The thirty-second president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born in Hyde Park, New York in 1882. As the only child of wealthy parents, James and Sara Roosevelt, Franklin was tutored at home and had little social contact. However, he was raised in an atmosphere of public service administered through Christian values and stewardship. These values were instrumental in his approach to his multiple terms as president during which his platform addressed many national and global issues.
In 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of his cousin, Theodore, who was the twenty-sixth president of the United States. He and Eleanor had five sons and one daughter, several of whom worked with their father during his twelve-year presidency. President Franklin Roosevelt was a very outgoing and social man who loved the company of other people. His hobbies included stamp collecting, card games and bird-watching. Roosevelt especially enjoyed swimming in the pool he had installed at the White House as therapy for the effects of his bout with polio.
Franklin Roosevelt graduated from the Groton School, an exclusive private school in New York. In 1903, he received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University where he also completed one year of graduate studies. Roosevelt also attended the Columbia University Law School, but did not receive a degree. He did, however, pass the New York bar exam in 1907. Franklin showed no passion for practicing law, but he enjoyed accepting new challenges and meeting new people, both of which became his motives for entering politics. Roosevelt also felt his role in life centered on public service, and he realized the opportunities politics provided toward reaching that end.
Roosevelt's political career began in 1910, when he was elected as a New York state Senator representing the Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 1912, but resigned in 1913 to accept the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. In this position, Roosevelt oversaw much of the U.S. involvement in World War I, during which he gained popularity as a strategic and effective administrator, a trait which served his political career well. In 1920, the Democrats selected Franklin Roosevelt as the vice-presidential candidate to run on the ticket with the presidential candidate, James Cox, but the team lost to Warren Harding.
After the defeat in the presidential election, FDR accepted a position with Fidelity and Deposit Company during which he contracted polio. While convalescing and recovering, Roosevelt stayed involved with the Democratic Party in New York, eventually becoming governor in 1928. He served in this capacity until he was first elected President of the United States in 1932.
Roosevelt's Final Year
As President Roosevelt prepared for his fourth presidential campaign in 1944, it was obvious that his health was declining, but he defeated Thomas E. Dewey and began his final term. The aftermath of World War II and the rebuilding of the nation created extreme stress for Roosevelt, which he valiantly addressed despite the downward spiral of his health. On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt died from a cerebral hemorrhage while sitting for a portrait. Thousands of Americans lined the train route as his body was transported from Georgia to Washington, D.C. and onward to Hyde Park, New York where he was buried on April 15. Many world leaders also mourned the passing of a man with whom they were comfortable building a new world after the devastating effects of the world war.