Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(1882-1945 / Hyde Park, New York)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Quotes

  • ''I want to preach a new doctrine. A complete separation of business and government.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Dedication speech, July 4, 1929, at Tammany Hall's new headquarters. Nathan Miller, F.D.R.: An Intimate History, p. 234, Doubleday & Co. (1983). A theme which FDR often referred to in his articles and speeches in the 1920s was the degree to which the Republican Party represented big business to the exclusion of the rest of the populace. This related to his perception of the "economic royalists" (in an address during the 1936 campaign), whom he believed had brought the nation to disaster in the twenties.
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  • ''I am ... willing to make it clear that American foreign policy must uphold the sanctity of international treaties. That is the cornerstone on which all relations between nations must rest.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. New York Times, p. 1 (January 18, 1933).
  • ''Don't forget what I discovered—that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Search for Victory: American- Soviet Relations, 1939-1945, p. 27, Scholarly Resources, Inc. (1990). PSF II, Departmental Files, State Department, 1940-1941, Box 22, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York, FDR to Adolph A. Berle, Jr. (June 21, 1941). This was a theme FDR harped on throughout his presidency. A first obligation of the President was to attempt arms limitation; failing this, the first obligation was to arm for defense.
  • ''The forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Radio broadcast, April 7, 1932. Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, vol. 1 (1938).
  • ''I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. second inaugural addresss, Jan. 20, 1937. Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, vol. 6 (1941).
  • ''War is a contagion.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. speech, Oct. 5, 1937, Chicago. Quoted in The Wit and Wisdom of Franklin D. Roosevelt, "War," ed. Maxwell Meyersohn (1950).
  • ''Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Speech, July 2, 1932. repeated in his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933. The expression has numerous precedents, including the Duke of Wellington, Montaigne and the Bible, and was used by Sir Winston Churchill during World War II.
  • ''General de Gaulle was a thoroughly bad boy. The day he arrived, he thought he was Joan of Arc and the following day he insisted that he was Georges Clemenceau.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. letter, Feb. 13, 1943, to John A. Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Letters, vol. 3, p. 457, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, George G. Harrup & Co., Ltd. (1952). FDR disliked de Gaulle; he thought him pompous and arrogant. This was an opinion which was re-enforced by the General's demeanor at the Casablanca Conference to which this letter referred.
  • ''Those newspapers of the nation which most loudly cried dictatorship against me would have been the first to justify the beginnings of dictatorship by somebody else.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. letter, Nov. 13, 1940, to Samuel I. Rosenman. The Roosevelt Letters, vol. 3, p. 338, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, George G. Harrup & Co., Ltd. (1952). In this letter to one of his speech writers, FDR noted that there were many in the Republican ranks who spoke during the campaign of 1940 in favor of appeasing Hitler and who spoke of using force to create conformity to their wishes in the U.S.
  • ''Sometimes the best way to keep peace in the family is to keep the members of the family apart for awhile.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. letter, Dec. 18, 1942, to Sumner Welles. The Roosevelt Letters, vol. 3, p. 451, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, George G. Harrup & Co., Ltd. (1952).

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