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American politician (1882-1945)

Franklin D. Roosevelt quote

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1933

Freedom of speech is of no use to a man who has nothing to say and freedom of worship is of no use to a man who has lost his God.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, Nov. 2, 1940

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves -- and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, The Wit and Wisdom of Franklin D. Roosevelt

War is a contagion.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, Oct. 5, 1937

Our national debt after all is an internal debt owed not only by the Nation but to the Nation. If our children have to pay interest on it they will pay that interest to themselves. A reasonable internal debt will not impoverish our children or put the Nation into bankruptcy.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, May 22, 1939

The True conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it. The most serious threat to our institutions comes from those who refuse to face the need for change. Liberalism becomes the protection for the far-sighted conservative.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, Sep. 29, 1936

There are as many opinions as there are experts.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, Jun. 12, 1942

We ... would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.


A wise Government seeks to provide the opportunity through which the best of individual achievement can be obtained, while at the same time it seeks to remove such obstruction, such unfairness as springs from selfish human motives.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at San Diego Exposition, Oct. 2, 1935

The program for social security that is now pending before the Congress is a necessary part of the future unemployment policy of the government. While our present and projected expenditures for work relief are wholly within the reasonable limits of our national credit resources, it is obvious that we cannot continue to create governmental deficits for that purpose year after year after year. We must begin now to make provision for the future and that is why our social security program is an important part of the complete picture. It proposes, by means of old-age pensions, to help those who have reached the age of retirement to give up their jobs and thus give to the younger generation greater opportunities for work and to give to all, old and young alike, a feeling of security as they look toward old age.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat on social security, Apr. 28, 1935

Men may differ as to the particular form of governmental activity with respect to industry and business, but nearly all men are agreed that private enterprise in times such as these cannot be left without assistance and without reasonable safeguards lest it destroy not only itself but also our processes of civilization.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat on government and modern capitalism, Sep. 30, 1934

We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, State of the Union Address, Jan. 9, 1941

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor — other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech at Democratic National Convention, Jun. 27, 1936

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech at Democratic National Convention, Jul. 2, 1932

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 the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1933

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Oct. 31, 1936

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.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Second Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1937

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Radio Address to the New York Herald Tribune Forum, Oct. 26, 1939

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Oglethorpe University Commencement Address, May 22, 1932

We count, in the future as in the past, on the driving power of individual initiative, on the incentive of fair private profit, strengthened of course with the acceptance of those obligations to the public interest which rest upon us all.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat on government and modern capitalism, Sep. 30, 1934

Democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men's enlightened will.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Third Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1941

Be sincere, be brief, be seated.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, advice to his son James on how to make a public speech, attributed in Basic Public Speaking (Soper, 1963)

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen two hundred limping exhausted men come out of line-the survivors of a regiment of one thousand that went forward forty-eight hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at Chautauqua, Aug. 14, 1936

To those people who say that our expenditures for public works and for other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order. Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade. What may be necessary for those other countries is not my responsibility to determine. But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed. On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed, that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return. I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat on government and modern capitalism, Sep. 30, 1934

The success of our whole national program depends, of course, on the cooperation of the public--on its intelligent support and its use of a reliable system.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat, Mar. 12, 1933

Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech at Marietta, Ohio, Jul. 8, 1938

This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1933

It is possible that when the banks resume a very few people who have not recovered from their fear may again begin withdrawels. Let me make it clear to you that the banks will take care of all needs except of course the hysterical demands of hoarders--and it is my belief that hoarding during the past week has become an exceedingly unfashionable pastime in every part of our nation. It needs no prophet to tell you that when the people find that they can get their money--that they can get it when they want it for all legitimate purposes--the phantom of fear will soon be laid. People will again be glad to have their money where it will be safely taken care of and where they can use it conveniently at any time. I can assure you, my friends, that it is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than it is to keep it under a mattress.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat on the banking crisis, Mar. 12, 1933

As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, State of the Union Address, Jan. 9, 1941

The most difficult place in the world to get a clear and open perspective of the country as a whole is Washington.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat, Apr. 28, 1935

The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Letter to all State Governors on a Uniform Soil Conservation Law, Feb. 26, 1937

We must be the great arsenal of Democracy.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat, Dec. 29, 1940

To a great extent the achievements of invention, of mechanical and of artistic creation, must of necessity, and rightly, be individual rather than governmental. It is the self-reliant pioneer in every enterprise who beats the path along which American civilization has marched. Such individual effort is the glory of America.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at San Diego Exposition, Oct. 2, 1935

So many figures are quoted to prove so many things. Sometimes it depends on what paper you read or what broadcast you listen in on.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, fireside chat, Apr. 28, 1935

The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history. It is human history.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Third Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1941

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