Early life and career
Born into a rich, upper class family in Hyde Park, New York, FDR - a distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt - was educated in Europe and at Harvard and Columbia law schools, before being called to the New York Bar in 1907.[N 1] FDR served as State Senator from 1910 to 1913 and Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920, before becoming Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency. Despite being stricken with polio and paralyzed (1921-1923), FDR was elected Governor of New York, serving from 1928 until 1932, when he defeated Herbert Hoover in the presidential election.
FDR as President
Immediately after his election, Roosevelt dealt with the Great Depression by instigating the New Deal programme, resulting in abandonment of the gold standard, devaluation of the dollar, state intervention in the credit market, agricultural price support, and, in 1935, passage of a Social Security act, providing insurance for old age and unemployment. The success of these reforms resulted in him being re-elected by a landslide in 1936.
During the late 1930s, Roosevelt endeavored to avoid US involvement in any European conflict.
World War II
Following the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt held a conference with Winston Churchill, which resulted in the Atlantic Charter. This was followed by the pair meeting Joseph Stalin at Tehran in 1943 and Yalta in 1945.