Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR)
One of our nation's most popular presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented four terms, served longer than any other president, and led America through both the Great Depression and World War II. Yet Roosevelt was also a study in contradictions. A scion of one of the most elite families in the country, he became a hero to the common man and enacted policies that created the foundations of our social welfare system. A polished orator who inspired millions with his stirring speeches and intimate fireside chats, he was also a crafty (and sometimes shady) wheeler-dealer who knew how to pull the strings of Washington politics as well as anyone. And though he was known for his optimism and vigor, he was crippled from the waist down for most of his political career. What made Franklin D. Roosevelt tick, and how did he become one of the most influential leaders in American history?
And why should you still care about FDR today? Well, along with Washington and Lincoln, he's often ranked as one of the three greatest American presidents. Of course, "great" is pretty subjective, and like most larger-than-life figures he has both ardent admirers and fierce critics.
No one, however, can deny that FDR was one of our most influential presidents. Roosevelt led the nation through two of the greatest crises in its history, dramatically expanded the power of the presidency, and created new agencies that fundamentally transformed the federal government. Love him or leave him, his place in the history books is assured.