Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself" FDR's 1933 Inaugural Address

Undoubtedly one of the best President's to ever be in charge of this great nation, Franklin D. Roosevelt was a man of planning, action, and execution. He saw the troubles that the United States were facing at the time, and although he was a Republican, just reading about this great man gives one the feel that to him he really was a man for the people. He wasn't as worried about his party's agenda because he cared about the people. He put the people above everything else, and throughout his 8 year tenure as president he proposed and had passed many bills and laws that created jobs here at home in the U.S., got the people who were recently devastated by the Great Depression that had plagued our great nation only 3 years prior back to working, and helped reconstruct an economy that seemed to be a devastated and almost insalvable.
Franklin D. Roosevelt not was a great president and I think we can attribute that to the great Ethos that he possessed. And while there we're a lot of great speeches and "talks" that came out of his run as President, I will briefly analyze one of my personal favorites, his 1933 Inaugural Address. He had ran a great campaign, and his first speech as boss of the White House was great. He showed empathy and sympathy with a nation just as confused and lost and not sure about the future, but before it turned into a complete rundown of how sad the condition of the U.S. was at the time, he takes over with an leadership attitude, and begins saying how he's going to get the country on the right track again. And while politicians typically promise great things that feel almost too good to be true, listening to his rhetoric he didn't just give a plan and a promise, he gave the American people something they desperately needed and hadn't seen for awhile: He gave them hope. Without digressing any further, I will analyze the speech, which can be found here(FDR's Inaugural Address).

I'll break down this analysis into 3 parts, which are the three central elements of Ethos: Intelligence, Virtue, and Goodwill.

Intelligence: -He explains things how they are, it's not the public's fault that the depression happened, rather the fault of corrupt "money changers" that put their own greed before the dignity of respecting the hard-earnings of families around the country.

-When tackling the topic of creating jobs, he explains not what can be, but what will be given that the American people collaborate together to redistribute farmland and generate more crops, lowering taxes temporarily, and by creating work relief programs. All this to spread the work to other fields, because as he states, the Industrial Industry is overpopulated with workers, so he simply wants to create more jobs in different fields to put those displaced workers back in a stable job. Genius if you ask me, which get's me to asking why no one had thought of that before? FDR just had that kind of insight.

-He reminds us of his power as President and how he intends to use it, saying he will propose the bills to Congress, but should they not pass them, then he will use his power as President to wage a WAR on this emergency that faces the country (He literally would wage a war on Poverty!) It shows he's well read on his power, but also that he knows how to manipulate the constitution to suit his plans and actions he want's to take. If that's not genius, I don't know what is. This example could also be thrown in with Goodwill, as it shows he's willing to pull out all the cards as a President to tackle this problem.

Virtue: The tone given throughout the majority of his speech speaks in a friendly manner. I didn't hear FDR give this speech, I just read it to myself. Yet when I read it to myself, I got the feeling that this wasn't just a stranger talking to me, a leader and a friend was speaking to me, telling me that he just wants what I want, to fix this economy and job problem in the U.S. and that if I work hard with him and his govt. ordinances he can help me get back into working. When talking about the robbing of families, the use of language clearly puts him on the side of the audience, distinguishing himself from the crooks that ran banks. I could only think that after the great depression, many people had trust issues with anyone in a high position of power. So the fact that he doesn't associate with any big bankers, especially the ones on trial, would make the audience feel like they can relate to him. And if the people can relate to him, surely he must be a good person!

Goodwill: After giving this speech a good read, its clear to see that he has nothing but the people in mind when it comes to running a presidency. He recounts how years of savings have been lost, how the country is in shambles and people are confused what to do. He then offer's the people an option, an only option: demanding we work together as one nation, create jobs for each other through relief and public programs, support our local economy more and rebuild. In a time when many people were sad and feeling depressed about the situation the United States was in, FDR came in and said there's no point in crying over it, it's time to get to work and fix this together. On top of that he thanks God for being given the opportunity to help rebuild the United States, and asks him to bless "each and every one of us". That's a great way to end a speech, something that would really rally people together and showing that with his presidency, the amount of success he'll have isn't just based on his actions but also the people, relating himself with the people for a common goal which would speak to the audience as him having nothing but the best intentions for them in mind.

The speech has a nice and relaxed feel, and like his many fireside talks that we're to come, this speech was less an address and more a conversation between the people and him. Needless to say, this speech was a good one, and a good sign of things to come for the nation from a truly inspiring man who showed nothing but great character throughout each year of his presidency.

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