Great Speeches

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Courier Corporation, May 14, 1999 - Literary Criticism - 176 pages
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In the relatively short span of 25 years from his first national campaign in 1920 to his death in the first year of his fourth term as President in 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered hundreds of speeches, many of them masterly orations.
Perhaps the finest speechmaker in American history, FDR was a consummate expert at reading his audience. He could be dazzlingly informal, imperiously statesmanlike, witheringly sarcastic, stern, and serious, and when the occasion permitted, outright funny. Though his audiences often included more than 30 million listeners in America and millions more around the world, he succeeded in doing what so many speakers strive for and so few accomplish he left his listeners with the feeling that he was speaking to them alone.
This representative collection of 27 of FDR's finest speeches recalls a number of momentous events in his political career and the life of the nation. Included are his dramatic and inspirational First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1933) in which he told the nation that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; his first "Fireside Chat" (March 12, 1933) over the radio; his dramatic War Message to Congress (December 8, 1941) following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ("a day that will live in infamy"); his Fourth Inaugural Address (January 20, 1945); and many more.
Assembled here in one convenient volume, these speeches provide students of history, politics, and rhetoric, as well as general readers, with an immensely useful reference, a wealth of fine oration, and a valuable window on the Roosevelt years.
Includes a selection from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "State of the Union Address.""

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About the author (1999)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York and attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He followed the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, whom he greatly admired, and entered public service through politics, as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910 and President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920. In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, Roosevelt was stricken with poliomyelitis. He fought to regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924 Democratic Convention, he appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as "the Happy Warrior." In 1928, Roosevelt became Governor of New York, and was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. In his first "hundred days" in office, he proposed, and Congress enacted, a program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority. By 1935 the Nation had somewhat recovered, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal program. They were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed. In 1936 he was re-elected by a large margin. Feeling he was armed with popular support, he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Roosevelt lost the Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law took place. Thereafter the Government could legally regulate the economy. Roosevelt had pledged the United States to the "good neighbor" policy. He also sought, through neutrality legislation, to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he sent Great Britain all possible aid, short of actual military involvement. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global war. Roosevelt felt that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia, and he devoted much thought to the planning of a United Nations, in which international difficulties could be settled. As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on April 12, 1945, while in Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.