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Despite his numerous health issues, including waist-down paralysis, people see Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) as the greatest President in American history. Believing that his health issues would make him appear weak to outsiders and worry the American public, FDR rarely would allow photographers to feature him in his wheelchair, and he went to great lengths to hide his other ailments. Even in his poorest condition, President Roosevelt changed the social policies of America, and helped conceive of the single largest peace keeping organization in the world – the United Nations. The following links will provide biographical information, lesson plans, study guides and information on FDR's legacy, as well as suggested readings.

Brief Biographies of FDR

  • Biography of FDR: This article provides a quality biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, including the early years of his life.
  • Brief Biography: A brief biography of FDR.
  • White House Biography This short biography from the White House details the life of America's 32nd president.
  • Innagural Addresses: This website has a biography of FDR, as well as links to his four inaugural addresses.
  • Famous President: This website provides brief facts about this famous president, as well as a short biography.
  • Columbia's Biography: This biography comes from Columbia University, where President Roosevelt attended school.

Lesson Plans

  • Four Freedoms Lesson This website provides resources, lesson plans and activities for studying the four freedoms.
  • This lesson plan focuses on President Roosevelt’s disabilities, teaching students about how he hid the disabilities and overcame them.
  • FDR And the Supreme Court: These four lessons teach children about how FDR dealt with his constituents and the judicial system.
  • The New Deal: This lesson plan focuses on the New Deal, helping elementary aged students understand it.
  • The Great Depression and FDR: Offers a lesson plan on the Great Depression and how President Roosevelt handled it.
  • Great Depression: Focuses on how the American people dealt with the great depression and how they responded to FDR.
  • The Supreme Court: Focuses on why FDR wanted to change the Supreme Court to help keep the New Deal.

FDR Study Guides

  • Four Freedoms Study Guide: Focuses on FDR's four freedoms: speech, religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
  • FDR Study Guide: This website provides study questions and essay ideas for student's focusing on President Roosevelt.
  • FDR and the War This study guide provides 56 study questions about the War and President Roosevelt.
  • Crash of 1929: This study guide focuses on the period right before and after the Great Depression.


People commonly remember President Roosevelt for his implementation of the New Deal. The New Deal was a set of social programs intended to aid the America public during the Great Depression. His idea for a peace keeping organization gave way to the inception of the United Nations. Although, this did not happen until after his sudden death. He was such a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts. He actually became the President of the New York Boy Scouts, attending several functions during his presidency. Historians and analysts consider Roosevelt one of the best and most influential presidents in American History, in league with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

His Disabilities

In 1921, well before his presidency, FDR contracted what was then believed to be polio, becoming paralyzed from the waist down. In later years, this diagnosis was heavily debated, with many believing he actually had Guillain Barre syndrome. Since he became paralyzed, FDR underwent countless different therapies, refusing to settle for being paralyzed, even teaching himself to walk for short distances. He is also believed to have had hypertension, anemia, and possibly melanoma.

  • Disability and Deception This article describes the many ailments of the 32nd president and how he hid them from the American people.
  • The Death of FDR: This article explains when and how FDR died, including speculation into his health issues.
  • The Dying President: This article details how those working with FDR dealt with his ailing health.

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