Franklin Roosevelt character jug produced by Royal Worcester of Worcester, England, circa 1941. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945) was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. As the leader of the Democratic Party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which defined modern liberalism in the United States throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II, which ended in victory shortly after he died in office.