Sunday, January 15, 2012

FDR's Second Inaugural Address

Because of the 20th amendment to the Constitution, in 1937 Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to take the oath of office in January, which has been the case for his successors since then. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administered the oath on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 1937.

The election of 1936 had been a landslide victory for the president. In his second inaugural address, FDR reminded the nation that much had improved since his first inauguration in 1933, but much had not, and asserted that it was the obligation of progressive government to do something about the nation's ongoing problems.

"In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens -- a substantial part of its whole population -- who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

"I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

"I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

"I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

"I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

"I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

"It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope -- because the nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

1 comment:

Kevin Deany said...

The more things change, the more they stay the same...