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Franklin Delano Roosevelt
January 30, 1882 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born, Hyde Park, New York
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
July 6, 1920 Democrat National Convention comes to a close in San Francisco having nominated James Cox for president and Franklin Delano Roosevelt for vice-president.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
August 10, 1921 Following an active day of sailing and swimming at Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, Franklin Roosevelt lays ill, unable to move his legs. Weeks later the illness is diagnosed as polio.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
October 3, 1924 At the urging of owner George Foster Peabody, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor visit Warm Springs, Georgia for the first time. Peabody believes that the warm, mineral-laden water will benefit the polio-stricken politician.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
April 1, 1927 Franklin Delano Roosevelt returns to Warm Springs, Georgia to greet the first polio patients who arrive at the Warm Springs Foundation. He worked with them, helping to establish an exercise program and share his experiences. The patients referred to him as "Dr. Roosevelt."
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
December 9, 1930 Air service from Atlanta to New York inaugurated with a who's who list of names including New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Georgia Gov-elect Richard B. Russell, U.S. Senator Walter George (Georgia), and Ernie Pyle. Regular service began the following day.
  Atlanta, Georgia (1900-2000)
  Richard B. Russell, Jr.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
October 24, 1932 On a swing through Georgia, presidential candidate Frankiln Delano Roosevelt speaks in Atlanta.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 8, 1932 Georgia votes overwhelmingly for Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt for President. Roosevelt's frequent visits to Warm Springs, plus Eleanor's lineage had made him a popular figure in the state. Also elected to the U. S. House were Carl Vinson, Eugene Cox, Homer C. Parker, Malcolm Tarver, John Wood, Braswell D. Deen, Bryant T. Castellow, Emmett M. Owens and Robert Ramspeck.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  Carl Vinson, Father of the Two Ocean Navy
February 15, 1933 Assassination attempt on Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Miami, Florida
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
March 13, 1933 President Roosevelt asked Congress to amend the Volstead Act, allowing for the sale of beer. Southern legislators are unhappy with the request. When voted on and approved two days later only two Georgians vote for the act.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
May 18, 1933 Creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Three north Georgia lakes are currently part of the TVA.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 18, 1933 While in Warm Springs, Franklin Delano Roosevelt journeys to Savannah for Georgia's 150th year celebration, speaking in Fitzgerald and Cordele during the trip
  City of Savannah, Georgia
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 18, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaks in Savannah
  City of Savannah, Georgia
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 25, 1933 Jean Sherwood Harper writes to her former employer, arguing for protection of the Okefenokee Swamp as a wildlife sanctuary. She had worked for then President Franklin Roosevelt as a young lady.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  Okefenokee Swamp
February 9, 1934 U. S. Army, at the order of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, takes over all delivery of air mail in the country pending the rebid of all mail contracts. Previous contracts awarded fraudulently according to then Senator Hugo Black.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 29, 1935 In Warm Springs for Thanksgiving, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stops in Atlanta on his return trip to Washington D. C., speaking at Techwood Homes, Atlanta University and Piedmont Park
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  Piedmont Park
April 9, 1936 While travelling by train to Warm Springs, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives a brief address to Gainesville citizens from his rail car, shortly after a tornado struck the city
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  Georgia Tornadoes
March 30, 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt issues an executive order creating the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
  Okefenokee Swamp
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
January 5, 1938 At the White House, Franklin Roosevelt and Carl Vinson discuss disturbing world developments including the Naval armament of Germany and Japan
  Carl Vinson, Father of the Two Ocean Navy
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
August 11, 1938 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visits Barnesville
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
August 11, 1938 President Roosevelt speaks at the University of Georgia commencement
  University of Georgia, Athens (UGA)
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
November 21, 1938 President Franklin Roosevelt tours Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
January 18, 1939 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt establishes the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge between Atlanta and Macon.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
June 25, 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802, making it illegal for defense contractors to discriminate against employees based on race, color(?), or religion. This executive order also established the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), overseeing the practices of the contractors
  The Road to Integration
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
July 1, 1941 Philip Randolph and Baynard Rustin had a March on Washington scheduled on this date to protest the discrimination in defense industries. The march is called off when Roosevelt issued an Executive Order on June 25, 1941, barring discrimination based on race or religion.
  The Road to Integration
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
April 17, 1943 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visits Chickamauga battlefield and the WAAC training grounds at Fort Oglethorpe
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
April 13, 1945 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's funeral train stops in Atlanta to change engines on the way to Washington, D. C. Thousands turn out to say a final good-bye to the President.
  Atlanta, Georgia (1900-2000)
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
August 9, 2011 Frankiln Delano Roosevelt's Warm Springs home, known as the McCarthy cottage or the Little White House, burned to the ground, a major historic loss for the state of Georgia.
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States holding the office longer than any other person. Two major issues faced the Democrat while in office, the Great Depression and World War II. His effectiveness, and the effectiveness of his programs to combat the depression are still hotly debated topics, however, his effectiveness as a political leader during the war is highly praised.

