Sunday, March 04, 2007

74 years ago today, FDR became President

. . .Click President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to enlarge. . .

On March 4, 1933, with the depression in full swing, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. His inaugural speech promised a "New Deal," e.g., expansion of the federal government as an employer and the establishment of a national "saftey net," as well call it these days. During the first nine months of FDR's stewardship, we were still Dry-- a nation under The Volstead Act,. Not until December could alcohol again be legally sold or drunk. The ban on alcohol lasted 13 years and it was perhaps even less effective the bans on marijuana today.

The majority of Americans stood behind the President and his radical measures to repair the economic climate. He was re-elected three tiemes.

His long term in office led congress and the states to pass the 22ndAmendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits Presidents to two consecutive elected terms in office.

My favorite quote about President Roosevelt came from none other than Governor Mario Cuomo--who was sitting in the same seat FDR occuped as Governor. This is from his magnificent speech (the entire text appears on All This Is That) at the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco:

"We Democrats believe in something else. We democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact, and we have more than once. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees -- wagon train after wagon train -- to new frontiers of education, housing, peace; the whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family; lifting them up into the wagon on the way; blacks and Hispanics, and people of every ethnic group, and native Americans -- all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America. For nearly 50 years we carried them all to new levels of comfort, and security, and dignity, even affluence. And remember this, some of us in this room today are here only because this nation had that kind of confidence. And it would be wrong to forget that."

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