On this day in 1944: Franklin D Roosevelt elected president for fourth term

With one presidential election due to take place tomorrow, we take a look back at one from the 1940s - when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president for an historic fourth term.

Franklin D Roosevelt, who served as POTUS for 12 years, pictured in 1928. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Franklin D Roosevelt, who served as POTUS for 12 years, pictured in 1928. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The 32nd president of the United States died in office just a year later, but was a figurehead in the Democrats from 1932 until his death in April 1945.

Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt - Franklin’s fifth cousin - was elected President while the younger Roosevelt was attending university at Harvard, and he looked upon the 26th president a role model and icon.

While studying at Harvard, Roosevelt edited the university newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, and became engaged to Eleanor Roosevelt - his fifth cousin and niece of Theodore - during his final year.

Prior to becoming president, Roosevelt served as a New York senator and governor of New York.

His first attempt at the presidency was forgettable, as he and running mate James M Cox lost out to Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

But he was elected in 1933 on a ticket with John Nance Garner, and the pair carried all but six statesas they swept to victory over incumbent Herbert Hoover and running mate Charles Curtis.

President during the Great Depression and World War II, Roosevelt sought to help the American people as much as possible, signing the Social Security Act in 1935 to provide aid to senior citizens and others in need.

Roosevelt was the only president in history to be elected four times - the 22nd Amendment preventing was ratified in 1951 - although Ulysses S Grant and, coincidentally, Theodore Roosevelt both attempted third terms but failed.

FDR also appointed the first woman to a cabinet post in a US administration.

Frances Perkins was named Secretary of the Department of Labor in 1933, holding the post for 12 years, during which she played a key role in writing New Deal legislation.

Ultimately, the stress of war took its toll on Roosevelt, who had been diagnosed with polio in 1921 and left paralysed from the waist down.

In March 1944, hospital tests revealed Roosevelt was suffering from congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Despite this, Roosevelt and Missouri senator Harry S Truman won the 1944 election.

Two months after attending the Yalta Conference to discuss post-war reorganisation, Roosevelt suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and died in Georgia in April 1945.

Roosevelt led the US through an economic depression as well as the Second World War, with his social programmes helping to shape the government’s role.

His work during World War II helped to establish the US as a world leader and his 12-year stint in office arguably redefined liberalism.