The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
— FDR is full of great quotes.
You'll have to speak up. The old man in a wheelchair who defeated the Third Reich can't hear you over the sound of how awesome he is.Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the longest serving President in US History, serving three full terms and starting his fourth when he died. No other President had even won a third term. And, thanks to the 22nd Amendment, no President since will be able to challenge his length of service (barring the very unlikely event of the 22nd being repealed). Actually spent much of his life paralyzed from the waist down due to what was probably polio (some modern researchers believe that it might have been Guillain–Barré syndrome). This includes his Presidency, making him America's one and only handicapped President, unless one also counts Kennedy who had Addison's Disease. There was less scrutiny of public figures back then, which he combined with trick photography, leg braces that let him stand and walk short distances by swiveling, immense upper-body strength to hold himself up with the podium and other tactics to ease the public away from questioning why he was never pictured standing up on his own. (He was almost always leaning on somebody or something in the photos that show him standing.) Famous for the New Deal, World War II and the "fireside chats". The last of these were thirty radio speeches, where he addressed the public directly and are an early example of what political analysts call "going public". They were more popular than every other show. His "New Deal" was put into action with the intent of saving the country from the Great Depression and possible revolution. It was known for its three R's: Relief (providing government care and jobs for the unemployed and those in poverty), Recovery (stopping and pushing back the growing Depression) and Reform (regulating Wall Street and other businesses, and going after businessmen who were either corrupt or helped cause the Depression). Whether it had any effect, and whether this effect was positive, is still hotly debated. Even some in his own administration disagreed on it being effective — some felt that it swung too close to socialism note , while others felt that Roosevelt didn't go far enough. Nevertheless, what isn't argued is the fact that, during World War II, the rapid military buildup effectively ended the Depression, with most able-bodied men serving in the military and those who weren't (along with many of America's women) working in factories producing the war material that made America into the "Arsenal of Democracy". It was on the basis of this industrialization that the prosperity of ensuing decades was built. The Roosevelt administration also ended racial discrimination when it came to hiring federal employees - this had the unexpected after-effect of helping plant the seeds of the post-war Civil Rights Movement. Probably the worst thing he did in office was authorize the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast during WWII. 120,000 people, of whom more than three-fifths were American citizens, were rounded up and put in prison camps solely for being of Japanese descent. Ouch. Even J. Edgar Hoover, not known for being the most racially sensitive man in the world, questioned this decision. Another thing that could compete was when he continued the Mexican Repatriation ,(a movement that began in the Hoover presidency) that saw over 500,000 Mexican's forcefully deported back to Mexico (sadly most of whom were legal U.S citizens). He was also something of a Magnificent Bastard. Recognizing the danger and evil Hitler represented, he bent, folded and spindled assorted laws and roadblocks preventing overt US assistance to the Allies in order to provide as much support as he could against significant political and popular opposition. Then the attack on Pearl Harbor removed any significant opposition to joining the war, while Adolf Hitler was obliging enough to declare war on the USA shortly there after and remove any real objections to fighting the Nazis taking top priority. His supermajority in Congress and his emergency powers enabled him to run the USA almost like a monarch. He's known for the line "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."* Remember, he's one of two presidents to have this last name. His wife Eleanor Roosevelt (a fifth cousin) was the first First Lady to actually take an open role in government (Woodrow Wilson's wife did in secret when he had a stroke). She became hated by many, an experience she would share with several of her successors, including Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama. She was viciously insulted as being ugly. The Roosevelts had a complex relationship. After she first learned Franklin cheated on her with her secretary, Lucy Mercer, Eleanor offered him a divorce, but Franklin declined—both for the sake of his political career and because his mother (who had something of a rivalry with Eleanor) threatened to disinherit him if he did. They never shared a bedroom after that, but their working relationship was respectful, for the time. As Franklin's polio prevented him from traveling, Eleanor became his eyes and ears, and a great political tool. When disgruntled veterans marched on Washington during Hoover's administration, wanting their pensions early because of the Depression, it was noted that Hoover sent the army to drive them away, while FDR sent his wife to give them charitable goods. He died of a stroke before the end of the Second World War, resulting in Harry Truman becoming President. The Republican-controlled Congress changed the Constitution after he left, so no one else can serve for more than eight years (or up to ten if they take over for less than two years of another president's term). This turned out, ironically, to primarily affect Republicans: only two Democrat presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and three Republicans (Dwight D Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush) so far have actually served long enough to be affected by the term limit. (Sitting President Harry S Truman was grandfathered in by the amendment; Lyndon Johnson served less than two years of John F. Kennedy's term and could have run for one more term. Both of them chose not to run again for political and personal reasons. Additionally, Richard Nixon was elected to two terms but resigned during his second due to political scandals.) He's consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the greatest Presidents in American history, next to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
— Overheard on the Paradox Forums
Tropes Present in FDR's Life and Legacy
FDR in fiction