History Podcasts

FDR's Inaugural Address - History

FDR's Inaugural Address - History

FDR Speaking at his Inaugural

Between election day and inauguration day there lay a four month period in which President-elect Roosevelt could affect no legislation even though President Hoover was loosing his ability to govern. Roosevelt accumulated a group of advisors, many of whom were academics. These men became his brain trust. During this period the economy weakened and people became increasingly frantic. In mid-February there was an assassination attempt against Roosevelt by Joseph Zangara.

He missed and fatally wounded Chicago Mayor Cernack. The Interregnum finally ended and Roosevelt took the helm of office.

By the time Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4,1933 the nation was gripped by fear. In his inaugural address Roosevelt uttered his famous lines: "the only thing to fear is fear itself," for the nation was indeed worried. Banks throughout the nation were failing and being forced to close. Farms were being foreclosed, and many Americans were hungry. Many people feared for the very future of the country.



Celebrating the Big Day: FDR’s First Inauguration and the Annual Anniversary Celebrations, 1934-1945

By William A. Harris, Deputy Director

With March upon us, it is once again time to celebrate the first inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as FDR himself did almost every year (except 1941 and 1945) of his Presidency. In 1933, FDR became the last President to be sworn into office on March 4th. On that cool late winter day (and for Presidents until 1981, in fact) , FDR was sworn in on the east front of the US Capitol.

The 1933 inauguration occurred during one of the darkest crises in American history, the Great Depression. Outgoing President Herbert Hoover, soundly defeated after one term, attended the ceremonies, even riding with the President-elect to the US Capitol, if not in good humor, at least with the great strength of character and dignity that marked his life and career.

President-elect Roosevelt and President Herbert Hoover, March 4, 1933. (FDR Library, Photo 4849330)

Planning had been underway for weeks since FDR’s landslide victory on November 8, 1932. Guests needed to be invited, and declined, and plans made for travel and accommodations. The night before the inauguration, FDR and his party stayed at the Mayflower Hotel, already rich with Presidential history, located on Connecticut Avenue, a few blocks from the White House.

Receipt for the President and Mrs. Roosevelt’s rooms at the Mayflower Hotel, which still operates in Washington, DC, today. (FDR Library, PSF 1933-1945, Inaugurations, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1945)

The night before the big event, the President and Mrs. Roosevelt stayed in suites 775 and 776 of the Mayflower Hotel, the rooms paid for by the inaugural committee. Like many hotel guests, he charged room service, used the valet services, and not surprisingly made a substantial number of long distance phone calls as the above receipt shows.

At the US Capitol on March 4th, invited guests and the general public assembled in anticipation of ceremonies rich with tradition. In this photo, we see the inauguration stand from an unusual angle looking north. Note the people crowding the roofs of the Capitol and nearby buildings to get a glimpse of the ceremonies.

View of the inauguration ceremonies looking north, March 4, 1933. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress)

In the background, Union Station is just visible. Invited guests, like one of the incoming President’s secretaries, Grace Tully, filed to their seats down a long ramp installed for the President-elect. Tully’s seat was in section C, as seen on her ticket below. The subsequent photograph offers a unique perspective of the crowd FDR would soon address.

A packet of inauguration materials, including invitations, tickets, and programs belonging to Grace Tully. (FDR Library, Grace Tully Papers) A view of the platform and crowd from the guest section. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress)

The President’s first inaugural address proved to be memorable, outlining the President’s philosophy that as a nation, together, with support from all levels of government, the nation could overcome the Depression. He believed firmly that fear posed an immense threat to progress and sought to instill hope and confidence in the American people while nevertheless being frank about the difficulties yet to be overcome.

Audio of FDR’s inaugural address, March 4, 1933. (FDR Library, 74-24 [dig]. 71-10:2. 71-40:2. RLxA-2. RLxA-2D) Order of ceremonies from the 1933 Inauguration Program. (FDR Library, Grace Tully Papers)

Following the ceremonies, President Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover departed for New York City and the life of the post-Presidency. Hoover would remain active publicly, even appointed by Democratic President Harry S. Truman to oversee the Federal Executive Branch reorganization after World War II.

