What was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Net Worth?
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a politician and lawyer who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his passing in 1945. Franklin D. Roosevelt had an inflation-adjusted net worth of $60 million. Elected to a record four terms, he was a central figure in such historic events as the Great Depression and World War II, and was responsible for implementing such major legislation as the New Deal and the Fair Labor Standards Act. He served as a member of the New York State Senate for the 26th District from 1911 to 1913. From 1913 to 1920 Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. From 1929 to 1932 he was the 44th Governor of New York. Roosevelt was President during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 which he called “a date which will live in infamy”. Although some of his actions, including the internment of Japanese Americans during the war, have been criticized, Roosevelt is widely regarded as one of the best presidents in US history.
Early Life and Education
Franklin D. Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York to James Roosevelt I and Sara Delano, both of whom hailed from prominent and wealthy families. He had an older half-brother named James from his father’s prior marriage. During his childhood, Roosevelt often traveled to Europe with his family, making him conversant in French and German. He attended public school in Germany for a year, but otherwise was homeschooled until the age of 14. After that, Roosevelt went to Groton School in Massachusetts, and then to Harvard College, where he was a cheerleader and editor-in-chief of the Harvard Crimson paper. While in college, Roosevelt’s fifth cousin Theodore became president of the United States. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in history in 1903, Roosevelt enrolled at Columbia Law School. He ultimately dropped out once he passed the New York Bar Exam in 1907. The following year, Roosevelt joined the law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn.
Start of Political Career
Dissatisfied with his law career, Roosevelt chose to enter politics in 1910. He successfully ran for a seat in the New York State Senate, a victory aided by his name recognition and the Democratic landslide in the US elections. Roosevelt was reelected in 1912, and subsequently became the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, where he found success passing farm and labor legislation.
Due to his support of President Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Wilson in 1913. During his tenure in this position through 1919, he gained experience in labor and naval issues as well as wartime management. Moreover, during the breakout of World War I, he helped establish the US Navy Reserve and the Council of National Defense. In 1920, Roosevelt sought the vice presidential nomination and became the running mate of Democratic candidate James M. Cox. Ultimately, the pair was defeated by Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.
Polio and Comeback
Following his loss in the 1920 election, Roosevelt returned to law and became vice president of the Fidelity and Deposit Company. It was during this time he contracted a paralytic illness that left him paralyzed from the waist down; the diagnosis was polio. While attempting to recover, Roosevelt founded a rehabilitation center in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Although now unable to walk unaided, Roosevelt made his return to public office in 1929 when he became the governor of New York. During his two terms through 1932, he oversaw a number of programs designed to combat the Great Depression. He established a state employment commission, created the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration to deliver economic relief funds, and became the first governor to publicly endorse unemployment insurance.
First Presidential Term
As the Democratic candidate in the 1932 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover. He went on to begin his presidency in the midst of the ongoing Great Depression, and immediately began spearheading an unprecedented amount of federal legislation. Within his first year, Roosevelt devised and started implementing initiatives focused on economic relief, recovery, and reform; these projects were collectively grouped under what was called the New Deal. Among the prominent New Deal initiatives were the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Additionally, Roosevelt instituted substantial regulatory reforms pertaining to finance, labor, and communications.
Beyond the economy, Roosevelt sought to find a compromise on Prohibition with his Democratic Party. In 1933, he implemented the Beer Permit Act and enforced the 21st amendment, which repealed the 18th amendment’s ban on alcohol. Among the many other notable aspects of his first term, Roosevelt often used radio to speak directly to the American public, with his “fireside chats” making him the first US president to be televised.
Second and Third Presidential Terms
Having quickly and substantially improved the economy during his first term, Roosevelt won reelection in 1936 in one of the greatest landslides in US history. However, he experienced much political dissent during his second term, as his New Deal legislation was frequently struck down by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court. Roosevelt had better success with other legislation, including the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. He also oversaw the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as social security.
Roosevelt was reelected to a record third term in 1940, making him the only US president to serve more than two terms. With World War II brewing, he passed a series of laws affirming neutrality. However, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, he declared war on Japan. This led to the US’s entry into World War II as part of the Allied Powers. Roosevelt supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the war effort, initiated the Lend-Lease program to make the defeat of Nazi Germany the country’s first priority, and helped establish the United Nations. Under his wartime leadership, the United States emerged as a global superpower.
Final Presidential Term
Running on a postwar recovery platform, Roosevelt won a record fourth term in the 1944 presidential election. However, less than three months into his term in 1945, he passed away at the age of 63 due to his deteriorating health. Vice President Harry S. Truman took over as president and oversaw the surrender of the Axis Powers and the end of World War II.
Marriage and Family
As a student in college, Roosevelt began dating his fifth cousin once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1903, he proposed to her, and the two were married in 1905. The Roosevelts had six children: Anna, James, Elliott, Franklin, Franklin, and John. The first Franklin died in infancy.
Roosevelt had a number of extramarital affairs over the years, including with his wife’s social secretary Lucy Mercer. This affair led to the dissolution of his marriage to Eleanor; although they remained wed, they lived separately and acted more as political partners than spouses.