Early years

Born at Springwood, his family's palatial estate at Hyde Park, just east of the Hudson River north of Poughkeepsie, his father James became wealthy as a railroad president. Franklin was an only child and deeply attached to his mother, Sara Delano. As was a normal practice of the day among wealthy families, the mother's maiden name became the first child's middle name.

Endicott Peabody, an Episcopal minister who was Franklin Roosevelt's headmaster at Groton (a prep school in Massachusetts), is generally credited with instilling in Roosevelt a duty to help those who cannot help themselves. Following his graduation from Groton in 1900 Roosevelt matriculated from Harvard, after which he attended Columbia Law School but did not technically graduate. He did become a member of the bar, then joined prestigious Carter, Ledyard and Milburn as a corporate lawyer.

Early Politics

In 1910 Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for State Senator from Duchess County, New York. Aided by a midterm anti-Taft movement the first-time Democrat contender was swept into office. In Albany he lead a reformist Democrat movement, opposing the Tammany Hall machine that controlled the Democratic Party in New York City. Woodrow Wilson offered young Roosevelt the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy following Wilson successful presidential bid in 1912.

As Asst. Secretary and Secretary of the Navy from 1913 until 1918 Roosevelt fought to expand the Navy (he was opposed by Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan). He also created the Navy Reserve, seemingly in preparation for World War I and was a strong advocate of the submarine.

While on an inspection tour in 1918 in England he began a life-long friendship with Winston Churchill. He support Woodrow Wilson's idea for a "League of Nations." It was this support that brought him attention at the 1920 Democratic National Convention. After winning on the 44th ballot, Ohio Governor James Cox chose Roosevelt as the candidate for Vice-President, partially to offset Republican Warren Harding's choice of Calvin Coolidge, then governor of Massachusetts, as his running mate.

Stricken with polio

On August 10, 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was on vacation with his family at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. Following an active day of swimming and sailing Franklin became ill and had problems moving his legs. Weeks later he was diagnosed with the polio virus. The disease only affects certain muscles, not organs, so he was fully functional except for his paralyzed legs.

A friend, George Foster Peabody recommended a stay at a resort the wealthy philanthropist had just purchased near Warm Springs, Georgia where the warm, mineral-rich water might help Roosevelt. From 1924 until his death in 1945 Roosevelt made over 40 visits to the inn. In 1926 Roosevelt bought the resort and founded a center for therapy of polio patients that operates today as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. The foundation later created a separate center for African-American victims of polio at Tuskegee College, because of segregation imposed by Georgia law.

Politics after polio

In 1924 at the Democratic National Convention Franklin Delano Roosevelt nominated Governor of New York, Alfred Smith to run for president. He again nominated the governor in 1928, and Smith won the nomination this time. Roosevelt ran for Smith's old job as New York Governor. That November Smith lost to Republican Herbert Hoover but Roosevelt won the governorship by patching up his relationship with New York City Democrats.

In 1929 the reform Democrat dealt with official corruption by firing many of Smith's appointees and instituting a Public Service Commission to help reduce corruption in the future. Prison reform and hydroelectric power took the front seat during the first months of his governorship, but Wall Street crashed in October, 1929 and the bubble of the 1920's burst. Roosevelt began to stimulate the state economy with broad support for those affected, but the programs did little good without strong national guidance.

1932 Presidential bid

Five candidates each had a shot at winning the Democratic nomination for President, and in late June of 1932 it looked like the nominee would become president. Governor Roosevelt's attempts to stimulate the economy won him widespread support in the state primaries, frequently coming in second in a field of five in the contests he did not win. At the convention Franklin held a majority the other four - Al Smith, John Nance Garner, Harry Byrd, and Newton Baker could keep him from getting the required 2/3rds majority. On the forth ballot Roosevelt secured the delegation from California, released by Speaker of the House John Nance Garner after the 3rd ballot, giving him the nomination. He selected Garner as his running mate.

If the Democrats didn't have a lock on the White House at the end of their convention, they did by the end of the month. The handling of the Bonus Army in Washington D. C., and the rattling details being spread instantly across the nation thanks to radio spelled doom for Herbert Hoover, the sitting President. While on a campaign swing through Atlanta, Roosevelt managed to return to Warm Springs for a day that October.

Roosevelt won the election with 57 percent of the vote, carrying all but six states. He returned to Warm Springs twice as President-elect. On February 15, 1933 Giuseppe Zangara, an unemployed bricklayer, fired six shots into a crowd surrounding Roosevelt. Seriously injured was Anton Cermak, mayor of Chicago. Cermak died on March 6 and Zangara was executed on March 20.

