Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(1882-1945 / Hyde Park, New York)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Quotes

  • ''We have the men—the skill—the wealth—and above all, the will.... We must be the great arsenal of democracy.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. speech, Dec. 29, 1940, Washington, D.C.. "Fireside Chat," The Penguin Book of Twentieth Century Speeches, ed. Brian MacArthur (1992).
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  • ''We are trying to construct a more inclusive society.... We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. From a speech Secretary Perkins helped write. Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew, p. 113, Harper Colophon Books, n.d.. This was FDR's assessment of what New Deal social and economic programs aimed to achieve.
  • ''I am a Christian and a Democrat—that's all.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew, p. 330, Harper Colophon Books, n.d.. FDR's response to a reporter who asked him what his political philosophy might be.
  • ''I ... believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Letter, April 14, 1933, to Arthur Murray, President's Personal File, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs, vol. I, p. 54, The Belknap Press of Harvard University (1969). on government policies vs. Public opinion.
  • ''I fear ... that both dictators [Hitler and Mussolini] think their present methods are succeeding because of the gains they have made in Albania, Hungary and Yugoslavia.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Letter, June 7, 1939, to U.S. Ambassador to Italy, William Phillips. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs, Second Series. Photocopies of documents from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York (1969), p. 226, ed. Donald B. Schewe, Clearwater Publishing (1969). This was one of many indications from the President that he believed that a European War was imminent.
  • ''The man is a menace.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Edward M. Bennett, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Search for Security: American-Soviet Relations, 1933-1939, xxii. Interview with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hyde Park, New York (Summer 1959). Eleanor Roosevelt's recollection of her husband's reaction to Adolf Hitler after listening to his first speech as Chancellor of Germany. She said that her husband never changed his mind about the danger that Hitler posed to the world.
  • ''The loneliest feeling in the world is when you think you are leading the parade and turn to find that no one is following you. No president who badly misguesses public opinion will last very long.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Interview with former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, University of Illinois, Urbana (Spring 1958). FDR was always conscious of the need to educate the public on important national issues and was determined not to take the lead unless he was reasonably sure of public support. However, he was also extremely adept at providing leadership for the public to educate them to support policies he believed were essential to the public weal. He made this same observation in a letter to a friend with only slightly different wording.
  • ''I pledge you—I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Acceptance speech, 1932, at Democratic National Convention. James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, p. 139, Harcourt Brace & Co. (1956). This was the phrase which later was emphasized as the name of the Roosevelt relief, recovery, and reform programs.
  • ''How many people in the United States do you think will be willing to go to war to free Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania?''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Edward M. Bennett, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Search for Victory: American-Soviet Relations, 1939-1945, pp. 173-174, Scholarly Resources, Inc. (1990). Jim Bishop, FDR's Last Year, p. 468, William Morrow & Co., Inc. (1974). Eleanor Roosevelt expressed shock at the surrender of these small countries to Soviet control. Roosevelt realistically perceived that the Russians were not going to give up the area through which they were attacked twice in a generation by the Germans. He did not for a moment believe that Americans were willing to fight for the freedom of these little republics.
  • ''Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Nathan Miller, F.D.R.: An Intimate History, p. 89, Doubleday & Co. (1983). This statement from an early campaign speech expressed FDR's faith in cooperative effort against the rugged individualism espoused by the Republican party, and proved a forewarning of his efforts in the New Deal more than 20 years later. In essence, he announced more fealty to Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism than to Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom philosophy.

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