Former President and Mrs. Hoover departing Washington, DC, on inauguration day, March 4, 1933. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress)

After the inauguration, the President and Mrs. Roosevelt rode in a motorcade to the White House, smiling broadly and waving to the crowd. They arrived at the south entrance along with a phalanx of motorcycle officers and secret service agents. The south entrance allowed for entry into the White House on the ground level without steps.

The Roosevelts motorcading from the Capitol to the White House. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress) The Roosevelts arriving at their new home. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress) President and Mrs. Roosevelt and son James at the south entrance of the White House. A radio microphone stands alone while newsreel cameramen film the arrival. The Presidential party used the ground level entrance into the diplomatic reception room. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress)

Inauguration days are busy affairs, and the first family and their guests spent considerable time on a platform on the north side of the White House, facing Pennsylvania Avenue, watching the ceremonial parade. The viewing platform had been designed to mimic Andrew Jackson’s home, the Hermitage, in Tennessee.

The new President and his party watching the inauguration parade. Note the trolley tracks on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing, Library of Congress) The first of several pages listing parade participants in the 1933 Inauguration Program. (FDR Library, Grace Tully Papers)

Most years thereafter, the President either attended a church service commemorating the anniversary of his first inauguration and/or hosted a cabinet dinner at a Washington hotel. The President wanted these events to strengthen and encourage the dedication of his cabinet and members of his administration to the tasks before them. In 1937, the anniverary also included a “victory dinner,” at which the President spoke to the nation. The President’s schedule notes the event more bluntly as a “money raising dinner.”

Schedule for March 4, 1937. (FDR Library, White House Usher’s Log) The President’s handwritten notes on draft number 4 of his “victory dinner” speech. (FDR Library, Master Speech File) Audio of the President’s remarks as broadcast to the nation, March 4, 1937. (FDR Library, RL96-98 [dig]. 65-9:11(4-7). 201-186) A jovial FDR laughing with toastmaster Joseph Tumulty at the victory dinner. Note the radio microphones to the top right, March 4, 1937. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress)

In 1938, FDR and his family attended commemorative ceremonies at St. John’s Episcopal Church adjacent to Lafayette Park across from the White House. The President and his guests, including his granddaughter Sara Delano Roosevelt, bundled under a blanket for the short ride to the church.

FDR, his daughter-in-law, Betsy Cushing Roosevelt, and Eleanor are joined by granddaughter Sara Delano Roosevelt, who appears to be having a grand time, March 4, 1938. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress)

The following year, March 4th corresponded with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the US Congress. In longhand, the President drafted a lengthy address that he presented to a joint session of Congress on March 4, 1939. Unlike his 1937 after-dinner remarks, this speech was broadcast mid-day, forming part of the larger celebrations.

First page of the President’s handwritten draft for his speech celebrating the 150th anniversary of Congress, 1939. (FDR Library, Master Speech File) In this dramatic view, the President addresses the joint session of Congress, March 4, 1939. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress) Watching from the House gallery, the President’s mother (right) and daughter-in-law Betsy Cushing Roosevelt (center) listen to the President’s speech, March 4, 1939. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress) Audio of the lengthy radio program for the 150th anniversary of Congress, including the President’s remarks along with those of members of Congress. The President’s speech begins one hour and fifteen minutes into the broadcast. (FDR Library, RLxA-67(1), RLxA-67(2), RLxA-67(3), & RLxA-67(4) [dig]) The President arriving at St. John’s Episcopal Church with Eleanor Roosevelt, his mother Sara Delano Roosevelt, and to the right Mrs. Endicott Peabody, wife of the rector of FDR’s alma mater, Groton School, March 4, 1940. (Photo courtesy of Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress)

In 1940, the President celebrated again at St. John’s Episcopal Church as he did in 1942 and 1943. But in 1944, commemorative services were held in the East Room of the White House. That year, Eleanor Roosevelt observed in “My Day” that FDR had “always asked for” the program and added furthermore that “[the ceremonies] must give to all courage to go on along the lines which have kept us together and allowed us to move forward during the past difficult years.”

