Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Hyde Park, New York August 16, 2004 12th Visited

Commander-in-chief longer than anyone in
the history of the United States, Franklin D.
Roosevelt died during his fourth term as
president. He was buried in the rose garden
between his presidential library and the
Roosevelt family mansion -- Springwood --
in Hyde Park, New York.

Franklin's wife, Eleanor, was his fifth cousin,
once removed. Though they grew
emotionally distant from one another in
part due to Franklin's infidelity, they were
effective political partners during their
twelve years in the White House. The first
lady traveled and visited Americans
impacted by the Great Depression and
pushed the president to support liberal
causes she believed would alleviate their
economic and social hardships.

* Fast Facts * *

- First Lady: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

  - Spouse: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (m. 1905-1945)

- Political Party: Democratic Party

- Term: 1933-1945

- Vice President: John Nance Garner IV (1933-1941)

   Henry Agard Wallace (1941-1945)
   Harry S. Truman (1945)

- Born: January 30, 1882

- Died: April 12, 1945

- Age: 63

- Cause of Death: Cerebral Hemorrhage

- Last Words: "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head."

 Cemetery: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park,
    New York

- GPS Coordinates: 41°46'04.9"N 73°56'05.4"W

* Background on Franklin D. Roosevelt * *

* Born to the Hyde Park branch of a prominent Dutch New York family, Franklin Delano Roosevelt grew up admiring a member of the Roosevelt family branch that summered instead in Oyster Bay: his fifth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin followed his relative’s meteoric rise in both politics and war, a trajectory that in 1901 led Cousin Theodore to the White House. Franklin spent much of his early adulthood trying to emulate his cousin, with the hope that he too could one day be president. Franklin studied at Theodore’s alma mater, Harvard University, and even wore the same style of eyeglasses as his famous cousin. After a foray into law, Franklin entered into politics in 1910 -- and although he aligned himself with the Democratic Party rather than the Republicans, former President Theodore Roosevelt supported his cousin, for he believed he would take up TR’s long-fought battle against political bosses. The younger Roosevelt was swept into the New York State Senate on a Democratic wave, and though he was a reformer at heart, his intermittent attendance at legislative debates called his accountability and conviction into question.

He left Albany in 1913, when he was offered the position of assistant secretary of the Navy – a post Theodore Roosevelt had once held. As a member of Woodrow Wilson’s administration, FDR galvanized a 50,000 man naval reserve and improved shipyards leading up to American entry into the Great War. In 1920, he was tapped to be the vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket headed by James M. Cox, governor of Ohio. Yet, unlike his late cousin TR, FDR was not elected vice president. Voters wary of Wilson's internationalism soundly rejected the progressive platform the Democrats advocated for in favor of the “America first” conservatism offered by Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin CoolidgeIn August 1921, less than a year after losing his vice presidential bid, Roosevelt was dealt a more devastating blow. While vacationing at his family’s cottage on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, he became severely ill. Beset by fever and delirium, the vivacious thirty-nine-year-old's leg muscles were diminished to the point where he could no longer walk. Roosevelt was diagnosed with infantile paralysis, also known as poliomyelitis. Over the next few years FDR shifted his focus from politics to regaining use of his legs -- which he never managed -- and polio research. 

* Roosevelt re-entered the political arena in 1924, when New York Governor Al Smith requested he serve as chairman of Citizens for Smith in a lead-up to Smith's presidential run. Roosevelt submitted Smith's name for consideration for the Democratic presidential nomination twice -- unsuccessfully in 1924, and successfully in 1928. After Smith secured the White House nod, he prodded Roosevelt to vie to replace him as New York governor. Though Smith lost, FDR won the election to become his gubernatorial successor. Midway through FDR's two-year-term, on October 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street collapsed, marking the symbolic start of the Great Depression. While the wealthiest Americans and businesses financially prospered during the "Roaring Twenties," laborers -- particularly in the farming and manufacturing industries -- had seen profits and jobs recede for several years. The stock market crash of 1929 marked a more precipitous decline. Caused in part by an extended period of reckless speculation enabled by laissez-faire post-war policies, the crash took down investment companies, businesses, and consumer confidence. The Federal Government did little at first to help struggling Americans directly, but Governor Roosevelt put New Yorkers to work on conservation projects and created the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration -- the first state agency in U.S. history to provide unemployment relief. His efforts saw to his re-election in 1930, and in 1932 he was named the Democratic presidential nominee. FDR unprecedentedly accepted his nomination in person at the Chicago convention and promised Americans a New Deal in which the Federal Government would provide help and instill hope -- things many voters found lacking in President Herbert Hoover's administration.

