Wisdom From A Wheelchair: An FDR Resource Guide

Despite his numerous health issues, including being paralyzed from the waist down, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is considered, by a large majority, one of the greatest Presidents in American history. Believing that his health issues would make him appear weak to outsiders and worry the American public, FDR rarely allowed himself to be photographed in his wheelchair, and went to great lengths to hid 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

  • Biography of FDR This article provides a quality biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, including the early years of his life.

  • Brief Biography This website provides a brief biography of FDR, including what he was known for and where he was born.

  • 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.

  • Biography and Video This site provides a biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as videos about and of him.

  • Famous President This website provides brief facts about this famous president, as well as a short biography.

  • Columbia’s Biography This biography of FDR comes from the school he attended: Columbia University.

Lesson Plans

  • Four Freedoms Lesson This website provides resources, lesson plans and activities for studying the four freedoms.

  • FDR’s Disabilities 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 This website offers a comprehensive lesson plan for high school teachers focusing on the Great Depression and how FDR handled it.

  • Great Depression This lesson plan focuses on how the American people dealt with the great depression and how they responded to FDR.

  • The Supreme Court This lesson plan focuses on why FDR wanted to change the Supreme Court to help keep the New Deal.

FDR Study Guides

  • Four Freedoms Study Guide This study guide focuses on FDR’s four freedoms: freedom of 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.

  • The Great Depression This study guide focuses on the cause of the Great Depression and how FDR handled it.

  • FDR and the War This study guide provides 56 study questions about the War and President Roosevelt.

  • Great Depression and New Deal Study Guide A study guide for two of the major parts of FDR’s presidency, with 59 study questions.

  • Crash of 1929 This study guide focuses on the period right before and after the Great Depression.

Legacy

FDR is most commonly remembered for his implementation of the New Deal, 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, that 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. He was placed on digitalis for what some believe to be congenital heart failure.

  • 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.

  • Health Issues This website provides a list of all of the known health issues that President Roosevelt faced.

Recommended Reading

  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt This book, written by Edmund Morris, details how FDR became the 32nd president of the United States.

  • Roosevelts Writings This website provides a list of the writings of FDR.

  • By and About This website details all of the books written by and about President Roosevelt.

  • Good Books These three books focusing on President Roosevelt are recommended by America’s Library.

  • Theodore Roosevelt Collection This website provides a list of books, photographs and exhibits all about President Roosevelt.

  • The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt This book, written by Lewis L. Gould, details the presidency of FDR.

  • The Wilderness Warrior This book, written by Douglas Brinkley, provide details on the private life of FDR, including his love of hunting.

  • Books and Articles This website provides a comprehensive list of a majority of the books and articles written about Theodore Roosevelt.

  • Articles and Editorials This website provides a detailed list of all of the articles and editorials written by FDR.

  • Why We Should Study FDR This TIME Magazine article explains why Americans should study the life and works of President Roosevelt.

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