Table of Contents Introductions Abraham Lincoln Franklin D. Roosevelt Barack Obama
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Their Top Quotes Abraham Lincoln Franklin D. Roosevelt Barack Obama Lincoln QuoteBank Slavery Religion Democracy & Government War & Peace Wisdom & Philosophy Inspirational Constitution & Law Social Issues Personal Roosevelt QuoteBank Economy War Politics & Government Wisdom Inspirational Democracy Personal
Obama QuoteBank Leadership Politics Economy Healthcare Foreign Affairs Patriotism Inspirational Faith Race and Culture Social Issues Obama on his competitors Funny quotes Personal
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Lincoln’s Historic speeches House divided speech Copper Union address Lincoln’s first Inaugural address The Gettysburg address Lincoln’s second Inaugural address Roosevelt’s Historic speeches Commonwealth Club First Inaugural Speech Second Inaugural Speech The Arsenal of Democracy The Four Freedom Speech Infamy Speech The D-Day Prayer Speech
Obama’s Historic speeches Speech against Iraq War Democratic convention Speech Announcement that he is running for President Democratic Nomination Victory Speech Speech at Chicago after becoming President elect Presidential Inauguration speech
Letters written by Lincoln A word to teachers To Horace Greeley To Mrs. Lydia Bixby To Joshua Speed
157 158 159 159
Roosevelt as Author Looking Forward Barack Obama as Author Dreams of My Father The Audacity of Hope
These were turbulent times in American history. Times that would challenge even the most talented of leaders. But for every such age of near national apocalypse a leader presented himself that inspired hope and lead to triumph over adversity.
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Abraham Lincoln The 16th President of the United States
Abraham Lincoln - His Life and Times Abraham Lincoln is considered by most historians as the greatest President of the United States. This ugly, plain spoken man from Illinois has done more to save the nation by steering it ably through the worst crisis it faced. He was asked to do much and he proved to be the man of the moment. He took on a nation almost torn apart by a gruesome civil war and guided
it to an era of hope and a new dawn. To millions of slaves he appeared as a savior by granting them freedom. His meteoric rise from rags to power is an inspiring tale which aptly proves that everything is possible if there is a strong will, determination and ability. Most Presidents of the US including Barack Obama regard him as a source of inspiration and guidance. Poverty On February 12 1809, a male child was born to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks in a
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single room log cabin at Sinking Spring Farm, in southeast Hardin County, Kentucky. The child was Abraham Lincoln who would
â€œBetter to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.â€? Abraham Lincoln
later become the first President born outside the original thirteen colonies. His father was an illiterate farmer. He bore the
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name of his deceased grandfather. Abraham came face to face with tragedy early in his life when he lost his mother. Nancy, then 34 fell a victim to milk sickness. His father soon remarried. Sarah Bush Johnston with whom Abraham was to develop strong bonds of affection became his step mother. As Abraham grew up he grew distant from his father. Young Abraham experienced his first major change when the family moved to Macon County Illinois and settled on public land owing to economic difficulties. In the new land they faced a bitterly hard winter. Abraham received very little formal education. He attended school for a mere 18 months. However he decided to educate himself by pouring over books. Abraham was no bookworm. He was skilful with his axe and delighted in wrestling in which sport he displayed considerable talent. He avoided popular sports like hunting and fishing as he detested killing animals. After another year the family shifted its residence to Coles County in the same state. Abraham Lincoln then a 22 year old tall (6feet 4 inches) strapping youth decided to leave home and build his own life. He canoed down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. There he got his first lucrative job when he w a s h i r e d by N e w S a l e m businessman Denton Offutt. His job was to carry goods from New
