Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(1882-1945 / Hyde Park, New York)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Quotes

  • ''But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Speech, July 2, 1932, to Democratic national convention, accepting presidential nomination.
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  • ''The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Radio broadcast, March 2, 1930.
  • ''If we can "boondoggle" ourselves out of this depression, that word is going to be enshrined in the hearts of the American people for years to come.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. speech, Jan. 18, 1936, to the New Jersey State Emergency Council, Newark.
  • ''It is the duty of the President to propose and it is the privilege of the Congress to dispose.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Press conference, July 23, 1937.
  • ''These are bad days for all of us who remember always that when real world forces come into conflict, the final result is never as dark as we mortals guess it in very difficult days.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Letter, May 3, 1940, to Joseph P. Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. The Roosevelt Letters, vol. 3, p. 312, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, George G. Harrup & Co., Ltd. (1952). Kennedy was worried that Britain might not survive given the combined forces the Allies faced in the Axis powers. Roosevelt agreed that there were dark days ahead, but was convinced that in the end there would be better days ahead.
  • ''Tax avoidance means that you hire a $250,000-fee lawyer, and he changes the word 'evasion' into the word 'avoidance.'''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Politics of Upheaval, p. 333, Houghton Mifflin Co. (1960).
  • ''When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. David Dallek, Franklin Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy: 1932-1945, p. 288, Oxford University Press (1979). When the President wished to authorize the use of U.S. warships to seek out German submarines operating in the western Atlantic, this was the rationale he presented to the public.
  • ''[W]e must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the Nation that most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Ed. Samuel I. Rosenman, The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Speech at Chautauqua, New York, August 14, 1936, vol. 5, p. 292, New York, Random House (1938-1950). Edward M. Bennett, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Search for Security: American-Soviet Relations, 1933-1939, p. 79, Scholarly Resources, Inc. (1985). FDR wished to make Americans aware that no matter how much they wished to remain insulated from foreign entanglements and war that the decision might not be up to them.
  • ''I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1954), U.S. president. The Wit and Wisdom of Franklin D. Roosevelt, On America, p. 6, eds. Peter and Helen Beilenson, Peter Pauper Press (1982). On national development and progress.
  • ''Frankly, I do not know how to effect a permanency in American foreign policy.''
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Letter of January 30, 1934, President's Personal File, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York. Edward M. Bennett, Recognition of Russia: An American Foreign Policy Dilemma, p. 82, Ginn/Blaisdell (1970). A friend had asked FDR to provide a long-range perspective on American foreign policy in order that the people could follow his leadership. FDR did not believe that it was possible to lay out a long term, specific plan in foreign policy. He preferred a pragmatic approach.

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