In 1945, no service was held, and perhaps fittingly, as fate would have it, the President travelled instead to Hyde Park on March 4th for one of his last trips to the Hudson Valley, to the home he loved so much. Over the years, the annual commemoration of his first inauguration had marked not only political success, but also a commitment to public service. Perhaps, most importantly, the annual commemoration signaled the President’s firm and abiding confidence in the American people and in the strength of this nation to overcome any crisis together.

Twelve years later, a quiet White House with the President away at Hyde Park, March 4, 1945. (FDR Library, White House Stenographers Diary)

List of Annual Services/Dinners:

1934 – March 4th, Memorial Service, National Cathedral and Cabinet Dinner, Mayflower Hotel

1935 – March 3rd, Memorial Service, National Cathedral and March 4th, Cabinet Dinner, Mayflower Hotel

1936 – March 4th, Cabinet Dinner, Mayflower Hotel

1937 – March 3rd, Cabinet Dinner, and March 4th, Victory Dinner, both Mayflower Hotel

1938 – March 4th, Memorial Service, St. John’s Episcopal Church and Cabinet Dinner, Mayflower Hotel

1939 – March 4th, 150th Anniversary of Congress Service, St. John’s Episcopal Church and Cabinet Dinner, Carlton Hotel

1940 – March 4th, Memorial Service, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Cabinet Dinner Carlton Hotel

1941 – No service or dinner, President sick with a cold

1942 – March 4th, Memorial Service, St. John’s Episcopal Church and no Cabinet Dinner

1943 – March 4th, Memorial Service, St. John’s Episcopal Church and no Cabinet Dinner

1944 – March 4th, Memorial Service, East Room, White House and no Cabinet Dinner


FDR's Second Inaugural Address

Well, the document that I have here in front of me is a copy of Franklin Roosevelt’s second inaugural address—delivered in January 1937 and it happens to be the first presidential inauguration that took place in January. Since George Washington’s time down to the '30s inaugurations happened in March and that was changed to January, so that’s a kind of historical factoid that gives this a little bit of interest. But this document, as much as any single document can, reminds us of what the New Deal was all about, what its relationship to the Great Depression of the 1930s was, and what its implications were for this society going forward. And I think as much as any single document can reveal, it shows us what Franklin Roosevelt’s deepest intentions were, what his highest priorities were, what his agenda was in the period of the 1930s.

So this is 1937. He’d come to power—come to the presidency three years earlier in 1933, when the unemployment rate was 25%—the most god-awful economic crisis that ever struck this society. Here he is being re-inaugurated for a second term four years later. Quite obviously and not surprisingly, as any president would do under the circumstances, he's bragging a bit about the things he accomplished during his first term drawing the contrast between how bad things were when he took office and how much better they are now. He goes through a little bit of a list of the specific things that are better: unemployment is down and gross national product is up and so on and so forth. Then he says, kind of summarily, he said, “Our progress out of the Depression is obvious.” That’s the kind of summary statement of what he’s talking about. And he says again, further on the same note, he says, “We have come far from the days of stagnation and despair.”

Now so far this is standard presidential boilerplate on any situation, who wouldn’t—under the circumstances—pat himself on the back for the things he’s accomplished in the preceding four years. But then he says something absolutely extraordinary in the annals of presidential addresses, especially inaugural addresses. It’s a sentence that when I first read it just leapt off the page at me for its surprising quality and for its explanatory quality. After having just gone through this little recital of how things are better now than they were, he says, “Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster.” Now wait a minute, what’s he saying? Prosperity’s returning, we’re better off, the Depression is lifting, we’re going ahead on a much more confident basis than we were but this—these “symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster.” The sentence doesn’t explain itself, you really have to know what the context was and know something about Roosevelt’s ultimate intentions, and ultimately the consequences of what he tried to accomplish and did accomplish in the 1930s.