Salem to New Orleans via boat. It was in New Orleans that Lincoln witnessed a slave auction and it remained imprinted in his memory. He tried his hand at a variety of professions like storekeeper, rail s p l i t t e r, p o s t m a s t e r a n d s u r v e y o r b e f o r e fi n a l l y
b e c o m i n g a l a w ye r a n d venturing into politics. Family Life Abraham fell in love with and later married May Todd on November 4 1842. She was the daughter of a slave owning family in Kentucky and was educated. The couple was blessed with four sons though only one Robert Todd Lincoln could survive to reach adulthood. The lives of the other three sons were cut short and they passed away in their childhood. Despite these tragedies that cast a dark cloud on them, their married life was a h a p py o n e a n d M a r y supported her husband’s ambitions. When Lincoln became a successful lawyer he bought a house in the corner of Eighth and Jackson. The first steps Lincoln took his first tentative steps towards the world of politics at the age of 23 when he made a bid to enter the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig party. The attempt failed. Undeterred Lincoln tried again. In 1834 success greeted him and he was elected to the state legislature. In the same period he came across the book “Commentaries on the Laws of England”, which marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life. Lincoln began to study law in earnest. In 1837 he gained admission to the bar and set up a practice with John T Stuart. He soon gained a reputation of being a formidable lawyer. In politics too he began to climb up the ladder of success He was elected for four consecutive terms to the
Illinois House of Representatives. In the year 1837 he voiced his first protest against slavery in the Illinois House stating that the institution was "founded on both injustice and bad policy."
Road to success The year 1846 was an important period in Lincoln’s life. In that year he was elected to the House of Representatives. Lincoln was a great fan of his party leader Henry Clay. In those early years Lincoln did not make any substantial impact on the congress. However people got a taste of Lincoln’s awesome powers of oratory when he opposed the war with Mexico "military glory — that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood." At the end of his term Lincoln was offered the governorship of remote Oregon Territory which he felt would put an end to his nascent political career. He returned to Springfield and devoted all his energies in building up a career at the bar. He met with considerable success as a lawyer. During this period he also gave one of his most important speeches. Speaking as a private citizen to a crowd in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, he fervently spoke against the institution of slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which expressly repealed the limits on slavery's extent as determined by the Missouri Compromise (1820), led to Lincoln reentering public life. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, then one of the most powerful members of the Senate advocated popular sovereignty to deal with slavery. He felt that as America was a democracy, the people should decide whether they wanted slavery in their territory. 6
Lincoln expressed his opposition to the bill in strong words in his famous "Peoria Speech” “[The Act has a] declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites” Extremely enter prising and blessed with zeal and enthusiasm Lincoln was one of the founders of a new Republican Party. The fledging party succeeded in capturing the Illinois seat in the Congress. At the Republican convention in 1856, Lincoln was placed second in the contest to become the party's candidate for Vice-President. In 1858 while accepting his nomination to the senate on behalf of the Re p u b l i c a n Pa r t y, L i n c o l n rendered his famous House Divided speech which would be
regarded as one of the best speeches ever made by an American leader. Owing to his superb rhetoric and skilful use of words Lincoln was fast becoming a force to reckon with. Lincoln proved his mettle in the Lincoln – Douglas debates in 1858 on the issue of slavery. Such was his growing reputation that New York political leaders invited him to give a speech at Copper Union. The audience was shocked to see the badly dressed rather ugly man. However the moment he opened his mouth he captured their interest and they were carried away by the magnetic effect of his speech. Lincoln had succeeded in establishing himself as the Republican Party’s best speaker.
