From FDR’s First Inaugural Address: March 4, 1933


“…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 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 know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

“…Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days 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 and to our fellow men.”

FDR’s first inaugural address, March 4, 1933. Plenty of FDR MP3s here.

PS. Chicken plans are coming along excellently. Kate got a great chicken book out of the library, which is written for kids but I’m finding completely on the right level for me, with short, pithy advice like “you must never name a chicken you plan to eat”, along with lots of detailed tips on how to check a chicken’s skin color on the shank and eyes to see how long it hasn’t been laying (a laying hen sends all her yellow pigment into the yolks of her eggs.) It’s written by Gail Damerow, who also wrote the ice cream book and many others.

3 responses to “From FDR’s First Inaugural Address: March 4, 1933”

  1. Slightly less inspiring…
    Recent comments by President Bush on the economy:
    “One thing is for certain — we’re in challenging times. But another thing is for certain — that we’ve taken strong and decisive action.” March 17 after meeting with economic advisers.
    “In the long run, we can be confident that our economy will continue to grow, but in the short run, it is clear that growth has slowed.” March 15 in his weekly radio address.
    “First of all, in a free market, there’s going to be good times and bad times. That’s how markets work. There will be ups and downs. And after 52 consecutive months of job growth, which is a record, our economy obviously is going through a tough time.” March 14 in a speech to the Economic Club of New York.
    “Losing a job is painful, and I know Americans are concerned about our economy; so am I. It’s clear our economy has slowed, but the good news is, we anticipated this and took decisive action to bolster the economy, by passing a growth package that will put money into the hands of American workers and businesses.” March 7 on news that the economy lost 63,000 payroll jobs in February.
    “You see, if you’re somebody worried about $3 gasoline and you think your taxes may be going up in two years, then it — the uncertain price of gasoline creates more uncertainty for you as you plan your future.” Feb. 28, urging Congress to extend tax cuts that will expire.
    “That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.” Feb. 28, when told that some analysts are predicting gasoline could go up to $4 a gallon.
    “Over the past seven years, this system has absorbed shocks — recession, corporate scandals, terrorist attacks, global war. Yet the genius of our system is that it can absorb such shocks and emerge even stronger.” Feb. 13 in signing an economic stimulus package of tax rebates for families and businesses.
    “I hope you’re confident about our economy. I am. We’ve got some short-term issues to deal with. Fourth quarter growth slowed to .6 percent. In other words, there are signs that our economy are slowing.” Jan. 30 at the Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance, Calif.
    “The economic team reports that our economy has a solid foundation, but that there are areas of real concern. Our economy is still creating jobs, though at a reduced pace. Consumer spending is still growing, but the housing market is declining. Business investment and exports are still rising, but the cost of imported oil has increased.” Jan. 18, urging Congress to quickly pass an economic-stimulus plan.
    “This economy of ours is on a solid foundation, but we can’t take economic growth for granted.” Jan. 4 after meeting with the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets.


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