On November 7, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected to an unprecedented fourth term in office. FDR remains the only president to have served more than two terms.

READ MORE: How FDR Became the First—And Only—President to Serve Four Terms

Roosevelt rose above personal and political challenges to emerge as one of the nation’s most revered and influential presidents. In 1921, at the age of 39, he contracted polio and thereafter was burdened with leg braces; eventually, he was confined to a wheelchair. From the time he was first elected to the presidency in 1932 to mid-1945, when he died while in office, Roosevelt presided over two of the biggest crises in U.S. history: the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II

FDR implemented drastic and oft-criticized legislation to help boost America out of the Great Depression. Although he initially tried to avoid direct U.S. involvement in World War II, which began in 1939, the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 thrust American headlong into the conflict.

By the time Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term, the war had taken a turn in favor of the Allies, but FDR’s health was already on the decline. His arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) had been worsened by the stress of serving as a war-time president. In April 1945, just over four months before the war finally ended in an Allied victory, FDR died of a stroke at his vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia.

In 1947, with President Harry Truman, Roosevelt’s vice president, in office, Congress proposed a law that would limit presidents to two consecutive terms. Up to that time, presidents had either voluntarily followed George Washington’s example of serving a maximum of two terms, or were unsuccessful in winning a third. (In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran for a third non-consecutive term, but lost.) In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed, officially limiting a president’s tenure in office to two terms of four years each.

READ MORE: 7 Firsts in US Presidential Election History

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Hillary Clinton is elected to the U.S. Senate

On November 7, 2000, Hillary Clinton is elected to represent New York in the U.S. Senate, becoming the first First Lady to win elected office. Clinton’s resume was unique among First Ladies and among senators. After meeting her husband, Bill, at Yale Law School, she spent her ...read more

Election results between Al Gore and George Bush too close to call

This date in 2000 was a pivotal moment in U.S. history, as the presidential election results in a statistical tie between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George Bush. The results in Florida were unclear by the end of election night and resulted in a recount and a Supreme Court ...read more

Two African American firsts in politics

In New York, former Manhattan borough president David Dinkins, a Democrat, is elected New York City’s first African American mayor, while in Virginia, Lieutenant Governor Douglas Wilder, also a Democrat, becomes the first elected African American state governor in American ...read more

Canada’s transcontinental railway completed

At a remote spot called Craigellachie in the mountains of British Columbia, the last spike is driven into Canada’s first transcontinental railway. In 1880, the Canadian government contracted the Canadian Pacific Railroad to construct the first all-Canadian line to the West Coast. ...read more

Magic Johnson announces he is HIV-positive

On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson stuns the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the time, many Americans viewed AIDS as a gay white man’s disease. Johnson ...read more

Nixon re-elected president

Richard Nixon defeats Senator George McGovern (D-South Dakota) and is re-elected President of the United States. With only 55 percent of the electorate voting, the lowest turnout since 1948, Nixon carried all states but Massachusetts, taking 97 percent of the electoral votes. ...read more

Jeannette Rankin becomes first U.S. congresswoman

On November 7, 1916, Montana suffragist Jeannette Rankin is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman in the history of the nation to win a seat in the federal Congress. Born and raised on a ranch near Missoula, Montana, Rankin was the daughter of ...read more

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is born

“The moment I began to write, my music was not folk music.” Performing solo with her acoustic guitar and long, straight, blond hair, the woman born Roberta Joan Anderson in Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada, on November 7, 1943, may have looked the part, but in truth the only ...read more

“King of Cool” Steve McQueen dies

On November 7, 1980, the actor Steve McQueen, one of Hollywood’s leading men of the 1960s and 1970s and the star of such action thrillers as Bullitt and The Towering Inferno, dies at the age of 50 in Mexico, where he was undergoing an experimental treatment for cancer. In 1979, ...read more

7th November 1940: Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge, in Puget Sound, Washington, vibrating violently just prior to its collapse due to hurricane winds causing a violent oscillating motion known as 'flutter'.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses due to high winds on November 7, 1940. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in Washington during the 1930s and opened to traffic on July 1, 1940. It spanned the Puget Sound from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, which is 40 miles south of Seattle. The ...read more

A family is brutally murdered

David Hendricks, a businessman traveling in Wisconsin, calls police in Bloomington, Illinois, to request that they check on his house and family. According to Hendricks, no one had answered the phone all weekend and he was worried. When the police and neighbors searched the home ...read more

Battle of Belmont, Missouri

On November 7, 1861, Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant overrun a Confederate camp at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, but are forced to flee when additional Confederate troops arrive. Although Grant claimed victory, the Union gained no ground and left the Confederates in firm ...read more

Soviet master spy is hanged by the Japanese

On November 7, 1944, Richard Sorge, a half-Russian, half-German Soviet spy, who had used the cover of a German journalist to report on Germany and Japan for the Soviet Union, is hanged by his Japanese captors. Sorge fought in World War I in the German army, and then earned his ...read more

First issue of "The New Republic" published

While World War I rages in Europe, the first issue of a new magazine, The New Republic, is published in the United States. The New Republic’s editorial board was presided over by the journalist Herbert Croly, author of the influential 1909 book The Promise of American Life. ...read more