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Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Overcomes Disease to Become A World Leader By Elias Marr


Struck with polio in 1921 at the age of 39, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) overcame this disability to become one of the best presidents to ever live.

Born January 30 1882, FDR grew up with a large, rich family and he went to Groton school. He later would graduate from Harvard College in 1903. Then he went to Columbia Law School. When he was 23, he married his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, his 5th cousin. Roosevelt entered politics in 1910 when he was in the New York State Senate and then as the Assistant secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson in 1920, candidate James M. Cox picked FDR as his running mate, but Cox/Roosevelt lost to Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

In 1921, when FDR was struck with polio, his legs became paralyzed. It was very unusual for someone later in life to be stricken with this and FDR worried about his health and political future. During this time, people with disabilities were treated harshly and many felt people with disabilities should be sent away or stricken from society. This put FDR’s career in politics in danger, but he tried to recover from the disease. He worked hard and eventually formed the treatment center in Warm Springs, Georgia, for other people with polio.

FDR eventually returned to politics when he nominated Alfred E. Smith at the 1924 Democratic National Convention. Behind Smith, Roosevelt successfully ran for governor of New York in 1928. He was in office from 1929 to 1933 and was a reform governor, promoting the enactment of programs to combat the depression taking over the United States at that time. Roosevelt won the 1932 presidential election and took office in 1933.

During his first 100 days in office, Roosevelt introduced new executive orders programs that provided relief or government jobs for the unemployed. Then he brought the great depression to a halt and went to do more great things. He won re-election in 1936 by a landslide then things stated to go downhill. Problems like Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wagner Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Social Security. With World War two starting the Japanese invaded China, and Nazi, Germany was on the attack too. Roosevelt wanted to make America the arsenal of Democracy so we could be with allies. Later after the attack on Pearl Harbor he immediately declared war with Japan and then a few days later on Germany. The war ended in the defeat of the Axis Powers and he invented the first Atomic Bomb. His health went downhill during the war years and he died on April 12th, 1945 in the 11th week of his fourth term.

FDR overcame polio to become the only president to serve four terms and to do other great things. He truly overcame adversity.

Elias Marr is a sixth grader at Central Middle School.