32nd President of the United States under the Constitution of 1787
ROOSEVELT was born on January 30, 1882 on his family’s estate Hyde Park, in
Dutchess County, New York. His father, James was descended from Nicholas
Roosevelt, whose father had emigrated from Holland in the 1640's. One of
Nicholas' two sons, Johannes, was an ancestor of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The other son, Jacobus, was James' great-great-grandfather. James had graduated
from Union College and Harvard Law School, married, had a son, and took over his
family's extensive holdings in coal and transportation. In 1880, four years
after the death of his first wife, James met and married Sara Delano who was a
sixth cousin and at 26 years, she was half her husband’s age. She brought to the
marriage a fortune that was a great deal larger than that of James. The Delano
family had prospered in trading with China and her father was one of James’
Young Roosevelt spent
his early years in a pleasant and sociable home with loving parents and
congenial rather aristocratic companions at Hyde Park. His half-brother was an
adult when he was born and his childhood was secure and tranquil. He was often
taken on summers in Europe and spent much time at his father’s vacation home on
Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. Young Roosevelt developed a love for
natural history and sailing and was an expert swimmer. His mother supervised his
schooling with governesses and private tutors until he was 14 and he was a
voracious reader. In 1896, his parents sent him to Groton School in
Massachusetts, where most students were of the privileged classes. His education
there instilled him with a belief that children of the upper classes had a duty
Roosevelt entered Harvard in 1899, where he was an above average
student and devoted a great deal of his time to extracurricular activities. He
completed his course work for his B.A. in only three years and returned for the
fourth year as editor of the Crimson, the college newspaper. He joined a young
Republican club in 1900 in enthusiasm for Theodore Roosevelt, the
vice-presidential candidate and his distant cousin. While at Harvard, he fell in
love with Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once removed. She had had a
difficult childhood, being orphaned at the age of ten. She lived with her
maternal grandmother and felt rejected and ill at ease in society, thinking
herself ugly. When Roosevelt, a handsome Harvard man two years her senior, paid
her attention, she was flattered. In 1904, Roosevelt cast his first vote in a
presidential election for his cousin, who was running for reelection after
having become president with the assassination of President McKinley in 1901.
Roosevelt entered Columbia
University Law School in New York City in 1904. He passed the New York bar
examination and began clerking for a Wall Street law firm, Carter, Ledyard and
Milburn, foregoing his degree from Columbia. On March 17, 1905, President
Roosevelt gave his niece Anna Eleanor away in marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The marriage was successful on the surface, within the next eleven years they
produced six children (one of which died in infancy): Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
(1906 – 1975); James Roosevelt (1907 – 1991); Elliott Roosevelt (1910 – 1990);
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. (1914 – 1988) and John Aspinwall Roosevelt (1916
However, Sara Roosevelt’s possessive
and domineering attitude toward her son caused much strife early in their
marriage. In addition, Eleanor’s later discovery of Franklin’s affair with her
social secretary, Lucy Mercer, staggered her. Despite these problems, Eleanor
remained a supportive spouse.
Roosevelt found work at the law firm
tedious, much of the firm’s practice was in corporate law and he felt irritated
by the routine. In 1910, at the age of 28, he was approached by the Democratic
leaders to run for the New York State Senate. They felt he would succeed because
of his name, local prominence and his wealth. Anxious to escape the law
practice, he accepted, and campaigned hard, stressing his deep personal interest
in conservation and his strong support of honest and efficient government. He
showed skill at making himself agreeable to voters, he was open and adaptable
and he listened to the advice he was given by political veterans. He won
impressively and made an immediate impact in the state legislature. He soon
became a dedicated social and economic reformer and was reelected in 1912, in
spite of a case of typhoid fever that kept him from campaigning. He entered
national politics by taking part in Woodrow Wilson’s campaign for the Democratic
nomination for president. After Wilson was elected, he appointed Roosevelt
Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy. In 1913, he resigned his state
senate seat and moved to Washington to take the position that his cousin,
Theodore, had once held. His seven years of service gave him administrative
experience and he made many excellent contacts in Washington and in the
Democratic party. He remained in his post until August 1920, when he resigned to
campaign as the Democratic candidate for vice president. When Harding and
Coolidge decisively beat the Democrats in November, he returned to private life.
He had campaigned vigorously and made friends among Democratic leaders across
the country. He was a widely recognized public figure, and being under the age
of 40, he felt he could afford to wait.
Exceptional Presidential Letter on World Events in 1939. - Stan Klos
He formed a law firm in New York City and became vice president
of Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, a surety bonding company. At
Fidelity, he was in charge of the New York office of one of the most important
companies handling bonds for public officials. His wide circle of contacts
continued to expand. However, in August 1921, after an unfortunate delay, he was
diagnosed with poliomyelitis. Completely unable to walk and in great pain,
Roosevelt seemed to have reached the end of his political career. His
domineering mother wanted him to return to Hyde Park for a peaceful and quite
life. Under the care of his wife and his friend and campaign manager, Louis
McHenry Howe, Roosevelt fought back. Although never able to walk again without
leg braces and canes, he became president of the American Construction Council
in 1924, while Howe remained close, planning for his return to public life.