From the election to the inauguration Roosevelt had formulated a number of programs to help the unemployed. Additionally, he ordered a bank holiday to prevent a run on the banks as Congress was in special session to stabilize the banking system.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, Emergency Relief Administration and Works Progress Administration were efforts popular in Georgia aimed at getting Americans back to work. One of FDR's programs that profoundly affected our state, especially North Georgia was the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Rural Electrification Administration was inspired by the squalid conditions Roosevelt saw while he was in Georgia.

Roosevelt clashed with then-Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge over enlisting blacks in the "tree army," the nickname for the CCC. Talmadge steadfastly refused to allow African-Americans in the program, in spite of an unemployment rate twice that of whites, until Roosevelt threatened to pull all federal aid from the state. Talmadge quickly gave in, but strained relations were not politically productive for Roosevelt, who eventually backed down from his stance. By 1936, thanks in part to the stimulus provided by the Roosevelt programs, the economy had improved, but was nowhere near the levels of the 1920's.

1936 Election and Second Term

Once again the Democrats nominated Roosevelt and Garner. Winning 61% of the popular vote, the only states FDR did not carry were Maine and Vermont. Even Republican nominee Alf Landon's home state of Kansas voted for Roosevelt.

In 1937 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the National Recovery Act and other parts of the New Deal were not constitutional. Roosevelt tried to "pack" the court with friendly judges, but the bill failed to get enough support, thanks in part to hold-out Georgia Senator Walter F. George. Regardless of the political outcome, between 1937 and 1941 he appointed eight justices to the court. Roosevelt started the federal minimum wage and when the economy started to erode in late 1937, he returned to Congress with a request for massive funding of relief programs.

In his famous Brother's Keeper speech in Gainesville, Georgia, Roosevelt lashed out at Republicans. In 1938 FDR tried to rid himself of Georgia Senator Walter F. George, a conservative Democratic who had opposed his packing the Supreme Court. He attacked both Senator George and the Supreme Court in speeches, once threatening to run his tenant farmer against the Democrat. George, firmly ensconced in his Senate seat, easily defeated his FDR-backed opponent in the Democratic primary.

World War II

From shortly after his first inauguration until the start of hostilities, FDR was keeping an eye on Germany, Japan, and to a lesser extent, Italy. Following the invasion of France in May 1940 and the fall of Paris that June, Roosevelt understood that Britain could not stand alone, but it was an election year and isolationism ran rampant throughout America. He did come up with Destroyers for Bases, a precursor to 1941's Lend-Lease Act

1940 Election and 3rd term

Banking on his popularity, Roosevelt dropped conservative Southerner John Nance Garner from the ticket and replaced him with a liberal, Henry Wallace. Up against New Yorker Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt once again swamped his competition.

Overshadowing his third term as president was World War II. By the time votes were counted in Franklin Roosevelt's 1940 election victory, Germany had blockaded Great Britain and Italy invaded Greece. Foremost on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's mind was keeping Britain in the war. Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. Later he extended the same plan to the Russians and began escorting the Merchant Marine with Navy vessels. On August 14, 1941 Roosevelt and Churchill announced the Atlantic Charter, a strategic war alliance they had signed earlier in the week.

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, killing 2,335 American personnel. The following day President Roosevelt rose and spoke to the U. S. Congress:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Technically known as Roosevelt's Address to Congress, December 8, 1941, the speech is his most famous.

The attack opened the door to the United States entry into World War II. Over the next four years Roosevelt, along with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, would set world-wide political strategic goals. Roosevelt wisely stayed away from making tactical military decisions, setting forth only broad strategic plans. One of his key decisions was to battle the Germans first while fending off the Japanese, then bringing the massive American war effort against them.

On the home front

By the start of World War II Roosevelt had begun to hone a policy of integration for African-Americans. Executive Order 8802 made it illegal for defense contractors to discriminate against employees based on race, color, or religion. On the other hand, however, Japanese-Americans were imprisoned on the West Coast and German aliens were required to register with the government. By 1943 African-Americans were fighting, and slowly other aspects of the armed services were integrating. Although Roosevelt had a positive record on moving the country toward an integrated society, some argue that he did too little.

Election of 1944 and fourth term

Aware of the President's failing health, Democrats urged Roosevelt to drop Henry Wallace because of his extreme liberalism and "friendly" attitude toward communist beliefs. Roosevelt balked at first, but eventually replaced him with Harry Truman. Over the years Roosevelt's commanding lead in elections had been diminishing, but the President still garnered 53.8% of the popular vote. He did, however, drop 12 states to opponent Thomas E. Dewey. Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first president to be elected to 4 terms.

At the end of March Roosevelt made his 41st appearance at Warm Springs in preparation for a San Francisco trip to found the United Nations. At 1:15 pm on April 12 he complained of a terrible headache and slumped over in his chair. Attendants quickly moved him to his bed, where he died at 3:35 pm. A funeral train took his body to Atlanta, then on to Washington D. C.




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