Over the ensuing months Roosevelt campaigned vigorously -- all the while disguising his paralytic disability through the use of cumbersome leg braces and by leaning on lecterns and trusted confidantes. 57.4% of voters cast their ballots for FDR that November and handed him forty-two of the forty-eight states. After his inauguration in March 1933, President Roosevelt immediately went to work on attempting to stem the economic crisis. On his first full day in office, Congress -- which the president gathered for a special session -- declared a national bank holiday to prevent panicked depositors from withdrawing their savings and inducing bank failures. On March 9th, FDR signed the Emergency Banking Act, which prompted the Federal Reserve Banks to issue currency to smaller banks across the country and instill confidence in Americans that they could redeposit their funds without fear of the institutions closing. Via a radio address that weekend, the president explained to American listeners the banking crisis and the steps the government was taking to address it. It was the first of thirty fireside chats he held during his White House tenure. Roosevelt's message resonated with many people, and roughly half of the money Americans had withdrawn was returned when the banks re-opened.

* During the eponymous “First Hundred Days” of Roosevelt’s administration, he and the Democrat-controlled Congress enacted sweeping legislation aimed at creating employment opportunities and restoring American financial stability. The Civilian Conservation Corps Reforestation Relief Act put three million young men to work developing and preserving natural resources. The Federal Emergency Relief Act resulted in the creation of unskilled local and state government jobs. The Glass-Steagall Act placed regulations on the banking industry. Well beyond the “First Hundred Days,” Roosevelt carefully navigated the line between the liberal and conservative factions of his party to secure passage of New Deal legislation. Some of the acts and the agencies they created were more effective than others. Some legislation was ruled unconstitutional, such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Critics decried FDR’s actions as socialist and fascist, but so many Americans felt they benefited from the Federal Government’s activist approach that Roosevelt was re-elected in 1936 by the largest electoral landslide in the popular vote era. Emboldened by his decisive victory, FDR aimed to stop the Supreme Court from invalidating his legislation with the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill, which would have allowed the president to add an additional justice to the bench for each sitting judge over seventy years old. The bill has hotly contested, and FDR did not protest its demise once the Court’s jurisprudence switched to favor New Deal laws.

In 1937, out of a desire to thwart inflation and balance the budget, FDR slashed funds for relief and public works -- actions he reversed after they resulted in decreased wages and production. After France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany following its invasion of Poland in 1939, FDR convinced Congress to pass the Neutrality Act of 1939, which lifted the embargo that would have prevented the U.S. from selling arms to its allies. Although the U.S. remained officially neutral, FDR started preparation for American entry into World War II by asking Congress to increase the defense budget and production. After his unprecedented third presidential election victory, Roosevelt focused primarily on foreign policy and war preparedness. The U.S. provided additional aid to the U.K., France, and China through the Lend-Lease program and froze Japan's U.S. assets so as to hinder its Pacific invasion. That prompted the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service to bomb the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. FDR then called upon Congress to declare war on Japan, and -- due to their pact between the Axis Powers -- Germany and Italy supported Japan and declared war on the U.S. Increased wartime manufacturing ended the Great Depression, and between the draft and voluntary enlistment, 16 million Americans served in the Armed Forces during the conflict. FDR's third term was highlighted by coordinated Allied efforts to liberate Europe and marred by the simultaneous forced relocation of 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps on the Pacific Coast. Beleaguered by increased health problems, including congestive heart failure, President Roosevelt died early into his fourth term on April 12, 1945 -- less than a month before Germany's unconditional surrender, and four months before Japan followed suit.

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