When the stock market crashed in 1929, the United States plummeted into the Great Depression. By the early 1930s, millions of people were out of work. Many of them were homeless and roaming the country looking for employment. The people needed a strong leader to bring about reforms and rebuild the people's faith in their government. They found this person in Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Franklin Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family on January 30, 1882. His childhood was a happy one. He was pampered by his mother, provided with the best that money could buy, and well educated. He met his wife, Eleanor, while attending Harvard University. They married on March 17, 1905. During their marriage they had five children. In 1921, Franklin was struck by polio. His strong spirit gave him courage to fight the disease and regain some use of his legs. In 1924, he was able to attend the Democratic Convention with the use of crutches, a major milestone for polio victims.
Franklin had high regard for his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt. Because of this admiration, Franklin became involved in politics early in his adult life. Between 1910 and 1932, he served in the New York Senate, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson, was nominated as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and served as governor of New York. As governor during the early years of the Depression, he put in place many reforms in the state which earned him national attention. With this exposure, he was able to secure the nomination for president of the U.S., winning the office in November of 1932 with promises of a "New Deal."