Franklin D. Roosevelt Says to Moneyed Interests (EG Bankers) in 1936: “I Welcome Their Hatred!”

In 1936 Franklin D. Roo­sevelt was seek­ing a sec­ond term as pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. Hav­ing assum­ing the office in the depths of the Great Depres­sion, Roo­sevelt had sta­bi­lized and reformed the bank­ing sys­tem, put mil­lions of unem­ployed peo­ple to work build­ing pub­lic infra­struc­ture, and cre­at­ed Social Secu­ri­ty to bring mil­lions of elder­ly cit­i­zens out of pover­ty.

The reforms, known col­lec­tive­ly as the New Deal, were pop­u­lar with the major­i­ty of cit­i­zens. But by the next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year the bankers and busi­ness­men were push­ing back hard. Although Roo­sevelt came from a priv­i­leged back­ground, he was despised by many in his social class. Unfazed, Roo­sevelt bold­ly pro­claimed in his famous cam­paign speech of Octo­ber 31, 1936: “I wel­come their hatred!”

With Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma prepar­ing to address the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion tomor­row night it might be an inter­est­ing time to lis­ten to a lit­tle of Roo­sevelt’s speech, which he deliv­ered at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York City three days before the elec­tion. In the audio clip above he talks about how things were in Amer­i­ca before he took office, and about the forces seek­ing to drag the coun­try back:

For 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! And, my friends, pow­er­ful influ­ences strive today to restore that kind of gov­ern­ment with its doc­trine that that gov­ern­ment is best which is most indif­fer­ent to mankind.

Roo­sevelt defeat­ed his oppo­nent Alf Lan­don, the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of Kansas, by a his­toric land­slide, tak­ing more than 60 per­cent of the pop­u­lar vote and all but eight of the 531 elec­toral votes. To read the full text of Roo­sevelt’s speech, click here.

Relat­ed con­tent:

‘The Right of the Peo­ple to Rule’: Hear Theodore Roo­sevelt Speak

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Comments (3)
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  • Hanoch says:

    I am not sure what any of this has to do with the upcom­ing elec­tion. More­over, there are a num­ber of schol­ars who have made the case that Roo­sevelt’s New Deal poli­cies actu­al­ly pro­longed the Great Depres­sion.

    One thing, how­ev­er, is not debate­able: the cur­rent incum­bent, with his pref­er­ence for Big Gov­ern­ment, has presided over one of the most tepid eco­nom­ic recov­er­ies in mod­ern his­to­ry. For many vot­ers, that will be the most salient fact loom­ing in Novem­ber.

  • Nicholas Kronos says:

    “Orga­nized mob” seems like an oxy­moron to me, Mr. Roo­sevelt.

    And don’t kid your­self that regard­less of the mes­sage they sell, what we have in pow­er now is orga­nized mon­ey.

  • Mike Springer says:

    Why don’t you tell that to those oxy­morons in the Mafia, Nicholas? (Just be care­ful how you say it.)

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