Freedom: A History of US.
Webisode Menu Tools & Activities For Teachers About the Series Search This Site
Webisode 12: Depression and War
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

See it Now - click the image and explore
FDR on Crutches
Segment 3
Franklin D. Roosevelt meets the people A New Deal

Franklin Roosevelt wasn't a prince, but when he was a boy he lived like one—See It Now - Young FDR in a big house with gardens, a pony, dogs, and lots of servants. That wasn't unusual for children of America's upper class. When Franklin was five years old, in 1887, his father took him to meet Grover Cleveland See It Now - Grover Cleveland, the first Democrat to be president in twenty-eight years. It must have been a hard day for Cleveland because this is what he told the boy: Hear It Now - Grover Cleveland "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you. It is that you may never be president of the United States."

Just tell a kid what you don't want him to do and he will go for it. So it may have been that day that Franklin first got the idea that he would like to be president. By the time he was twenty-nine-years-old, he was elected New York state senator. Then President Woodrow Wilson made him assistant secretary of the navy See It Now - FDR as Secretary of the Navy. In 1920, he ran for vice president. He lost, but people began to talk of him as a politician to watch .

He by now had a large family See It Now - FDR Family Portrait: a busy wife, whose name was also Roosevelt—Eleanor Roosevelt—a daughter, and four sons. One night, he went to bed, not feeling well; the next morning, he couldn't move. He was thirty-nine and he had a dreadful disease: poliomyelitis (or, as it was called then, "infantile paralysis"). Usually it struck children, but it was especially hard on adult victims. At first Roosevelt couldn't move at all. Slowly, with painful therapy and concentration, he regained the use of his upper body See It Now - FDR on Crutches.

Icon Key
See it Now Hear it Now Check the Source
Image Browser
Additional Resources
Did You Know?
In 1933 President Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins as his secretary of labor. She served twelve years, and was the first female to serve as a cabinet member.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

Previous Continue to: Segment 3. Page 2
Email to a friend
Print this page