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Why did FDR say, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself" ?

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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:27 AM
Original message
Why did FDR say, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself" ?
It is my understanding that this quote was previous to World War II and the threat to California and the coastlands. And we should not forget the internment of thousands of Japanese citizens during the war. However, what did we have to fear when FDR made the above statement?

People were losing everything in the stock market when FDR took office. Twenty-five percent of the nation was unemployed. People were hopeless and desperate. But what did they "fear"?
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FDRrocks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. Economic collapse?
I think that was his inauguration speech for his 1st or 2nd term, I forget which.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. First Inaugural Address
FDR came into office (March 4, 1933) at a time when the nation was in the grip of a devastating economic depression.Millions of people were out of work in the country, and in foreign affairs, it was a scarey time. FDR knew that as the leader of this great nation, he had to unite the people. He used the phrase you quoted in the 5th sentence of his speech ... one of the truly greatest revolutionary visions in our nation's history. Read both his 1st and 2nd Inaugural addresses: they are easy to find in a public library .... at least for now .... because he blasted the bush/cheney's of his day! Powerful speeches that should be required reading for all d.u. folks preparing to remove the evils from the white house this year!
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Racenut20 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. Being destitute
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
3. Containing panic in an economic
disaster is absolutely critical, because widespread panic causes incredible damage and makes things far worse than they would normally be. Roosevelt knew that, and he knew he had to contain the panic, or at least control it, which I think he was very successful in accomplishing.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. Is there any similarity to the people's "fear" of terrorism?
It seems to me that the fear of terrorism is worse than the terrorism itself...
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Maeve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Abso-frickin-lootly!
when we are scared, we freeze. We are more willing to give up freedom for safety, forgetting Ben Franklin's warning "Those who sacrifice liberty in the name of security deserve neither".
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. You are on the right path!!!
Go with it! Read both his 1st and 2nd addresses ... you will be surprised how perfectly they fit TODAY! Know your history! I think that if you read these two messages today, you will have made a huge step forward in understanding exactly what is going on today!
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. fear and terrorism
terrorists have as their first goal to cause fear by killing or otherwise harming non combatants. It's definitional.
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gator_in_Ontario Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. amen
when we are this scared, they have won
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
19. Oh, you said a MOUTHFUL!
Hit the nail RIGHT on it's freekin' head.

Now you know why they keep it up with this ridiculous "Orange Alert" and cancelled flight BS.

Keep the Sheeple afraid of what MIGHT be, and they'll agree to almost anything promising "safety"....
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
6. during the war we could fear Japan and Germany
during the depression, it was fear itself.

Roosevelt said it during his first inaugural.
I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itselfnameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

(One thing nice about home schooling, they have built some great web sites. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057 / )
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Great! Thank you so much!
This is so cool! Can you possibly list the "I see..." section of his second address, which is - in my humble opinion - the sibling of our friend Dr. King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech? Approximately paragraphs 7-11?
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. 2nd inaugural
you can find most anything with a google search. Glad I did. Can you imagine Bush saying anything like this?

No wonder he was elected 4 times. He would still be prez if he were alive.

When four years ago we met to inaugurate a President, the Republic, singleminded in anxiety, stood in spirit here. We dedicated ourselves to the fulfillment of a vision-to speed the time when there would be for all the people that security and peace essential to the pursuit of happiness. We of the Republic pledged ourselves to drive from the temple of our ancient faith those who had profaned it; to end by action, tireless and unafraid, the stagnation and despair of that day. We did those first things first.Our covenant with ourselves did not stop there. Instinctively we recognized a deeper need-the need to find through government the instrument of our united purpose to solve for the individual the ever-rising problems of a complex civilization. Repeated attempts at their solution without the aid of government had left us baffled and bewildered. For, without that aid, we had been unable to create those moral controls over the services of science which are necessary to make science a useful servant instead of a ruthless master of mankind. To do this we knew that we must find practical controls over blind economic forces and blindly selfish men.
<snip>
We are beginning to abandon to our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.
<snip>
I see a great nation, upon a great continent, blessed with a great wealth of natural resources. Its hundred and thirty million people are at peace among themselves; they are making their country a good neighbor among the nations. I see a United States which can demonstrate that, under democratic methods of government, national wealth can be translated into a spreading volume of human comforts hitherto unknown, and the lowest standard of living can be raised far above the level of mere subsistence.But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens-a substantial part of its whole population-who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.I see millions whose daily live in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.I see millions denied the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope-because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
<snip>
Government is competent when all who compose it work as trustees for the whole people.
<snip>
It can obtain justified support and legitimate criticism when the people receive true information of all that government does.
<snip>
To maintain a democracy of effort requires a vast amount of patience in dealing with differing methods, a vast amount of humility. But out of the confusion of many voices rises an understanding of dominant public need. Then political leadership can voice common ideals, and aid in their realization.In taking again the oath of office as President of the United States, I assume the solemn obligation of leading the American people forward along the road over which they have chosen to advance.While this duty rests upon me I shall do my utmost to speak their purpose and to do their will, seeking Divine guidance to help us each and every one to give light to them that sit in darkness and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

http://members.aol.com/forcountry/ww2/fdr5.htm
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. "evils of the old order"
"Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other peoples money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency."

