Franklin Roosevelt Facts & Worksheets

Franklin Roosevelt facts and information plus worksheet packs and fact file. Includes 5 activities aimed at students 11-14 years old (KS3) & 5 activities aimed at students 14-16 years old (GCSE). Great for home study or to use within the classroom environment.

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    • Early Life of Franklin Roosevelt
    • Roosevelt as the Governor of New York
    • Presidency and Re-election

    Key Facts And Information

    Let’s find out more about Franklin Roosevelt!

    Franklin Roosevelt

    Franklin Roosevelt served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. He was a member of the Democratic Party who won a record four presidential elections during the first half of the twentieth century and became a prominent leader in global events. With the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt acted quickly to restore public confidence, declaring a bank holiday and speaking directly to the public in a series of radio broadcasts or ‘fireside chats’. His ambitious slate of New Deal programmes and reforms redefined the federal government’s role in Americans’ lives.

    Early Life

    • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, born on 30 January 1882 on a large estate near the village of Hyde Park, New York, was the only child of James Roosevelt I and his second wife, Sara Ann Delano. Roosevelt’s parents, who were sixth cousins, came from wealthy old New York families, the Roosevelts, Aspinwalls and Delanos, respectively. 
    • Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family. Roosevelt’s father, James, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1851 but opted not to practise law after inheriting money from his grandpa, James Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s father was a famous Bourbon Democrat who once accompanied Franklin to the White House to see President Grover Cleveland.
    • Roosevelt learnt German and French due to frequent visits to Europe. He went on his first trip at the age of two and travelled with his parents every year from the age of seven to fifteen. Roosevelt was educated at home until he was 14 years old, except when he went to public school in Germany at the age of nine. 
    • He then enrolled in the third form at Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts. Endicott Peabody, the school’s headmaster, lectured about Christians’ responsibility to serve the less fortunate and encouraged his students to seek public service. Roosevelt’s life was influenced by Peabody, who officiated at his wedding and paid him a visit during his presidency.
    • Roosevelt learnt to ride, shoot, row and play polo and lawn tennis, among other things. In his teens, he took up golf and became a proficient long hitter. He began sailing at a young age and, when he was 16, his father gave him a sailing boat.
    • Franklin fell in love with Theodore Roosevelt’s niece (and his own distant cousin), Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, while in college, and the two married in 1905. Anna Roosevelt was the couple’s only daughter, and they had four sons: James Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt Jr, Elliott Roosevelt and John A Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt, the fifth son, died in infancy.
    • Roosevelt’s father died in 1900, which caused him a tremendous deal of grief. Roosevelt’s sixth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, was elected president of the United States the following year. Franklin looked up to Theodore because of his strong leadership style and reformist enthusiasm. Franklin received his AB from Harvard in 1903. He enrolled in Columbia Law School in 1904, but left after passing the New York Bar Examination in 1907. In 1908, he joined the prominent Carter Ledyard & Milburn legal firm, where he worked in the admiralty law division.

    Governor of New York

    Governor Roosevelt

    He joined politics in 1910, earning a state senate seat as a Democrat in Republican-leaning Dutchess County. Roosevelt was appointed assistant secretary of the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. After the United States entered World War I, he spent the following seven years in that position, going to Europe in 1918 to visit naval stations and battlefields.

    • Roosevelt was 39 years old when he was diagnosed with polio in 1921. He withdrew from public life for a time, focusing on recovery at his house in Hyde Park, where he swam three times a week in the Astor pool, gradually recovering his strength. 
    • Roosevelt began to return to public life with the help of his wife and long-standing supporter, writer Louis Howe, giving remarks on current events and maintaining communication with Democrat leaders. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke in public around New York State, preserving her husband’s reputation despite his sickness, and she also created the Democratic Party’s women's section. 
    • Franklin made a spectacular public appearance in 1924 at the Democratic National Convention, where he nominated Governor Alfred E Smith of New York for president (though Smith lost the nomination and the Democrats lost the general election).
    • He nominated Smith again in 1928, this time with success, and agreed to run for governor of New York at Smith’s insistence. Smith was defeated by Herbert Hoover, but Roosevelt was victorious. 
    • As New York (and the country) slid further into economic distress following the stock market crash of 1929, Governor Roosevelt became increasingly liberal in his policies. He established the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA), which aimed to find work for the unemployed, and by 1932, TERA was assisting roughly one out of every ten New York households.


