If we were to do an episode on the entire life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it would have to be at least a 12 hour series. Instead, we will focus on a short period of his life that is one of the most fascinating—the end of it. This isn’t the FDR of the famous 100 days—the one who captivated the nation by the sheer power of his strength and charisma. Instead, this is the FDR who, after years of leading the nation through depression and war, found himself physically exhausted, racing against his own mortality to build his vision for a new world.

The final photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt – taken at Warm Springs, Georgia on April 11, 1945 – the day before his death.

By then he believed he was working to save the world from future catastrophe. What we will find is a man who appeared to remain the master politician, mentally still at the top of his game, orchestrating events from behind-the-scenes. But those abilities were put to their greatest test when he faced an agonizing dilemma in the realm of world politics—whether to pursue that vision of a new world at the expense of our deepest values and in cooperation with one of the greatest mass murderers in all of history. And all the while, he was physically at his weakest point and was hiding a secret from the American people—a secret that exposed his country to great risk at a critical time. This is the FDR—whose actions were both inspiring and unsettling—who we will explore in this episode of This American President.

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He came from humble beginnings. He was born in a log cabin and had virtually no education. Through hard work, he rose to become a successful businessman. He fell in love and was married for almost 50 years. His life was the epitome of the American dream.
He found his calling in politics. He was known as a man of the people, especially the poor and downtrodden. He identified with them and he consistently fought for their interests. They returned him to office again and again. He was their fighter and their champion. He was also one of the most experienced men to ever become president of the United States.
And yet, Andrew Johnson is universally regarded as one of the worst and most hated presidents in American history. How is this possible? You’ll find out in this episode of This American President.

President Andrew Johnson