Roosevelt made an inspiring
nominating speech for Alfred E. Smith at the 1924 Democratic National Convention
in Madison Square Garden. In 1928 at Smith’s urging and against the advice of
Eleanor and Howe, Roosevelt agreed to run for governor of New York. Roosevelt
won by a narrow margin in an otherwise Republican election year. During his two
terms, he battled a Republican legislature, naming skilled people to important
positions. He was a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination
in 1932 and he took the nomination on the fourth ballot. In November, Roosevelt
captured 22,821,857 votes to incumbent President Hoover’s 15,761,841 and 472
Electoral College votes to 59.
Inaugurated at the height of the
Depression, Roosevelt inspired Americans. He launched the “New Deal” instituting
social security and unemployment benefits, giving hope to the have-nots and
restoring confidence in the government. His public works projects included the
Tennessee Valley Authority, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works
Progress Administration. Congress, following his lead, sponsored reform measures
such as The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insured deposits and
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which began regulation of the
stock exchanges. His mobility hampered by polio, he reached millions by radio in
his “fireside chats” while Eleanor tirelessly toured the country.
He was reelected in 1936, an
unprecedented third term in 1940 and once again in 1944. In 1940 he responded to
Hitler’s aggression in Europe by sending the British 50 destroyers in exchange
for military bases, followed by massive “Lend-Lease” aid. On December 7, 1941,
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II. With Stalin and
Churchill, Roosevelt laid the groundwork for the post-war world, and the
creation of the United Nations.
During Roosevelt’s campaign for his
fourth term in 1944, he was pale, thin and old. His doctors knew that he was
suffering from heart disease, hypertension and cardiac failure. His advisers
persuaded him to accept the U.S. Senator from Missouri, Harry Truman for the
vice presidency, feeling him suited for the presidency. His campaign and
election were a strain on Roosevelt and in the early spring of 1945, he went to
Warm Springs, Georgia in an effort to recapture his flagging health. He died
there on April 12, 1945 of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Harry Truman took the
oath of office to become president that same day.
WORCHESTER Telegram & Gazette
Sunday, July 25, 2004
legacy is "an inspiration" Union Station houses FDR museum
Pamela H. Sacks - T&G STAFF firstname.lastname@example.org
WORCESTER- Nick R. Roosevelt, a great-grandson of former President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, stood by with a wide, Kennedy-esque smile yesterday as his
uncle, James R. Roosevelt Jr., cut the ceremonial gold ribbon opening the
Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Museum in Union Station.
Presidential scholar and author Stanley L. Klos last night gave the keynote
address for the event. In a telephone interview earlier in the week, Mr. Klos
said that the FDR center and its museum are important because "history is a
crystal ball of the future."
"What were the challenges of the past and what worked and what didn't?" Mr. Klos
said. "No one went through more perilous times than FDR."
Mr. Klos said that one of the key accomplishments of FDR was the electrification
of America. When he took office, 90 percent of homes had no electricity,
prompting people to forsake rural areas for the cities. FDR created the rural
electrical authorities, which brought power to the countryside.
"He understood the key to prosperity was inexpensive power," Mr. Klos said. "He
bottled up the natural resources."
FDR also was the impetus behind the Manhattan Project, which split the atom, led
to the development of the atom bomb and ultimately harnessed nuclear power as an
energy source. Today, Mr. Klos said, demands on energy and oil are skyrocketing,
as people around the world seek to have disposable income and the type of life
we know in the United States, with automobiles and other modern conveniences.
"Germany is only second behind us in oil consumption," Mr. Klos said. "If China
reaches the proportion of people with cars that we have in the U.S., that will
exhaust OPEC's oil reserves. As our needs grow for more and more energy, we are
going to be in an extremely competitive field."
What would Roosevelt do?
"He would realize that the world is now a global economy, and there is a war of
economics," Mr. Klos said. "Yes, we're in a terrorist war right now, but the
global war has shifted to a competition for natural resources and quality of
In Mr. Klos' view, FDR would realize the key is weaning ourselves off oil and
its importation. He would be aware that the electrical grid he put together
wastes enormous amounts of energy because it has not been upgraded and fails to
make use of superconductivity.
"We could do what Japan, France and Germany have done and use the next
generation of breeder reactors that are so efficient," Mr. Klos said. "FDR would
be calling another Manhattan Project to see, with our greatest minds, if we
could find a third form of energy and supply the needs of the United States and
prepare the country for the oil shortage that is coming in the next 20 years."
As the morning's activities drew to a close, Worcester writer and photographer
Idamay Arsenault was presented with a Certificate of Special Congressional
Recognition by Mr. McGovern. Through her photography, Mrs. Arsenault is credited
with spearheading the renaissance at Union Station. Mr. McGovern also presented
Dr. Plaud with a flag flown over the Capitol.
Later, as guests milled around munching doughnuts and cookies, Nick Roosevelt
stood to one side while his uncle signed autographs. The young Mr. Roosevelt is
18 and grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He was headed to the Democratic National
Convention in Boston to serve as a volunteer. He is entering the University of
Pennsylvania in the fall and intends to major in history and government.
"All the Roosevelts, we all love history," he said, flashing a grin
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