Franklin Delano Roosevelt is remembered as a leader of tremendous significance in the history of the United States, the President who led his country through the Great Depression and World War II. Campobello was his "beloved island," a home place during his early years, and is therefore a fitting site to honor his memory.
Running for president against Herbert Hoover in 1932, FDR campaigned vigorously and promised a "new deal for the American people." He was elected in a landslide. In his March 4, 1933, inaugural address, during the worst economic crisis in U.S. history, he said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Within days, he had saved the nation's financial institutions from collapse through an extended "bank holiday".
Barely a week into office, FDR made the first of his "Fireside Chat" radio broadcasts, which persuasively explained the administration's policies to a vast national radio audience. The New Deal profoundly changed the U.S. by introducing social security and unemployment insurance, price supports for farmers and a minimum wage for workers, insurance for bank deposits and regulation of the stock market. An "alphabet soup" of new government agencies (some of which lasted only a few years) implemented these changes.
The greatest political campaigner of his era, FDR sought and won an unprecedented third term as president in 1940. By the end of the 1930's, much of his attention had shifted from unemployment to German and Japanese military aggression. As war broke out in Europe, FDR worked to overcome American isolationism and provided vital aid to Britain. The subsequent U.S. increase in defense production returned most of the unemployed to work. On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, FDR signed the Congressional declaration of war against Japan. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. After Pearl Harbor, he oversaw an industrial and military mobilization that armed the democracies and helped to win the largest war in history. In 1944, his health deteriorating, FDR successfully campaigned for a fourth term as president. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs on April 12, 1945, just a few weeks before the Allies' victory in Europe. He was 63.