April 12

On this day. 1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt died. He was the 32nd president, serving between 1933-45. Elected to the presidency a record four times, Roosevelt guided America through its most challenging period — the Great Depression and World War II. After his death, the constitution was amended, saying a president could only be elected twice.

Roosevelt's New Deal coalition dominated American politics for two decades. Elected at the very depths of the Great Depression, FDR entered office under the campaign theme song "Happy Days Are Here Again." His first 100 days were a whirlwind of activity against which all subsequent administrations have been measured. Despite the polio that required him to use crutches or a wheelchair, Roosevelt's never-ending optimism revived the spirit of the nation. As Europe plunged into war in 1939, Roosevelt at first maintained neutrality but soon gave today's equivalent of $650 billion in aid to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and other nations. After America entered the war itself in December 1941, Roosevelt oversaw the transformation of the United States into the "Arsenal of Democracy" that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Quote of the day

"We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." –Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." –Franklin D. Roosevelt

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