That single sentence—"such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster"—is such a shock and such a surprise. If you read it all carefully you realize, why would he say that at the moment of his own greatest self-congratulation upon being reelected/reinaugurated? So I think if you can get students to focus on that sentence: Why would a president in that moment in that particular circumstance say such a thing? What could be on his mind that he would so apparently undercut his own agenda on this occasion? I think what explains it—where the answer lies is in that immediately subsequent passage about the third of the nation. So there’s a way to connect something that’s quite surprising about "prosperity is a portent of disaster" with something that is maybe a little bit familiar, which is the "I see one third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished." So you can put those two together and I think it’s a very effective teaching combination.

When I teach this document, I usually asking the class—before I’ve asked them to read the whole document—I ask them if they’ve heard the phrase “I see one third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.” As time goes by, I suppose, fewer students have ever heard it at all, but most of them usually have had—it’s got some echo in their brains someplace, they’ve heard it or a version of it someplace or other.

So then I explain this is a speech that Roosevelt gave in the midst of the Great Depression, what do you think he was talking about? Again, not without reason, most students will say, “Well, he’s talking about all those people who are unemployed and having such hard times during the Depression.” And I say, “Well, fair enough, but now let's read the rest of the speech and see what he’s really talking about.” Then when they hit that sentence, if I give them the space and if I tee them up properly, that when they get to that sentence—“Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster”—that does bring them up short. They say, “Wait, what’s he talking about here? How could any president undercut his own self-congratulation for the return of prosperity?” I make the point that what follows this is this lyrical litany about the one third of the nation, and that’s his real objective. This goes to a deeper point, it seems to me, and it goes to the point of putting to rest that idea that the New Deal was just whatever Roosevelt threw at the wall, whatever stuck became the New Deal.

I believe, and I think this document goes along way to making the case, that Roosevelt had a vision, and it’s proper to call him a visionary. In fact, in my reading of the evidence he had this vision before the Depression ever happened. You can see this in his private correspondence in the 1920s [and] in his prior political career, that the major thing he wanted to accomplish if he ever got the chance was to make American society more secure, less risky, and more inclusive. To bring more people into the mainstream of American life and to reduce elements of risk that perpetually over the previous century had brought people into the mainstream and then ejected them from it again. Life was unstable for so many people, for millions of people. That’s what he wanted to change, and the New Deal put in place a series of structural reforms that accomplished a lot of that objective.

[The New Deal put in place a series of structural reforms that accomplished a lot of that objective.] The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—which gave federal guarantees to bank deposits—at a stroke ended the century-old or more practice of panicked runs on banks when times got tough. Banks failed—between 1931 and 1933, over 5,000 banks failed in this country. Between 1933 and the end of the 20th century, probably fewer than 500 banks failed, I don’t know the exact number but in that order of magnitude. Why? Because the FDIC imparted a measure of stability, predictability, risk reduction to banking. Glass-Steagall Act, which is actually where the FDIC legislation is embedded as well, separated investment from commercial banking. It made the day-to-day operations that the average citizen dealt with a different beast from the big investment banking houses like Goldman Sachs and Lehmans Brothers and so on and so on. Which for a long time, until the opening years of the 20th [21st] century, protected the core banking system from the speculative and risky activities that go on in the investment banking business.

The Home-Owners Loan Corporation, which became the Federal Housing Authority, created a system of private insurance overseen by the federal government that stabilized mortgage lending and made that a lot less risky. Its that structural reform which actually built suburbia and built the Sun Belt in the decades after World War II because mortgage money was so much more available than it had been earlier. It [also] changed the terms on which people could buy homes—it changed them drastically. So we went from a society in which only about 40% of citizens owned their own homes as the Great Depression opened, to a society in which about 60% of Americans owned their own homes by 1960. So it didn’t take, it took about a generation for this to work its effects.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is another New Deal era reform that brought a measure of transparency and open information/accessible information into stock market trading. Again, that did a lot to dampen—not eliminate entirely—but to dampen a lot of the speculative fevers that had driven Wall Street up and down and sidewise over the preceding century. So its no accident, it’s absolutely no accident, that in the 70 years or so after the New Deal this society saw no economic crisis even remotely approaching the scale, volatility, and explosive character of the Great Depression of the '30s.

