that his support for it would alienate Southern congressmen.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt did appoint a "Black Cabinet" of African American advisers to advise on race relations and African American issues, and he publicly denounced lynching as "murder".

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In 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Committee to implement Executive Order 8802, which prohibited racial and religious discrimination in employment among defense contractors.

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On February 19,1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which relocated 110,000 Japanese-American citizens and immigrants, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast.

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In 1923, as a member of the Harvard board of directors, Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided there were too many Jewish students at Harvard University and helped institute a quota to limit the number of Jews admitted to Harvard.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of the United States, as well as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

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The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt firmly established the United States' leadership role on the world stage, with his role in shaping and financing World War II.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a new understanding of the presidency, permanently increasing the power of the president at the expense of Congress.

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Long after his death, new lines of attack criticized Franklin Delano Roosevelt's policies regarding helping the Jews of Europe, incarcerating the Japanese on the West Coast, and opposing anti-lynching legislation.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park is a National Historic Site and home to his Presidential library.

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