America and the Roosevelt family

Ahmad al-Farraj

Published: Updated:

The Roosevelt family is one of the ancient American families that form a basic pillar of the state of New York. It’s a wealthy aristocratic family. Two of its sons became presidents.

In 1901, and as a result of a pure coincidence, Theodore Roosevelt became the country’s president after President William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo in New York. Roosevelt was the vice president at the time so according to the constitution, he assumed the presidential post.

Prior to that, Roosevelt was governor of New York. By that time he had returned to political life after a long period of grief because his mother and wife had died. While grieving, he isolated himself in a secluded area in South Dakota. He became a professional cowboy there.

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Roosevelt suffered from asthma since his childhood and the disease almost killed him more than once. This is why he played the role of the fierce fighter during his adult years as he was attempting to compensate for the weakness he suffered from when he was a child when everyone pitied him.

He was in fact a strong leader. He finished McKinley’s term from 1901 until 1905 and he was re-elected for a second term from 1905 until 1909. Although he may not be on the list of exceptional presidents that include George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, he left his fingerprints in foreign and domestic politics.

After around two and a half decades, in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president. There are never-ending stories about Franklin who suffered from polio. Even though he was paralyzed, Franklin resumed his normal life and achieved outstanding success.

There are never-ending stories about Franklin who suffered from polio. Even though he was paralyzed, Franklin resumed his normal life and achieved outstanding success

Dr Ahmad al-Farraj

The Great Depression

It is interesting that the American people did not know he was crippled until he died as at the time visual media did not exist. He was elected around the same time as the Great Depression which was a critical phase in American history.

Franklin successfully led the country during that stage, and historians continue to narrate his successful journey till this day. When World War II erupted, Franklin was one of its major heroes.

Franklin was the only president who won four presidential terms. He governed for 11 years because he passed away before finishing his fourth term. He won the elections in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944.

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After that, the constitution was amended and presidents were no longer allowed to run for the presidency for more than two terms which are eight years in total. According to historians and polls, Franklin is one of the three best presidents in history, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Franklin is often the second or third best among them.

There is also a special tale about Franklin and Saudi Arabia as he was the US president who met with Founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman, may he rest in peace, in the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt on board USS Quincy.

The meeting laid the basis for a historical and strong relation between the Saudi kingdom and the US. This relation is still strong and solid until today or rather it’s at its best phase.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Dr Ahmad al-Farraj is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah daily. He holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Indiana and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He was the Dean of the Arabic Language Institute in King Saud University and a member of the university’s council. He tweets under @amhfarraj.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.