The Great Depression of the '30s is a unique event, and it’s a singular event in its severity, but it’s in a family of events that go back into the 1830s there’s centuries worth of these kinds of severe economic shocks to the system. The New Deal put a very substantial end to that for the remainder of the 20th century at least. That was not an accident, that was part of a conscious design on Roosevelt’s part to remake the society, bring new institutions into being, reduce risk, bring elements of security into the lives of millions of citizens and institutions and economic sectors like banking, investing, and so on. That didn’t just happen it was part of a conscious political program. And it seems to me this speech, this second inaugural address, is about as succinct and pointed a piece of documentary evidence that you can find that makes that case.

All of these things were part of a very coherent, unified program to make life less risky. It was—it became less risky for millions upon millions of people in the two or three generations following the 1930s. So we see here a glimpse, you might say, into Roosevelt’s deepest ideological agenda when he tells us prosperity might be a portent of disaster because his reform agenda is not yet accomplished.


2 The Public

In his inaugural address, Roosevelt sought to allay the American public's concerns over the economy. With national unemployment reaching as high as 30 percent, Roosevelt looked to ease public anxieties by promising to find a way "to put people to work," while reassuring his audience that the stock market crash was the fault of irresponsible banks, not the public. Furthermore, Roosevelt sought to inspire public optimism in his strength as a national leader by declaring that under his administration, America would emerge from the Great Depression as a stronger and more capable country. It was to these points that Roosevelt directed the most well-known phrase in his address: "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."


When Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933, the nation was reeling from the Great Depression and was dissatisfied with the previous administration’s reluctance to fight it. Roosevelt declared that, by electing him, the American people had "registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action."

The address is most remembered for FDR’s statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," but it is also a declaration of war against economic hardship, a call to Americans to work together to face "the dark hour," and a notice of his intention to reorganize and redirect government action. In laying out his approach to rescuing the economy and tempering the steadily rising rate of unemployment, he is realistic about the future, but remains hopeful: "Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment. Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. . . . Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for."

The New Deal began almost immediately. The Emergency Banking Relief Act was signed five days after the inauguration and was joined by numerous programs and agencies, some more successful than others.

A pdf of the document is available.

Excerpt

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country to-day. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. . . .

The Nation asks for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our national resources. . . .

. . . in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.


Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

Sara Eskridge, U.S. History I or II, Only One Edition Needed

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device

Norton

Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty, 5th Edition

Hardcover print text only

MacMillan

Roark, Johnson, Furstenberg, Stage, and Igo, The American Promise, 2 Volumes, 8th Edition

Pearson

Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell, Visions of America, 2013


Central Issue

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

On Inauguration Day, Washington was cold and overcast.

At the Capitol, FDR braced himself on his son James’s arm as he made his slow way to the rostrum to take the oath of office. Then, as the crowd grew quiet, he opened his inaugural address.

The new president offered hope to a desperate people: “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive, and will prosper.” Then, in bold words that reverberate in public memory, he proclaimed, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The greatest applause came when Roosevelt said he would ask for wartime executive powers if Congress failed to act against the emergency. Eleanor found the crowd’s reaction “somewhat terrifying”— a frightened public seemed prepared to do anything FDR asked.

Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address includes the famous line— “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s generally believed that Roosevelt’s political adviser Louis Howe added these words to the speech. But Howe’s source is a mystery. Presidential adviser Raymond Moley claimed Howe saw the line in a 1933 department store advertisement. But a 1931 newspaper article quotes U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Julius Barnes as saying, “In a condition of this kind, the thing to be feared most is fear itself.” FDR speechwriter Samuel Rosenman credited Henry David Thoreau, who once wrote: “Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.”


FDR's Inaugural Address - History

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio. (2)]

President Hoover, Mr. Chief Justice, my friends:

This is a day of national consecration . And I am certain that on this day my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency, I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impels.

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels taxes have risen our ability to pay has fallen government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side farmers find no markets for their produce and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone. More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

And yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered, because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried. But their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation is asking for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing great -- greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources.

Hand in hand with that we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.

Yes, the task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products, and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, the State, and the local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities that have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped by merely talking about it.

We must act. We must act quickly.

