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An Overview of Franklin Roosevelt's Administration

Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as President for just over 12 years, longer than any other President before or since. He died just 83 days after being inaugurated for his fourth term.

Taking office at the depth of the Great Depression, Roosevelt's inaugural address called for faith in America's future and declared that "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He called his program the New Deal, and for the first time in American history the federal government took strong action to make the United States prosperous.

The start of World War II in 1939 divided Roosevelt's presidency into two parts. Until the German invasion of Poland that year, the government worked to end the depression. After the invasion, the government's focus shifted to helping its European allies without getting directly involved in the war. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, however, forced Roosevelt's hand and the United States entered the bloodiest war the world has ever seen.

White House portrait by Frank O. Salisbury
official portrait of President Franklin Roosevelt

His Vice-President and Cabinet

Vice-President John N. Garner
Henry A. Wallace (1941)
Harry S. Truman (1945)
Secretary of State Cordell Hull
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (1944)
Secretary of the Treasury William H. Woodin
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (1934)
Secretary of War George H. Dern
Harry H. Woodring (1937)
Henry L. Stimson (1940)
Attorney General Homer S. Cummings
Frank Murphy (1939)
Robert H. Jackson (1940)
Francis Biddle (1941)
Postmaster General James A. Farley
Frank C. Walker (1940)
Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson
Charles Edison (1940)
Frank Knox (1940)
James Forrestal (1944)
Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes
Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace
Claude R. Wickard (1940)
Secretary of Commerce Daniel C. Roper
Harry L. Hopkins (1938)
Jesse H. Jones (1940)
Henry A. Wallace (1945)
Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins

Major Domestic Events of His Administration

1933 The United States and Russia exchaged diplomatic representatives for the first time since 1917.
1933, March 6 Roosevelt declared a "bank holiday."
1933, March 12 Roosevelt gave the first of his "fireside chats."
1933, December The 21st Amendment officially ended Prohibition.
1934, May 31 Congress repealed the Platt Amendment.
1934, July Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to visit South America.
1935 The Social Security Act was enacted.
1935 The National Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to bargain collectively.
1935 The Supreme Court ruled the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.
1940 The Two-Ocean Navy Act was enacted.
1940 The Selective Service and Training Act was enacted.
1941 Congress passed the Lend-Lease Law, providing arms for Great Britain.
1941, December 7 Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
1941, December 8 The United States declared war on Japan.
1941, December 11 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

Major World Events of His Administration

1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancelor of Germany.
1936 Edward VIII abdicated the British throne to marry American divorcée Mrs. Wallis Simpson.
1936-1939 Rebels led by General Francisco Franco defeated the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War.
1939 The German invasion of Poland marked the start of World War II.
1942, December The world's first controlled nuclear chain reaction was achieved at the University of Chicago.


The American President

See Also

World War II
Harry S. Truman
Cordell Hull
Harry H. Woodring
Frances Perkins
National Industrial Recovery Act
Edward VIII
Spanish Civil War

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The Robinson Library >> Franklin Roosevelt's Administration

This page was last updated on January 06, 2019.