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Biographies Unit Biographies

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1882–1945
President of the United States during the Great Depression and World War II

Charming. Smart. Determined. These are just some of the words that people have used to describe Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He grew up in New York, a distant cousin of former President Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself became President when the country was in crisis. The year was 1933 and the nation had just fallen into the grips of the Great Depression. Millions of people were unemployed, banks and businesses were failing, and people traveled the country looking for work. Roosevelt took quick action to help restore the economy. His New Deal program assisted farmers and other workers. He also calmed the nation with his radio broadcasts. These broadcasts were known as “fireside chats” and Roosevelt used them to explain what he was doing to help people during the Depression. To many, he became a sort of father figure.

Roosevelt again led the nation through crisis in World War II. He worked closely with Winston Churchill to help the Allies win the war. He died in April 1945, shortly before the end of the war. He served as President for four terms, longer than any President before or since, and led the country through some of its most difficult times.

Roosevelt was extraordinarily popular. His optimism gave people confidence that everything would be all right. He guided the nation through World War II as well as the Depression.

He died while still President, shortly before the end of World War II. The nation mourned. Today Roosevelt is remembered as one of America's greatest Presidents.

Comprehension Check

What did Roosevelt's New Deal program do?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think U.S. voters elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt four times?