And finally, in our progress towards a resumption of work, we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order. There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end to speculation with other people's money. And there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

These, my friends, are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the 48 States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time, and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor, as a practical policy, the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not nationally -- narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States of America -- a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that recovery will endure.

In the field of world policy, I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor: the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other that we can not merely take, but we must give as well that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress can be made, no leadership becomes effective.

We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and our property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at the larger good. This, I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us, bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in times of armed strife.

With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

Action in this image, action to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple, so practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has ever seen.

It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. And it is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly equal, wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded, a permanent national life.

We do not distrust the -- the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

In this dedication -- In this dedication of a Nation, we humbly ask the blessing of God.

May He protect each and every one of us.

May He guide me in the days to come.

Audio mp3 Source: The Mills Center for Public Affairs -- Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive


Analysis of Franklin D Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address

. Its 1945 the climax of the war is going on and America is feeling the effects of it. The dragged out war has the public questioning will the suffering ever end. How did they get through it, is what I ask. It's all from the president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, most commonly referred to as FDR now a days. FDR got America through the rough times by using his calm voice to give hope, inspiration, and ultimately help America achieve peace within the troubling times. This was seen in his 4th inarguable address that was told during the time. America in the beginning of 1945 was defeated. They had just dealt with a depression that had rocked the country and now we're in a war that was being dragged out longer than originally thought. They wanted to give up to be plain. Despite what America was thinking FDR had the belief that America was not defeated. In his fourth inarguable he challenged them to not give up by saying “If we meet that test- successfully and honorably- we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time”. Him saying this he's meaning if America is not to give up and push through to the end and defeat the axis powers they will be remembered for passing, for being the champs. This gave American people hope that they can still get through and achieve the glory that he speaks of. It also gives off inspiration to the people. This was an.

Franklin D Roosevelt's Inaugural Address Essay

. Behind Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address Before the 1933 election, the United States underwent a great economic depression, which was at the fault of president Hoover. But President Roosevelt strongly believed in anything being possible. In Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first Inaugural Address he used ethos, logos and parallel structure to convey his conflicting feelings about World War I and the Great Depression in order to show his concern in improving and progressing the economy and living conditions in the United States. Background Information Before Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, the nation was under President Herbert Hoover. During this time many events occurred, both positive and negative. On a positive note, he believed in laissez-faire government and “Rugged Individualism.” During his term of presidency, the Hoover Dam was built and it was under construction from 1931 to 1396, and it provides hydroelectric power to millions of people today. On the other hand, there was a lot of downfall during his term. Shantytowns of homeless and unemployed sprang up on the outskirts of cities, these cities were called “Hoovervilles.” President Hoover also said no to federal government aid to those who were suffering financially. He also believed that private organizations should provide.

Essay on Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address

. The Great Depression was the greatest economic crisis in the Western World. The stock market crashed on October 1929, sending Wall Street up in flames. By 1933, the Great Depression reached a high point leaving over thirteen million Americans jobless (“The Great Depression”). Relief and reform measures were soon put into place to lessen the heavy load the Great Depression created, but America would not fully recover until after 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address as the thirty-second president of the United States on March 4, 1933. The first inaugural address is a monumental speech. America reached a dark place in history and Roosevelt wanted to revive their spirits ("Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inauguration, 1933"). He convinced Americans not be fearful but to join him in the fight against the economic crisis. "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." In this famous quote, he utilized pathos by emphasizing fear, the uselessness of it, and the effect it creates. Roosevelt used ethos by establishing plausibility with what he addressed in his speech. He chose to be honest with the conditions America faced.

Essay about Analysis Of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Inaugural Address

. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address was exactly what Americans of the 1930’s needed to hear. To begin, previous to Roosevelt's inauguration Herbert Hoover was the president of the United States. Hoover was considered by many of the time to be the cause of the great depression and the worst president the United States had ever seen. This was largely due to the fact that his republican views, that the government should play a very small part in society and that the American people should be self sufficient, lead him to take very little part in the recovery from the great depression. This caused the people of The united States to believe he was lazy and cared little for the lives of American citizens. Knowing that the people resented Hoover for his lack involvement it’s easy to see why so many Americans were immediately drawn to Roosevelt who said he would take control, who said he had plans that would fix everything. Roosevelt himself says, “There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.” showing the American people that he is a man of action, a man that can help them drag themselves up out of the depression they had fallen in. Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address also gave American citizens the reassuring, frank, and at some points bleak words that they needed to.

