2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Roosevelt brought the United States, mired in a depression when he took office, into the twentieth century, creating government programs such as Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, all of which remain critical to the national economy. Less well known is his founding of the March of Dimes, though the name was created by popular singer Eddie Cantor. He led the nation to victory during the Second World War, though he died just as Nazi Germany collapsed. His influence and programs are still felt in American life daily, despite his being reviled by many conservatives as a socialist and warmonger.