For this first paper I would like to write about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address, which took place on March 4, 1933. Unique to Franklin Roosevelt, was that his presidency began amidst the depths of the depression. The Great Depression had been going on for three years prior to this. His previous speeches were generally optimistic and vague, but this speech in particular took an understandably gloomy tone. Here he outlines openly his main ideas about how to govern during this time, preparing The United States for governmental growth.
I believe this to be a good speech for this paper because it is directly related to the historical context of the time. The Great Depression was an important, but sad, time period for The United States that I have not previously learned much about. Since the Great Depression was a huge topic during Roosevelt’s very first speech as president, it is something that must have been very prominent at the time. Secondly, the speech is long enough to give me enough information to work with and truly delve into. The very famous quote in this speech, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” adds to the popularity of the speech, even today. It is a quote many have heard, but not many have read the entire speech. Another important detail of this speech is that it’s pointing to the fact that the depression is made up of only material things, which will be interesting to look into. Finally, I would like to find out what America’s general reaction to this speech was, both Democrats and Republicans.
- Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSgMWW-808
- Video (part of it): http://www.history.com/speeches/franklin-d-roosevelts-first-inaugural-address