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You are watching: Who said you have nothing to fear but fear itself

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“Only point We have to are afraid Is are afraid Itself”: FDR’s very first Inaugural Address

Franklin D. Roosevelt had campaigned versus Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election by speak as small as feasible about what he could do if elected. Through even the closest working relationships, none of the president-elect’s many intimate associates felt lock knew him well, through the exemption perhaps that his wife, Eleanor. The affable, witty Roosevelt offered his good personal charm to save most people at a distance. In project speeches, he favored a buoyant, optimistic, gently paternal tone spiced with humor. However his first inaugural resolve took on an abnormally solemn, spiritual quality. And for great reason—by 1933 the depression had reached that is depth. Roosevelt’s first inaugural resolve outlined in vast terms how he hoped to govern and reminded Americans that the nation’s “common difficulties” came to “only material things.”Please note that the audio is one excerpt native the complete address.

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I am particular that my fellow Americans intend that on my induction right into the Presidency i will resolve them through a candor and a decision which the present case of our human being impel. This is preeminently the moment to speak the truth, the totality truth, frankly and also boldly. Nor need we shrink indigenous honestly facing problems in our country today. This good Nation will endure together it has actually endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, permit me assert my firm belief that the just thing we have to are afraid is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror i beg your pardon paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat right into advance. In every dark hour the our national life a leadership of frankness and also vigor has met through that understanding and also support the the people themselves which is vital to victory. Ns am convinced that you will certainly again offer that assistance to leadership in these an essential days.In such a heart on my component and on her we challenge our common difficulties. Lock concern, say thanks to God, only product things. Values have shrunken to great levels; taxes have risen; our capability to pay has fallen; federal government of all kinds is confronted by severe curtailment of income; the way of exchange room frozen in the currents that trade; the withered leaves of commercial enterprise lie on every side; farmers discover no industries for your produce; the savings of plenty of years in thousands of households are gone.More important, a organize of unemployed citizens challenge the grim difficulty of existence, and also an equally great number toil with tiny return. Only a foolish optimist deserve to deny the dark realities that the moment.Yet our distress originates from no fail of substance. We room stricken by no pester of locusts. Contrasted with the dangers which ours forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have actually still much to it is in thankful for. Nature still supplies her bounty and human initiatives have multiplied it. Lot of is in ~ our doorstep, however a generous usage of the languishes in the very sight of the supply. Generally this is because the rulers that the exchange the mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and also their own incompetence, have admitted your failure, and also abdicated. Methods of the unscrupulous money changers was standing indicted in the court of publicly opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.True they have tried, but their initiatives have been actors in the sample of one outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit transaction they have actually proposed only the lending of an ext money. Stripped that the lure of profit by which to induce our civilization to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for revived confidence. They recognize only the rule of a generation that self-seekers. They have no vision, and also when there is no vision the civilization perish.The money changers have fled from your high seat in the holy place of our civilization. We might now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the reconstruction lies in the degree to which we apply social values an ext noble 보다 mere financial profit.Happiness lies no in the mere possession the money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of occupational no longer must be forgotten in the mad follow of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth every they cost us if castle teach united state that ours true destiny is no to it is in ministered unto however to minister come ourselves and to our fellow men.Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the conventional of success goes together with the abandonment that the false id that windy office and high political position are to be valued just by the criter of proud of place and an individual profit; and there must be an finish to a command in banking and in service which too often has offered to a sacred trust the likeness that callous and selfish wrongdoing. Little wonder that confidence languishes, because that it thrives only on honesty, on honor, top top the sacredness that obligations, on faithful protection, top top unselfish performance; there is no them it can not live.Restoration calls, however, no for alters in principles alone. This country asks for action, and activity now.Our greatest primary job is to put human being to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It have the right to be completed in component by straight recruiting by the federal government itself, dealing with the task as we would certainly treat the emergency the a war, however at the exact same time, through this employment, accomplishing substantially needed jobs to stimulate and reorganize the use of our herbal resources.Hand in hand v this we have to frankly acknowledge the overbalance of populace in our commercial centers and, through engaging top top a nationwide scale in a redistribution, endeavor to administer a far better use the the land for those ideal fitted because that the land. The task have the right to be aided by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and also with this the power to acquisition the calculation of our cities. It have the right to be aided by avoiding realistically the tragedy the the cultivation loss through foreclosure of our little homes and our farms. It can be assisted by insistence the the Federal, State, and local federal governments act forthwith on the need that their price be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying the relief tasks which today are regularly scattered, uneconomical, and also unequal. It have the right to be helped by nationwide planning for and also supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and also other utilities which have actually a certainly public character. Over there are numerous ways in i beg your pardon it have the right to be helped, but it deserve to never be aided merely by talking about it. We have to act and act quickly.Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work-related we call for two safeguards against a return the the malice of the old order; there have to be a strictly supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there need to be an end to speculation with various other people’s money, and there need to be provision because that an adequate however sound currency.There are the lines of attack. Ns shall presently advice upon a brand-new Congress in distinct session thorough measures for your fulfillment, and also I shall look for the immediate assistance of the numerous States.Through this program of activity we resolve ourselves to placing our very own national home in order and also making earnings balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in suggest of time and necessity an additional to the establishment of a sound nationwide economy. I favor together a practical policy the placing of first things first. I shall preventive no effort to restore people trade through international economic readjustment, but the emergency at residence cannot wait on that accomplishment.The simple thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. That is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence the the various facets in all components of the joined States—a acknowledgment of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American soul of the pioneer. The is the means to recovery. That is the prompt way. That is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure.In the field of people policy I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the an excellent neighbor—the neighbor that resolutely respects himself and, because he go so, respects the rights of others—the neighbor who respects his obligations and also respects the sanctity that his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.If I review the temper of our human being correctly, we currently realize together we have actually never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not just take but we must offer as well; the if we room to walk forward, us must move as a trained and also loyal military willing come sacrifice because that the an excellent of a common discipline, because without such self-control no progress is made, no management becomes effective. We are, ns know, ready and also willing to submit our lives and also property to together discipline, because it makes feasible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This i propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all together a sacred obligation with a unified of duty hitherto evoked just in time of armed strife.With this pledge taken, ns assume unhesitatingly the management of this great army of our people committed to a disciplined attack upon our typical problems.Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the type of government which we have actually inherited from ours ancestors. Our structure is so an easy and useful that it is feasible always to meet extraordinary requirements by transforms in emphasis and also arrangement without loss of necessary form. That is why our constitutional system has actually proved itself the most superbly enduring political device the contemporary world has produced. It has met every tension of huge expansion the territory, of foreign wars, that bitter interior strife, of human being relations.It is to it is in hoped the the regular balance of executive and also legislative authority may be wholly adequate to satisfy the unprecedented task prior to us. However it might be that an extraordinary demand and also need for undelayed activity may call for temporary departure from that common balance of windy procedure.I am prepared under my constitutional duty to introduce the procedures that a stricken nation in the middle of a stricken civilization may require. These measures, or such other steps as the congress may develop out that its experience and also wisdom, i shall seek, in ~ my constitutional authority, to lug to speedy adoption.But in the occasion that the congress shall fail come take one of these 2 courses, and also in the occasion that the nationwide emergency is tho critical, i shall no evade the clear course the duty that will then confront me. Ns shall ask the Congress because that the one staying instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war versus the emergency, as an excellent as the power that would be offered to me if we were in reality invaded by a international foe. Because that the to trust reposed in me I will return the courage and also the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.We challenge the arduous days that lie before us in the heat courage the the national unity; through the clear awareness of search old and precious ethical values; v the clean satisfaction that originates from the stern performance of duty by old and also young alike. We aim at the assurance that a rounded and also permanent nationwide life.We do not distrust the future of crucial democracy. The human being of the unified States have not failed. In their require they have registered a mandate the they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked because that discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the existing instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift ns take it.In this dedication that a country we humbly asking the blessing the God. May He safeguard each and also every one of us. May He overview me in the days come come.

Source: Franklin D.

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Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, in march 4, 1933, as published in Samuel Rosenman, ed., The Public files of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Volume Two: The Year of Crisis, 1933 (New York: random House, 1938), 11–16.