    • Roosevelt was re-elected governor in 1930 and became the Democratic presidential front-runner two years later. In the general election, a confident and exuberant Roosevelt triumphed by an overwhelming margin over the incumbent Hoover, who had become a symbol for many people of the ongoing Great Depression. He broke tradition and appeared in person in Chicago to accept the nomination, famously pledging himself to “a new deal for the American people”. Democrats also secured significant majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
    • The Great Depression had reached terrible proportions by the time Roosevelt was inaugurated on 4 March 1933, with 13 million unemployed people. “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper...[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Roosevelt proclaimed in his first inaugural speech, which was widely aired on radio. 
    • Roosevelt began his historic first 100 days in power by shutting down all banks for several days to allow Congress to approve reform legislation. He also started holding open news conferences and frequent national radio broadcasts in which he addressed the American people directly.
    • The first of these ‘fireside chats’ about the financial crisis was broadcast to a 60 million radio audience, and it went a big way towards restoring public trust and avoiding dangerous bank runs. 
    • Three out of every four banks were open within a week of the passage of the Emergency Banking Relief Act.
    • The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Public Works Administration (PWA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) were all established during FDR’s first hundred days of legislation.
    • Roosevelt instituted a series of financial reforms, including the creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), to protect depositors’ accounts, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to regulate the stock market and prevent abuses like those that led to the 1929 crash, in addition to programmes aimed at providing economic relief for workers and farmers and creating jobs for the unemployed.

      Signing of the Social Security Act
    • In 1935, Roosevelt pushed Congress to adopt a second round of changes, known as the Second New Deal, as the economy began to show signs of recovery. The Works Progress Administration and the Social Security Act (which for the first time provided Americans with unemployment, disability and old-age pensions) were among them. The Democratic-led Congress also increased taxes on major firms and affluent individuals, dubbed the ‘soak-the-rich’ tax by some.
    • Despite the fact that eight million workers remained unemployed in 1936, the economy had improved since 1932, and Roosevelt was popular. 
    • After Louisiana Senator Huey Long’s assassination in 1935, an attempt by Long and others to form a left-wing alternative to the Democratic Party collapsed. 
    • Roosevelt won renomination with little opposition at the 1936 Democratic National Convention, while his allies overcame Southern resistance to permanently abolish the long-established rule that required Democratic presidential candidates to win the votes of two-thirds of the delegates rather than the votes of the people.
    • Roosevelt won 60.8 percent of the vote in the election against Landon, a third-party candidate, and took every state except Maine and Vermont. 
    • The Democratic ticket received the most votes in the popular vote. 
    • Democrats also increased their congressional majorities, gaining control of more than three-quarters of the seats in both chambers. 
    • The New Deal coalition was also consolidated in this election; while the Democrats lost some of their usual corporate supporters, they were replaced by organisations like organised labour and African Americans, the latter of whom voted Democratic for the first time since the Civil War.
    • FDR warned the American public about the threats presented by hard-line regimes in Germany, Italy and Japan as early as 1937, while he stopped short of advocating adopting America’s isolationist policy. However, when World War II broke out in September 1939, Roosevelt requested a special session of Congress to alter the country’s existing neutrality rules and allow Britain and France to buy American weaponry ‘cash and carry’. By the end of June 1940, Germany had conquered France, and Roosevelt had persuaded Congress to grant further aid to Britain, which was now on its own in combatting the Nazi threat.
    • Roosevelt decided to seek re-election in 1940, against the two-term presidential tradition that had existed since George Washington’s time; he defeated Wendell L. Willkie by roughly 5 million votes.
    • Roosevelt came before a joint session of Congress on 8 December 1941, the day after Japan struck the US naval station at Pearl Harbor, and declared war on Japan. The first president to leave the country during wartime, Roosevelt spearheaded the alliance between countries combatting the Axis, meeting frequently with Churchill and seeking to establish friendly relations with the Soviet Union and its leader, Joseph Stalin. Meanwhile, he was constantly on the radio, reporting on war developments and mobilising support for the war effort from the American people.
    • Roosevelt was so weak when he returned from Yalta that he had to sit down while speaking to Congress for the first time in his administration. He left Washington in early April 1945 to return to his cottage in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he had long established a nonprofit organisation to help polio patients. Roosevelt died on 12 April 1945 after a severe brain hemorrhage. Harry S. Truman, his vice president, took over as president.