I guess in the end that didn't exactly work out as planned.

also Roosevelt:

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in essence, is Fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power."

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson."


Many other people of power, from Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln to Otto Von Bismarck and Alan Greenspan, have warned about financial institutions and corporations being engaged in corrupting politics in order to, in effect, steal the peoples wealth.
FDR says in so many words that the "evils of the old order" (in that case the "Rulers of the Exchange of Mankind's Goods" and the "Money Changers") is a fascist power.

Seeing the lack of 'safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order' today, seeing the unheard of corruption in big corporations, seeing the corporate media propaganda machine, knowing about corporate influence in politics, hearing statesmen talk of perpetual and total war based on inference, i can't help but think that the aggregation of wealth by a few is actually in full swing.
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MrBenchley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
7. Total collapse is what they feared
There were riots over food and bank "runs" spurred by public panic.
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Ficus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
13. of the new deal
and solving problems in a new way. Don't be afraid - we'll get through this depression together.

People feared that they couldn't feed their families or find work, or would lose their homes or farms. Roosevelt was saying, you have nothing to fear, we'll get through this.
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SpaceCatMeetsMars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
14. I wish the media would put speeches like this or by anybody else
Edited on Mon Jan-05-04 11:09 AM by CalamityJane
side-by-side with Bush's, so people could look at the difference. Would they get it then, that he is a fear-mongering cretin?
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i_am_not_john_galt Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Bush speech excerpts
State of the Union 2003:
" Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power. In the ruins of two towers, at the western wall of the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, this nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge tonight: Whatever the duration of this struggle, and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men -- free people will set the course of history."

"Many challenges, abroad and at home, have arrived in a single season. In two years, America has gone from a sense of invulnerability to an awareness of peril; from bitter division in small matters to calm unity in great causes. And we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country.

Americans are a resolute people who have risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world and to ourselves. America is a strong nation, and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers."
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i_am_not_john_galt Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. My point is..
These are the quotes the media might pick. Now put these quotes side-by-side with the quotes coming from our debates and WE are the ones who sound petty and small and afraid - of Bush, the French, etc. Whom of the 9 is our FDR? Where's the bold vision? Where's the call to courage and sacrifice. All I hear from the debates is us whining "What can my country do for me?" (to quote another great Democratic speech).
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SpaceCatMeetsMars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. You really can't see the difference between Bush and FDR?
Edited on Mon Jan-05-04 12:21 PM by CalamityJane
Or between Bush's speeches and FDR or anyone else's speeches? Also, watch how you use WE. You may be small and petty and afraid, but I am not.

If you can't see how the Democrats are better than Bush, you will hate this site.

Also, have you really ever read Ayn Rand? She would hate today's Republicans.

Also, your statement about the French is very confusing. Why is it that are "we" afraid of Bush and the French? Just answer that one, please, because that would be the most fun and interesting answer.
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i_am_not_john_galt Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. That's not my point
Edited on Mon Jan-05-04 12:50 PM by i_am_not_john_galt
I'm not at all comparing Bush with FDR, rather I'm responding to the previous posters idea about posting Bush speech excerpts next to FDR's. And no, Bush is not an objectivist, libertarian, or even Goldwater republican. He's an opportunist.

I am comparing great democrat people and speeches from the past to what I hear from the Democratic debates today. It sounds petty and small and unempowered to me, especially constrasted with FDR, Kennedy, etc. Maybe it will be better once a candidate wins the nomination.

As for the French, my point is that we seem to be saying that we shouldn't have acted until the French and Germans were on board, even though they had their own agendas. That we're afraid of leading in the world, even though we ARE the 800 lb gorrilla. That's the wrong point. We should focus on the morality and factual basis (or lack thereof) of the decision to go to war preemtively. To say we shouldn't have done it because the French weren't on board is not the argument of a leader.

In fact, my point is made more by the posting below by devrc243 "Damn, what a generation! If only we had that kind of leadership now."
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. But Bush doesn't read newspapers or watch TV or write speeches??
There is nothing to compare...
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. I guess the French and the Germans were the only nations to disagree
No other country on earth had doubts as to the US's motives and vision? I think you have your eyes fully closed when it comes to world affairs. There is something called "International Law" I guess that is only for the "lessor" countries. :crazy: Can you imagine Lincoln saying "Bring em on" or FDR saying "fool me and you can't fool me more" Yes Bush* is quite the orator. :shrug: whatever
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Blue_Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
17. FDR
what an awesome President. I just finished reading about his Presidency in the book, "The Century," and they do him justice in that book.

My parents lived through the depression as children and then went on to war as teenagers--both mom and dad were in the Army and both went overseas to fight. Mom in the south pacific as a nurse, dad in Normandy, France.

Damn, what a generation! If only we had that kind of leadership now.
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Touchdown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-04 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
25. His words are certainly fitting for today.
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