Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) ,
often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President
of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from
1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than
two terms. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of
worldwide economic crisis and world war.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New
Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and
reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the
economy was incomplete until almost 1940, the programs he initiated
such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee
Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's
commerce. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security
As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America's entry into World War II in December, 1941. On the home front he introduced price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the 'Arsenal of Democracy'. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. America had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition argued unemployment disappeared and closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Later, alongside the United States, the Allies defeated Germany, Italy and Japan.
Roosevelt caused a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government created a New Deal Coalition which dominated the Democratic Party until the late 1960s. Roosevelt introduced new taxes that affected all income groups. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals; the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief.