In 1910, Roosevelt ran as a Democrat in the New York State Senate race. While in office, Roosevelt began to introduce many progressive ideas and fought back against party bosses. He was also very vocal about his support for President Wilson, which landed him a job as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In 1914, he decided to run for U.S. Senate, but lost because he did not have the backing of a party boss.
At the Democratic National Convention of 1920, Roosevelt was nominated as the running mate for James M. Cox, but the pair was defeated by Harding and Coolidge in the election. He decided to run for governor in 1928, and won reelection in 1930. In 1932, he received the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention and on November 8, 1932, Roosevelt won the election with 57% of the popular vote and 472 electoral votes.
Happy Days Are Here Again - 1932 Campaign Slogan
The job market was in shambles, with an unemployment rate of 24.1% when Roosevelt was inaugurated. He knew the country needed jobs to get back to spending and stimulate the economy, so he created the Civilian Conservation Corps, or the CCC. The CCC was a program that hired local men to work on construction projects in their area. The workers did everything from build parks to plant trees.
In April of 1933, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, which required Americans to sell any gold they had to the US Treasury in an effort to combat the inflation that was controlling the economy. As his first term continued, Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a program similar to the CCC. The WPA also had a branch for musicians, writers and artists. By the early 1940s, the United States was pulling out of the depression and heading into World War II.
Roosevelt was concerned that if the public knew how paralyzed he was, they would fear for his health and he would lose elections. From there on out, public appearances were carefully planned so that the president would never have to walk or stand upright without someone there to support him, usually one of his sons. Roosevelt ordered custom braces for his legs and hips and taught himself how to stand again. Over time he also learned to walk short distances with a cane. While he was unable to hide his illness, he was able to convince the people that he was getting better.
Privately, he used a wheelchair, though he was careful never to be seen in it. Only two photos from the time show Roosevelt in his chair. Over the course of his four terms, his health slowly declined, though this was kept from the people. In April of 1945, Roosevelt died, and the country was left grieving and in shock.
In 1902, her grandmother brought her back to New York. One day while riding the train back to her grandmother’s home, she ran into Franklin D. Roosevelt. The two had met previously, as they were distantly related cousins. A romance developed and by November 1903, the pair was engaged. They were married on March 17, 1905.
When Roosevelt was elected president, Eleanor transformed the role of first lady. Prior to Franklin’s election, the role of first lady was essentially to support the president and serve guests of the White House. Rather than fade into the shadows of her husband, she used his office to her advantage, fighting for issues about which she was passionate. She gave countless speeches and public appearance during his time in office.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat from New York, was President from 1933 to 1945. Roosevelt believed that the government should get involved and help people when the situation called for it, and he implemented several progressive policies to help end the Great Depression.
Museum Intern, University of Minnesota Undergrad
This panel is part of our 2014 exhibit on U.S. Presidents Between the World Wars. For educational purposes, we have made the document available as a pdf. -->