Listen to the first inaugural speech given by Franklin Roosevelt. Read the excerpt below and answer the following questions:
1) What are three of the difficulties F.D.R. outlines?
2) In this excerpt from F.D.R.’s First Inaugural Speech, how did he attempt to win support of the American people?
3) How does F.D.R. suggest the task of “putting people to work” could best be accomplished?
4) Based on this document, what did F.D.R. see as the role of the national government in times of crisis?
“….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….
In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken 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; the savings of many years n thousands of families are gone….
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 project to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.”
Source: F.D.R.’s First Inaugural Address, March, 1933, http://newdeal.feri.org/speeches/1933a.htm (Links to an external site.)