U.S. #1298 – Roosevelt won by 3.6 million votes.

FDR Elected to Record Fourth Term

On November 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first and only U.S. President elected to a fourth term.

Franklin Roosevelt first ran for President in 1932. He ran against incumbent President Herbert Hoover, who many blamed for the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s contagious optimism and promise of a “New Deal” helped sweep him into office. And he followed through on his promises, instituting a number of new improvement programs during his first 100 days in office. Roosevelt’s progressive programs helped America out of the Depression and he was easily re-elected in 1936.

U.S. #1284bs – Roosevelt won 36 states against Dewey’s 12.

By 1940, much of the world was at war and Roosevelt was approaching the end of his second term. Though it wasn’t a written law, most presidents before him chose not to run for a third term, following George Washington’s example. Early on, Roosevelt had suggested that he wouldn’t run for a third term. But as the war continued overseas, he believed he was the only one with the experience and skills to lead the nation through the Nazi threat. Though his choice to run for a third term was controversial, Roosevelt won the election by a comfortable margin.

U.S. #1284c – The 1944 election was last in which a candidate received over 90% of the vote in a single state (FDR had 94% of the votes in Mississippi).

A little over a year later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and Roosevelt had to break his campaign promise to keep America out of the war. He joined with Britain to form the Allied Powers to fight Germany and Japan.

In 1944, Roosevelt faced another election. He easily won his party’s nomination, but many opposed his vice-president, Henry Wallace. Roosevelt’s health was noticeably declining, and many within his own democratic party believed that Wallace was too left-wing to assume the presidency if something happened to him. Party leaders suggested Senator Harry Truman. Though Roosevelt didn’t know him, he agreed to accept him as his running mate to maintain party unity.

U.S. #3185a – Had he won, Dewey would’ve been the youngest U.S. president ever.

There were several Republican front runners early on, including General Douglas MacArthur. But as he was commanding Allied troops in the Pacific, he couldn’t campaign. Ultimately, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey won the party’s nomination. He criticized FDR’s New Deal and pushed for a smaller government and less-regulated economy.

U.S. #2219d – This was the only election in which both candidates hailed from the same county (Dutchess in New York).

Roosevelt didn’t plan to campaign, but as rumors about his ill-health flourished, he launched a vigorous tour in October. He rode in an open car through city streets to show Americans he was in good health. American victories in the Pacific kept Roosevelt’s popularity high and he easily won the election on November 7, 1944. He did win by a smaller percentage than in the previous elections, though.

Item #97833 – Roosevelt served 1,500 more days than the average two-term president.

Concerns over Roosevelt’s health were not unfounded. The April following his election, he suffered a stroke and passed away, leading Truman to ascend to the presidency.

In the years after the election, the Republican party campaigned to set a two-term limit on the presidency. They succeeded in 1951 with the passage of the 22nd Amendment.

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  1. He was easily the greatest president save for Lincoln. A great president does what is needed for his country to flourish and survive. Roosevelt always did that. I was born during his third term and do not remember those times, but my parents saw him as the best leader of his time. My study of what he did and what he stood for made me agree with them. I still see his programs that lasted as outstanding.

  2. FDR was a great leader. Although I disagree with some of his domestic programs, he did what was necessary at the time. In foreign matters he was terrific, even though he was soft on Russia.
    We could use a leader like FDR today. I do not believe that the Democratic Party has such a candidate. Bernie Sanders is the closest to FDR.

  3. Outstanding articles. Plan to use them when discussing stamps with young collectors. They add interest to collecting. God Bless America.

  4. Great article on FDR. It was a very dark time in our history as a nation and while I don’t want to make it sound like everything that FDR did and said was perfect; that he didn’t make deals and mistakes, he did get us out of a huge depression and part way through a deplorable world war. He was a remarkable statesman. (Sidebar: I think the Congress should have term regulation, as well — the same as the President. 8 years, maximum, and out. Try to get that change made into an amendment! LOL! 🙂 Thanks, Mystic. Good work.

  5. It’s interesting to note that Roosevelt, who is regarded as one of our greatest presidents, was beloved by millions during his years in office but detested by others, mainly Republicans and big business types. Since his death, Republicans have repeatedly tried to undo parts of his New Deal programs– Social Security, minimum wage, protection for unions, etc.

  6. Is regulating the huge corporations, guaranteeing a minimum wage, and providing a minimum retirement for retired workers socialism? The actual socialists on the left disliked him, and the hard line old school conservatives on the right hated him. Franklin Roosevelt was a middle of the roader.

  7. There is no doubt that FDR convinced the money people that if they did not give a small percentage of their monies, they would eventually loose it all . . . see Europe at that time.

    However why did he write Executive Order 9066, especially when he had information on German spies in the U.S. during the First World War I The Germans and Italians were not touched.

  8. Come on Mystic, not a word about FDR’s stamp collection. Even in the midst of the depression and the challenges of the war, Roosevelt always found time for his stamps. His collection gave him great peace of mind and brief opportunities to relax.

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