Essay about Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (1933)

. "Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (1933)" "Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (1933)" United States was facing the terrible shock and disappointments the Great Depression caused. Americans experienced poverty, sharing the experience of loss and suffering, and looking for hope. Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the document for his First Inaugural Address in early 1933. The document was written and presented to the citizens of the United States on March 4, 1933 at the Capitol in Washington DC. Roosevelt's audience in his First Inaugural Address was the American people. He not only directed to American people, but he also targeted the sectors related to business and banking, attacking the corruption found in commercial practices that ended up leading to unemployment and a decrease in the production of the country. All of these were mentioned to also aim the Federal, State, and local governments to act immediately. His audience was primarily national, and not international, so that Americans would focus on working inward, leaving the nation's relationships with the world as a secondary importance, as Roosevelt emphasized in his address. The purpose of Franklin.

Franklin D Roosevelt's Inaugural Speech Essay

. "This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the word truth, frankly and boldly,"(Franklin D. Roosevelt). Roosevelt, deciding not the hide the truth and show the people the reality of the problem. While he propounded his words he, he still came through with them. Everything Roosevelt said he had done, and the people were extremely delighted to hear them. Not only his words but his actions as well. He passed many bills and helped the people. This text shows will explain how Roosevelt's words he actions and his declaration to fight the Depression affected the people. Roosevelt's cause much excitement in the people's eyes, not only that, but it had a major affect on the American citizens. In the prompt ("The New Deal") the prompt states "Unlike his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, who felt the public should supporters the government and not the other way around. these bad times." It's shows that the president before Roosevelt didn't wasn't on the people's side, however when Roosevelt stepped in it reassured the people knowing they have someone on their side. Roosevelt also created a lot of confidence within the people. In "FDR's Inaugural Speech" he says " The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" with that statement it shows that the people don't need to be afraid because they can get through The Great Depression together. He also gave them joy as in almost 25% of Americans were.

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address Analysis Essay

. During the Civil War, President Lincoln’s position on the practice of slavery changed from the start to the end of the war. He expresses his views about slavery through a variety of primary documents both of Lincoln’s inaugural addresses, his letters to Horace Greeley, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution. Through these documents, Lincoln demonstrates his initial feeling towards slavery as being neutral/indifferent for his priority was to keep the Union/nation unified. As the war continued, he stuck by his desire to keep the unification of the Union regardless of the status of slavery. When President Lincoln first took office, his view on slavery is that he can’t and has no position getting rid of it in the states where it already exists. In his first Inaugural Address, he explains, “ I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it already exists.” This greatly expresses his view in that, slavery is not his to deal with at all. Another example of this, also stated in Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address, “. . . the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgement exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend. . .” In this.

Fdr's First Inaugural Address Analysis Essay

. wanted to buy American-made items due to the increased tariffs. This would result in egregious conditions, leaving many Americans hopeless. Soon, the Depression would become worldwide. Hoover’s and Roosevelt’s views on the economic crisis were very dissimilar. American citizens viewed Hoover as a failed president. Hoover was resented for being a millionaire all the while people were out on the streets starving. Hoover also supported Laissez Faire, which was the thought that if the government was less involved in free market capitalism, that the business world would be better. Therefore, Hoover thought that state and local government should take care of their people. Roosevelt had a different approach to this crisis. Franklin Roosevelt was a Democrat who would put faith back into the United States. Roosevelt made the New Deal come to life and help many struggling citizens. Immediately after being in office, Roosevelt told Congress to begin responding to the economic Jones 2 downfall. Every request Roosevelt requested, Congress granted. Roosevelt continued to put forth great effort to get the United States back to the way it was, and better. “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper” (Roosevelt, History Matters). In Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address, he made many assertions that this Nation would be reconditioned. Roosevelt mentions how our.


Watch the video: President Franklin D. Roosevelt First Inaugural Address (January 2022).