"For these things, too, and for a
multitude of others like them, we have only just begun to fight."
Our Documents: Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New
October 31, 1936
Wagner, Governor Lehman, ladies and gentlemen:
eve of a national election, it is well for us to stop for a moment and
analyze calmly and without prejudice the effect on our Nation of a victory
by either of the major political parties.
problem of the electorate is far deeper, far more vital than the
continuance in the Presidency of any individual. For the greater issue goes
beyond units of humanity--it goes to humanity itself.
the issue was the restoration of American democracy; and the American
people were in a mood to win. They did win. In 1936 the issue is the
preservation of their victory. Again they are in a mood to win. Again they
than four years ago in accepting the Democratic nomination in Chicago, I
said: "Give me your help not to win votes alone, but to win in this
crusade to restore America to its own people."
banners of that crusade still fly in the van of a Nation that is on the
needless to repeat the details of the program which this Administration has
been hammering out on the anvils of experience. No amount of
misrepresentation or statistical contortion can conceal or blur or smear
that record. Neither the attacks of unscrupulous enemies nor the
exaggerations of over-zealous friends will serve to mislead the American
our hope in 1932? Above all other things the American people wanted peace.
They wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.
they sought escape from the personal terror which had stalked them for
three years. They wanted the peace that comes from security in their homes:
safety for their savings, permanence in their jobs, a fair profit from
they wanted peace in the community, the peace that springs from the ability
to meet the needs of community life: schools, playgrounds, parks,
sanitation, highways--those things which are expected of solvent local
government. They sought escape from disintegration and bankruptcy in local
and state affairs.
also sought peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer
wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the
elimination of wild-cat speculation, the safety of their children from
finally, they sought peace with other Nations--peace in a world of unrest.
The Nation knows that I hate war, and I know that the Nation hates war.
to you a record of peace; and on that record a well-founded expectation for
future peace--peace for the individual, peace for the community, peace for
the Nation, and peace with the world.
I call the roll--the roll of honor of those who stood with us in 1932 and
still stand with us today.
on it are the names of millions who never had a chance --men at starvation
wages, women in sweatshops, children at looms.
on it are the names of those who despaired, young men and young women for
whom opportunity had become a will-o'-the-wisp.
on it are the names of farmers whose acres yielded only bitterness,
business men whose books were portents of disaster, home owners who were
faced with eviction, frugal citizens whose savings were insecure.
there in large letters are the names of countless other Americans of all
parties and all faiths, Americans who had eyes to see and hearts to
understand, whose consciences were burdened because too many of their
fellows were burdened, who looked on these things four years ago and said,
"This can be changed. We will change it."
lead that army in 1936. They stood with us then because in 1932 they
believed. They stand with us today because in 1936 they know. And with them
stand millions of new recruits who have come to know.
hopes have become our record.
not come this far without a struggle and I assure you we cannot go further
without a struggle.
twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing,
do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government
looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years
of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the
breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair!
Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with
its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.
nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling
its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly,
speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war
begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage
to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is
just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
before in all our history have these forces been so united against one
candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and
I welcome their hatred.
like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of
selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it
said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.
American people know from a four-year record that today there is only one
entrance to the White House--by the front door. Since March 4, 1933, there
has been only one pass-key to the White House. I have carried that key in
my pocket. It is there tonight. So long as I am President, it will remain
in my pocket.
who used to have pass-keys are not happy. Some of them are desperate. Only
desperate men with their backs to the wall would descend so far below the
level of decent citizenship as to foster the current pay-envelope campaign
against America's working people. Only reckless men, heedless of
consequences, would risk the disruption of the hope for a new peace between
worker and employer by returning to the tactics of the labor spy.
an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who
talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American
system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the
wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to
close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not
win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting
their battles for them.
message in a pay envelope, even if it is the truth, is a command to vote
according to the will of the employer. But this propaganda is worse- it is
tell the worker his wage will be reduced by a contribution to some vague
form of old-age insurance. They carefully conceal from him the fact that
for every dollar of premium he pays for that insurance, the employer pays
another dollar. That omission is deceit.
carefully conceal from him the fact that under the federal law, he receives
another insurance policy to help him if he loses his job, and that the
premium of that policy is paid 100 percent by the employer and not one cent
by the worker. They do not tell him that the insurance policy that is
bought for him is far more favorable to him than any policy that any
private insurance company could afford to issue. That omission is deceit.
