nklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. Roosevelt was born to a Dutch American family who was well known especially because of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.

A member of the Democratic Party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a key political figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century.

FDR led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II, and greatly expanded the powers of the federal government through a series of programs and reforms known as the New Deal

Stricken with polio in 1921, Roosevelt spent much of his adult life in a wheelchair. A whole generation of Americans grew up knowing no other president other than FDR, whose social programs profoundly modified the role of government in Americans’ lives.

His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II, which ended shortly after he died in office. He is considered by many scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes

Chiang Kai-shek, Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill at the Cairo Conference
Chiang Kai-shek, Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill at the Cairo Conference

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“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.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945, two months before Roosevelt's death
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945

“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Roosevelt with Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas and other dignitaries in Brazil, 1936
Roosevelt with Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas in Brazil, 1936

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ― 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. Rooseveltt

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

“If you treat people right they will treat you right … ninety percent of the time.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany,
 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany, 

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Be sincere, Be brief, Be seated.” ― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” ― Franklin Delano Rooseveltt

“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“It isn’t sufficient just to want – you’ve got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt


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