fdr-memThe Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on the edge of the Potomac Tidal Basin. It honors the life of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945). The outdoor space of the memorial has four rooms that represent Roosevelt’s four terms in office: 1933-1937; 1937-1941; 1941-1945; and 1945. These years were significant in U.S. history; they spanned the Great Depression, the New Deal, Pearl Harbor, and World War II.

Sculptures in each room of the memorial show events of that time, such as a man listening to the President on the radio. Roosevelt was the first President to regularly use the radio for national broadcasts, which were known as fireside chats; he was also the first President to fly in a plane and the first to appoint a woman to the Presidential Cabinet.

Roosevelt was the only President to serve more than two terms in office; he was elected to four. His was the longest Presidency in U.S. history. After his fourth and final term, the 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution set a term limit for Presidential office.

The water in the memorial echoes activities in Roosevelt’s life. He liked to swim and sail; he served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy; he established the Warm Springs Institute in Georgia to help those afflicted with polio; and he signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act into law, which aimed to reduce flood damage, provide hydroelectric or water-based power, and promote development.

Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at 39 years of age and used a wheelchair and cane for the rest of his life. Reporters and photographers at the time did not mention or show his disability, and photographs mainly show Roosevelt seated or supported by a podium. The statue of FDR in a wheelchair in the memorial was not part of the original design, and it was not included in the official dedication of the memorial in 1997. Organizations advocated for the statue to be included, and it was added in 2001.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial facts and figures:

  • It is the largest Presidential memorial on the National Mall, covering 7.5 acres.
  • It is the only Presidential memorial to include a First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

To learn more, see the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial site.

To learn more about the 22nd Amendment and Presidential term limits, visit the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation at govinfo.gov.