Portraits: Franklin D Roosevelt   6 comments

1933 photo by Elias Goldensky

1933 photo by Elias Goldensky

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)

The 32nd President of the United States, 1933 – 1945


From: New York

College: Harvard, Columbia Law School

Married to: Eleanor Roosevelt

Children: Anna, James, Franklin (I), Elliott, Franklin (II), John

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, New York State Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York

In His Words: “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”

“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

“In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”

“We must be the great arsenal of Democracy.”

“We do not see faith, hope, and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.”

Roosevelt and Fala“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.”

Not true: Hyde Park on the Hudson, a movie about FDR and his relationship with “Daisy” Suckley, was widely panned as poor history. It misstated the relationship between these two very good friends, and doesn’t portray events in a historically accurate way. For example, the cottage featured in the movie was not actually a surprise to Daisy; rather, she and Roosevelt collaborated on its design. Enjoy the movie if you like … but don’t look to it for history.

True: FDR and his wife called each other “CP,” a term of endearment that was short for “Certain Person.”

Roosevelt was the first President elected with a physical disability.

He was the first person to lose the election as a Vice Presidential candidate, and then win as the Presidential candidate.

A case can be made that Roosevelt was a racist. After the 1936 Olympics, all of the white athletes were invited to the White House. The black athletes, including the 4-gold medal winner Jesse Owens, were never acknowledged by Roosevelt. During the war, he ordered the internment of over 100,000 US citizens of Japanese descent.

FDR built a swimming pool and a movie theater in the White House.

Roosevelt was the first President to appear on television.

Roosevelt’s “New Deal” redefined the role of government in America. The new federal involvement in matters traditionally handled by the private sector was anathema to the conservatives of his day. His engagement in solving America’s economic problems, however, resulted in his election to an unprecedented 4 terms.

FDR worked at improving his reading speed. Eventually, he was able to absorb an entire paragraph at a single glance.

Roosevelt’s White House pet was a black Scottie named “Fala.”

In high school, I learned that FDR’s “New Deal” helped end the Great Depression and fueled the recovery. In college, I learned that the build-up of the war machine is actually what caused the recovery, and the “New Deal” actually had little impact on the economy. My conclusion: Democrats love it, Republicans hate it, and such is the nature of political discourse. It was true in the 70s, and it’s true today. Unfortunately.

The Official Portrait: Frank O Salisbury painted the image of FDR that ultimately became the Official White House Portrait.  The original was painted in 1935, and now hangs in the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. Salisbury made 5 copies, each with slight variations from the original. One of these is in the FDR Library, and the last, painted in 1947, hangs in the White House.

Franklin Roosevelt, Official White House Portrait

Franklin Roosevelt Signature


Freedom From Want

New York Times: Tapping The Inner Dog

6 responses to “Portraits: Franklin D Roosevelt

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  1. Hi-are the 5 copies accounted for?-tks-John

  2. Pingback: Most Read Posts From Year Five | MowryJournal.com

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