Abraham Lincoln President In the 1860 elections Abraham Lincoln was nominated by the Republican Party for the post of President. Though Lincoln did not campaign in the streets, he succeeded in winning majority of the votes. This was due to tremendous work done by the Republican Party workers and the power of the media in the north. He became the first Republican Party President and the 16 th President of America in a long but fascinating journey of a poor farm boy to the highest office in the land. Lincoln got the major chunk of votes from the north. The southern states viewed Lincoln’s growing popularity with alarm. Lincoln’s happiness was short lived as dark clouds threatened to overcome the nation. The south was unhappy as they felt that their power in national
politics had nose dived. The southern states decided to leave the Union. The first to secede was South Carolina which announced its break from the union on December 20, 1860. Six other cotton growing states followed suit. These seven southern states announced the formation of a new nation i.e Confederate States of America. Lincoln then the President elect refused to recognize it. Efforts to reach a compromise ended in failure. At about this time the first assassination attempt was made on Lincoln. Lincoln a s s u m e d t h e o f fi c e o f President on March 4 1861 amidst unprecedented security. In his first powerful inaugural address Lincoln made a moving appeal to all Americans to stay united” I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual.” However Lincoln failed to carry the south with him. Lincoln took all possible measures to avoid war and tried his best to find a peaceful solution to the problem. He decided not to take any action against the rebel southern states unless the Union was attacked.
War Despite his best efforts what Lincoln feared most came to pass and war finally broke out. In April 1861 the Union troops stationed at Fort Sumter were fired upon, igniting the civil war, the flames of which quickly spread through the nation threatening its very existence. In the face of aggression Lincoln ordered 7
that every state should contribute 75,000 troops to preserve the Union. Virginia which did not want to wage war with another state seceded followed by North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Lincoln however stopped slave owning states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware from breaking away by negotiating with their state leaders and promising not to interfere with slavery flourishing in those states. The course of the war was far from smooth and Lincoln did not have to deal with only the war but had to face enormous pressure on all fronts including defeat in battles, squabbles among the cabinet, reluctant Generals and assassination threats. Lincoln rose to the occasion. Rebel leaders in all border areas were arrested. In another milestone in July 1862, the Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, which freed the slaves of anyone convicted of actively supporting the rebellion. This was one of the first steps taken by Lincoln to give slaves their freedom. He also beg an discussion of a draft of Emancipation Proclamation with the members of his cabinet. The Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1st 1863. It set slaves free in those areas which were not under the control of the Union. As the Union army advanced deeper into the south, more and more slaves were set free. Speaking about the Proclamation Lincoln said “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right,
than I do in signing this p a p e r. " T h e t h i r t e e n t h amendment to the constitution which aimed at permanently abolishing slavery throughout the nation was passed. Slavery met its death blow with the Union victory. Meanwhile war raged and took a heavy toll on human lives. The battle of Gettysburg which resulted in a Union victory witnessed slaughter on a large scale. Union victory at
Vicksburg and Chattanooga followed though the cost was heavy. Complete victory still eluded them as the spring campaigns failed to make any headway. Meanwhile election was around the corner and Abraham Lincoln was competing for a second term. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta brought cheer in the Union camp and put an end to g loomy predictions. T he election resulted in a massive victory for Lincoln. The war continued. Lincoln took a keen interest in planning military strategies. In April 1865 Richmond capitulated bringing victory within sight. The long drawn civil war which took such a heavy toll in terms of men and property at last drew to a close when on April 9 1865; Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The task of rebuilding
Lincoln and his associates was how to reintegrate the s o u t h e r n s t at e s. L i n c o l n announced an Amnesty Proclamation on December 8 1863, offering pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and who were ready to sign an oath of allegiance. When Lincoln visited Richmond he was given a hero’s welcome by the slaves, "I know I am free for I have seen the face of Father Abraham and have felt him." Despite the war, progress was made in the domestic front during Lincoln’s tenure as President. The Homestead Act of 1862 made millions of acres of government held land in the west available to the public at a low cost. The Morrill LandGrant Colleges Act also signed in 1862, provided government grants for agricultural universities in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 gave federal support for the proposed construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad, which was later completed in 1869. The United States Note, the first paper currency in the country was floated by the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The National Banking Act led to the creation of banks throughout the country.
