Roosevelt in 1944
(Public domain picture from FDR Library full size original)
He graduated from Harvard College (1903); attended Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick's Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt. Government Positions include: Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1913-20; Governor of New York, 1929-33
In 1935-36, the Supreme Court struck down eight of FDR's New Deal programs. In response Roosevelt submitted to Congress in February of 1937 a plan for "judicial reform," which proposed adding a justice for every justice over the age of 70 who refused to retire, up to a maximum of 15 total. This came to be known as his attempt to "pack" the Court.
Campaigning for reelection in 1940 against Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt said that he would not send American boys to fight in foreign wars. Some have suggested Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and welcomed it as a way to get the U.S. into World War II. Others point out, that while U.S. code-breakers had broken Japanese codes in Washington DC and knew something was about to happen, communication delays prevented the messages for getting to Pearl Harbor until 4 hours after the attack.
Perhaps the most controversial decision Roosevelt made was Executive Order 9066 which resulted in the internment in concentration camps of 110,000 Japanese nationals and American citizens of Japanese descent on the West Coast. Considered a major violation of civil liberties, it was even opposed at the time by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover as well as Eleanor Roosevelt as well as many other groups. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Executive Order.
Some have said of all the American Presidents of the 20th Century, that he was the most loved and most hated. He was so well known, he was referred to by his initials, FDR.
Agencies founded during Roosevelt's Presidency
- Tennessee Valley Authority (1933)
- Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
- Public Works Administration (PWA)
- Social Security
- Previous President: Herbert Hoover
- Next President: Harry S Truman
- Vice Presidents: John N. Garner (1933-41); Henry A. Wallace (1941-45); Harry S. Truman (1945)