London, South Kensington
23 November 2009
ROOSEVELT, Franklin Delano (1882-1945). Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States. Delivered at the Capitol Washington, D.C. March 4, 1933. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1933. 8° (255 x 77mm). 9pp. Stapled as issued, in cloth portfolio. Provenance: Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr. (bookplate on pastedown of portfolio) -- 2 inscriptions in pencil on title, one scored ("check up with book" and "file: Stephen T. Early", Stephen Tyree Early (1889-1951) was the first designated presidential press secretary, whose title and duties were entirely devoted to news and the press).
Roosevelt assumed the presidency at a moment of great crisis for the nation. Millions were unemployed or underemployed. The depression had reached its depth. 'The governor of Michigan had ordered all the banks in his state closed in mid-February, and by the beginning of March almost every state in the nation had placed some restrictions on banking activity. The banking crisis provided the ominous backdrop both for Roosevelt's inauguration and for his first days in office. His inaugural address offered words of assurance, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," and stern warnings: "Rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence. . . . The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization." It was less a diagnosis of the national condition than a direct response to the banking crisis itself, and his first days in office were devoted largely to solving that crisis' (ANB online).
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