Quotations From FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT


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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. FDR Speaks authorized edition of speeches, 1933-1945 (recordings of Franklin Roosevelt's public addresses), side 2, Young Democrats clubs (Aug. 24, 1935), ed. Henry Steele Commager, Introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, Washington Records, Inc. (1960). FDR tried to get young people to realize that they could and should blaze new trails, but, though they might alter traditions, they should live by principles.
  • Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. The Wit and Wisdom of Franklin D. Roosevelt, On America, p. 9, eds. Peter and Helen Beilenson, Peter Pauper Press (1982). On religious freedom and bigotry.
  • Liberty requires opportunity to make a living—a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives a man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. The Wit and Wisdom of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Government and Democracy, p. 31, eds. Peter and Helen Beilenson, Peter Pauper Press (1982).

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  • This nation asks for action, and action now.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. Ed. Samuel I. Rosenman, The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 13 volumes, New York (1938-1950). FDR Speaks authorized edition of speeches, 1933-1945 (recordings of Franklin Roosevelt's public addresses), side 1, the first inaugural—"Nothing to Fear," ed. Henry Steele Commager, Introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, Washington Records, Inc. (1960). Eleanor Roosevelt commented later that the overwhelming ovation which greeted this statement in FDR's first inaugural was frightening and that if her husband had been less a democrat he could have assumed dictatorial powers with little opposition (interview with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hyde Park, N.Y., Summer, 1959).
  • I've fired my last shot. I think I should have another round in my belt.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. president. William Leutchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940, p. 292, Harper & Row (1963). This is what the President told a group of Senators when he was attempting to get the arms embargo legislation repealed. He wished to use the ability of the United States to produce weapons to provide defensive armaments to the European nations threatened by the Axis powers. His appeal fell on deaf ears as they did not believe there would be a war. Six weeks later Hitler attacked Poland.
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