Since it’s President’s Day and all, I thought I would share the Top 10 most fascinating things I learned about FDR and Eleanor when I read the book “Franklin and Eleanor an Extraordinary Marriage” by Hazel Rowley.
1. FDR and Eleanor were cousins. Fifth generation, once removed. Whatever that means.
2. Although it wasn’t written into the constitution until 1951, it was an established tradition that a president didn’t run for more than two terms. FDR was elected to serve 4 terms as President.
3. Eleanor discovered he had an affair as early as 1918 with Lucy Mercer and Lucy was secretly with him on the day of his death. It is amazing that the Roosevelts were able to keep their unorthodox private lives out of the direct eye of the public.
4. FDR was stricken with polio in 1921 at the age of 39 and went to elaborate means to hide it from the public for fear of being seen as “weak.”
5. FDR famously said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” in his first inaugural speech in 1932.
6. FDR was a momma’s boy. His mother gave Franklin the money to fund his lavish lifestyle and she had the satisfaction of knowing that her generosity made his political career possible.
7. In his “first 100 days of office” FDR legalized the sale of beer as one of his first acts and soon after he ended 13 years of Prohibition.
8. The 1936 election was a landslide record breaking election for FDR. He took all states except Maine and Vermont winning 532 electoral votes of a total of 540.
9. Although he knew he was dying, FDR ran for a 4th term and won it in 1945.
10. FDR didn’t even serve 3 months of his 4th term before his death on 4.12.1945.
This was a well written and fascinating book about two very interesting people. They were able to keep a very complex and non traditional private life very secret. They accomplished great things as a couple, without losing their individual identity. And they remained committed and loving as a couple until the time of FDR’s death. I would highly recommend this book. It will teach you a lot about our history and keep you entertained at the same time.