Campaign Speech - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936
During the 1936 campaign for the American Presidency, President Roosevelt answered the attacks on the New Deal with verve, as in the Chicago speech of October 14, an excerpt of which is reprinted below.
1. I seem to have been here before. Four years ago I dropped into this city
2. from the airways — an old friend come in a new way — to accept in this
3. hall the nomination for the presidency of the United States. I came to a
4. Chicago fighting with its back to the wall — factories closed, markets silent,
5. banks shaky, ships and trains empty. Today those factories sing the song
6. of industry; markets hum with bustling movement; banks are secure;
7. ships and trains are running full. Once again it is Chicago as Carl Sandburg
8. saw it- “The city of the big shoulders” - the city that smiles. And with
9. Chicago a whole nation that had not been cheerful for years is full of
10. cheer once more.
11. On this trip through the nation I have talked to farmers, I have talked to
12. miners, I have talked to industrial workers; and in all that I have seen and
13. heard, one fact has been clear as crystal — that they are part and parcel
14. of a rounded whole, and that none of them can succeed in his chosen
15. occupation if those in the other occupations fail in their prosperity. I have
16. driven home that point.
17. Tonight, in this center of business, I give the same message to the
18. businessmen of America — to those who make and sell the processed
19. goods the nation uses and to the men and women who work for them.
20. To them I say: Do you have a deposit in the bank? It is safer today than it
21. has ever been in our history. It is guaranteed. Last October 1 marked the
22. end of the first full year in fifty-five years without a single failure of a
23. national bank in the United States. Is that not on the credit side of the
24. government's account with you?
25. Are you an investor? Your stocks and bonds are up to five- and six-year high levels.
26. Are you a merchant? Your markets have the precious lifeblood of
27. purchasing power. Your customers on the farms have better incomes
28. and smaller debts. Your customers in the cities have more jobs, surer jobs,
29. better jobs. Did not your government have something to do with that?
30. Are you in industry? Industrial earnings, industrial profits are the highest
31. in four, six, or even seven years! Bankruptcies are at a new low. Your
32. government takes some credit for that.
33. Are you in railroads? Freight loadings are steadily going up. Passenger
34. receipts are steadily going up — have in some cases doubled — because
35. your government made the railroads cut rates and make money.
36. Are you a middleman in the great stream of farm products? The meat and
37. grain that move through your yards and elevators have a steadier supply,
38. a steadier demand, and steadier prices than you have known for years.
39. And your government is trying to keep it that way.
40. Some people say that all this recovery has just happened. But in a
41. complicated modern world recoveries from depressions do not just happen.
42. The years from 1929 to 1933, when we waited for recovery just to happen,
43. prove the point.
44. But in 1933 we did not wait. We acted. Behind the growing recovery of
45. today is a story of deliberate government acceptance of responsibility to
46. save business, to save the American system of private enterprise and
47. economic democracy — a record unequaled by any modern government
48. in history.
49. What had the previous administration in Washington done for four years?
50. Nothing. Why? For a very fundamental reason. That administration was
51. not industrially minded or agriculturally minded or business minded. It
52. was high-finance minded — manned and controlled by a handful of men
53. who in turn controlled, and by one financial device or another took their
54. toll, from the greater part of all other business and industry.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Campaign Speech Chicago, October 14, 1936." Great Speeches. Ed. John Grafton. Dover Thrift ed. New York: Dover Publications, 1999. 52-56. Print.
When Roosevelt refers to "freight loadings" in lines 33, what he means is