On January 28, 1882, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born to James and Sara Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York. Raised as an only child, Roosevelt received most of his elementary education from his parents and tutors. He graduated from the exclusive preparatory Groton School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard in just three years with a major in history. Following his stint at Harvard, Roosevelt attended Columbia University, but he never finished. Despite this, he passed the New York bar exam in 1907 and became a lawyer with a highly acclaimed law firm in New York. Roosevelt's political career began in 1910 when he became a state Senator for New York, representing the Democratic Party from a district that historically voted Republican.
In 1905, Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of his fifth cousin, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. It has been well documented that Eleanor and Franklin had a marriage of convenience, companionship and mutual respect moreso than one based on love. FDR had an affair with another woman, but refused to give Eleanor a divorce when she discovered the affair, because it would ruin his political career. Eleanor used her husband's political positions to foster her own independence, providing her an opportunity to promote causes about which she was passionate; many of them were directly linked to President Roosevelt's programs of social change and personal security. She also became his spokesperson on the occasions when his health was so weakened by polio that he had difficulty fulfilling many of the public engagements his presidency required.
Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to the New York state Senate in 1912, but resigned in 1913 to become Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Josephus Daniels through an appointment by President Woodrow Wilson. He remained in this position for seven years, proving his administrative and organizational expertise by supervising naval activities during World War I. This experience would prove to be the basis for invaluable insights into the military needs of America during World War II. After losing a bid for vice-president on the ticket with James Cox, Roosevelt returned to private life until he was elected governor of New York in 1928. Governor Roosevelt remained in office until his election to the presidency of the United States in 1932, when he defeated Herbert Hoover by seven million votes.
President Roosevelt was often a controversial president, but he was still successful in implementing great social change, negotiating with other countries in an attempt to improve trade, promoting a platform of human rights for all the world's people and as a peace promoter around the globe. Franklin Roosevelt is known for his ability to connect with the people whom he served in all the political offices he held. Few American political figures have been able to match this trait. Roosevelt was elected to serve four terms as president, the longest in history.
By early 1944 when he was inaugurated for his fourth term, President Roosevelt's health had greatly declined, brought on primarily by the stresses associated with war and bringing a nation through an economic recovery as well as the lingering effects of polio. On April 12, 1945, only months before World War II ended, Franklin Roosevelt succumbed to a massive stroke. He is buried in Hyde Park, New York on the grounds of what was the family estate and is now an historical site owned by the U.S.