Franklin Roosevelt

President Roosevelt at Warm Springs, Georgia

While Franklin Delano Roosevelt impacted the United States in numerous ways, Georgians certainly had a unique connection to their president. Roosevelt began frequently visiting the state soon after he was diagnosed with polio, although his visits occurred less frequently once the war began.  He spent much of his time in Warm Springs, swimming in the warm pools there in order to strengthen his leg muscles.  As a sort of local celebrity, he became a part of Georgia’s history and many residents felt they had a connection with their president. These frequent visits allowed Roosevelt, a native New Yorker, to see the South as Southerners saw it. He frequently toured the local countryside and spoke with many of the poor farmers about their problems. This personal connection helped form much of Roosevelt’s New Deal Strategy, particularly aimed at assisting farmers.

President Roosevelt took office in one of the most uncertain times in American history.  Despite the considerable challenges facing him, he wasted no time in bringing relief to the victims of the Great Depression.  While his progressive politics drastically changed

The famous "Unfinished Portrait" of the late President Roosevelt

America’s economy, his strength of character and fortitude helped lead the nation through the Second World War.  While Georgians in general were against most of the President’s New Deal policies, they were far more accepting of his performance during World War II.  Many Georgia newspapers spoke often of Roosevelt’s day-to-day affairs and it was obvious that residents were very excited whenever the president came to visit.  During these regular visits, his “Little White House” quickly became a local landmark.  It was at this residence that FDR died from a brain hemorrhage in April, 1945; following his death, the location became a national historic site.  Georgians mourned the loss of President Roosevelt, the man who had led them through the most severe economic crisis in history and helped speed America’s victory in the most devastating war in history.

President Roosevelt was a proven leader and Georgians saw him as a close friend. Georgians had a mixed opinion of Roosevelt. While most Southerners were conservative, farmers were more tolerant of his liberal New Deal policies, because they saw these policies as an attempt to help improve their situation. It was something that the previous administration had not done for them. During wartime, Georgians along with the rest of the nation rallied around Roosevelt. He was seen as a dynamic president by Georgians, and many were proud of the fact that he considered Georgia as a home away from home.

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