imply to him that he pays all the cost of both forms of insurance. They
carefully conceal from him the fact that for every dollar put up by him his
employer puts up three dollars three for one. And that omission is deceit.
are guilty of more than deceit. When they imply that the reserves thus
created against both these policies will be stolen by some future Congress,
diverted to some wholly foreign purpose, they attack the integrity and
honor of American Government itself. Those who suggest that, are already
aliens to the spirit of American democracy. Let them emigrate and try their
lot under some foreign flag in which they have more confidence.
fraudulent nature of this attempt is well shown by the record of votes on
the passage of the Social Security Act. In addition to an overwhelming
majority of Democrats in both Houses, seventy-seven Republican
Representatives voted for it and only eighteen against it and fifteen
Republican Senators voted for it and only five against it. Where does this
last-minute drive of the Republican leadership leave these Republican
Representatives and Senators who helped enact this law?
sure the vast majority of law-abiding businessmen who are not parties to
this propaganda fully appreciate the extent of the threat to honest
business contained in this coercion.
expressed indignation at this form of campaigning and I am confident that
the overwhelming majority of employers, workers and the general public
share that indignation and will show it at the polls on Tuesday next.
from this phase of it, I prefer to remember this campaign not as bitter but
only as hard-fought. There should be no bitterness or hate where the sole
thought is the welfare of the United States of America. No man can occupy
the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the
because I have sought to think in terms of the whole Nation that I am
confident that today, just as four years ago, the people want more than
vision for the future contains more than promises.
our answer to those who, silent about their own plans, ask us to state our
course we will continue to seek to improve working conditions for the
workers of America--to reduce hours over-long, to increase wages that spell
starvation, to end the labor of children, to wipe out sweatshops. Of course
we will continue every effort to end monopoly in business, to support
collective bargaining, to stop unfair competition, to abolish dishonorable
trade practices. For all these we have only just begun to fight.
course we will continue to work for cheaper electricity in the homes and on
the farms of America, for better and cheaper transportation, for low
interest rates, for sounder home financing, for better banking, for the
regulation of security issues, for reciprocal trade among nations, for the
wiping out of slums. For all these we have only just begun to fight.
course we will continue our efforts in behalf of the farmers of America.
With their continued cooperation we will do all in our power to end the
piling up of huge surpluses which spelled ruinous prices for their crops.
We will persist in successful action for better land use, for
reforestation, for the conservation of water all the way from its source to
the sea, for drought and flood control, for better marketing facilities for
farm commodities, for a definite reduction of farm tenancy, for
encouragement of farmer cooperatives, for crop insurance and a stable food
supply. For all these we have only just begun to fight.
course we will provide useful work for the needy unemployed; we prefer
useful work to the pauperism of a dole.
now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow
citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely
jobless--that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is
to end relief--to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the
stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some
fairy godmother should happen on the scene.
You and I
will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow
Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the
Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side.
what of our objectives?
course we will continue our efforts for young men and women so that they
may obtain an education and an opportunity to put it to use. Of course we
will continue our help for the crippled, for the blind, for the mothers,
our insurance for the unemployed, our security for the aged. Of course we
will continue to protect the consumer against unnecessary price spreads,
against the costs that are added by monopoly and speculation. We will
continue our successful efforts to increase his purchasing power and to
keep it constant.
these things, too, and for a multitude of others like them, we have only
just begun to fight.
this--all these objectives--spell peace at home. All our actions, all our
ideals, spell also peace with other nations.
there is war and rumor of war. We want none of it. But while we guard our
shores against threats of war, we will continue to remove the causes of
unrest and antagonism at home which might make our people easier victims to
those for whom foreign war is profitable. You know well that those who
stand to profit by war are not on our side in this campaign.
"Peace on earth, good will toward men"--democracy must
cling to that message. For it is my deep conviction that democracy cannot
live without that true religion which gives a nation a sense of justice and
of moral purpose. Above our political forums, above our market places stand
the altars of our faith-altars on which burn the fires of devotion that
maintain all that is best in us and all that is best in our Nation.
need of that devotion today. It is that which makes it possible for
government to persuade those who are mentally prepared to fight each other
to go on instead, to work for and to sacrifice for each other. That is why
we need to say with the Prophet: "What doth the Lord require of thee
-- but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God."
That is why the recovery we seek, the recovery we are winning, is more than
economic. In it are included justice and love and humility, not for
ourselves as individuals alone, but for our Nation.
the road to peace.
Our Document List