The work of rebuilding the bleeding nation began in earnest in the course of the war itself. As more and more territories were captured by the Union army the question that was uppermost in the minds of 8
Assassination Unfortunately for his country Lincoln did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his victory. An assassin’s bullet cut short his life. The man who shot dead Lincoln was an actor and a confederate spy who hailed from Maryland named John Wilkes Booth. Initially Booth’s plan was to kidnap Lincoln and hold him as a hostage to free the confederate prisoners of war. However when he heard a speech from Lincoln in support of giving blacks right to vote he decided to kill him. Booth made extensive preparations and was awaiting the right opportunity to strike. His opportunity came when Lincoln and his wife were attending a concert at the Fords Theater. Lincoln’s main bodyguard was absent. On 14th April 1865 as Lincoln sat in his box to watch the play Our American Cousin shots rang out.
Booth hid in the balcony and during a humorous moment when people were doubling up with laughter shot the President at point blank range on the head. Booth then climbed on the stage and shouted in Latin” Sic semper tyrannis,” which meant “Thus always to tyrants”, and then made good his escape. He was ultimately caught and shot after a 12 day long man hunt. Mortally wounded Lincoln was rushed to Petersen House where he remained in coma for 9 hours before capitulating. A team of doctors attended him but in vain. Lincoln became the first President of US to be assassinated. The remains of Lincoln were carried in a funeral train to Illinois his home state. The train passed through several states before reaching Illinois to enable people to pay their last respects. Lincoln was the first
US President to lie in state. Lincoln lies in a stately tomb which is 177 feet tall. Though Lincoln died many years back his legacy lives on. He is regarded by many as a martyr. Polls reveal that he usually tops the list of the greatest Presidents of US. Even today he is regarded as a symbol of honesty, integrity, freedom and a crusader for minorities. His name is liberally used by many organizations like Lincoln National Corporation. A ballistic missile and submarine bears his name. A city in Illinois has been named after him. Fords Theater and Petersen House, where Lincoln breathed his last are museums. His birthplace and family home are national historic memorials. Lincoln’s birthday used to be a national holiday but is now celebrated as President’s day. This February the nation will be celebrating the 200th birthday of this unusual man to whom America owes a debt of gratitude.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt The 32nd President of the United States
Roosevelt Makes History and Inspires Hope He took his Presidential oath exuding charm and a quiet confidence under the s h a d ow o f t h e G r e a t Depression which had paralyzed the nation. No President since Lincoln had taken the oath in a more dismal scenario. Americans looked at him w i t h expectation and hope and he did not disappoint. He arrived as the man of the hour, lifting the nation’s spirit and reviving its shaken
confidence giving back its self pride. His New Deal released a flurry of measures for the battered economy and helped put it back on its feet once more. Such was his popularity that Roosevelt is the only President in the history of US to be elected for more than two ter ms. Under his sterling leadership America successfully faced the Second World War and emerged as a super power. President Barack Obama seems to have taken a page out of Franklin Roosevelt’s book. Obama too is facing an economic crisis though of a lesser magnitude. Both presidents took prompt action. Obama’s stimulus bill to bail out the economy is
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somewhat similar to Roosevelt’s New Deal. Time will tell whether the stimulus bill is as successful in s a l v a g i n g t h e e c o n o my a s Roosevelt’s New Deal.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for th e future.” Franklin D. Rooseve lt
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Formative years Roosevelt hailed from a wealthy and distinguished family. The Roosevelts could boast of being one of the oldest families of the New York state. Franklin came into the world on January 30, 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. He was the only child of James and Sarah Roosevelt. He was brought up in the lap of luxury. The person who influenced young Franklin most in those early years of his childhood was his mother. Roosevelt was admitted to Groton School. His headmaster Endicott Peabody, was a major influence in his life. It was Endicott who taught young Roosevelt to help people who were less fortunate and inspired him to enter public life. Besides academics young Roosevelt was taught popular pursuits like riding, shooting, rowing, and playing polo and lawn tennis. He was also a frequent visitor to Europe. After school Roosevelt entered Harvard where he lived a life of luxury. He was a member of the Alpha fraternity, and the president of T he Harvard C r i m s o n d a i l y n e w s p a p e r. Another momentous happening which influenced him deeply took
place while Franklin was in Harvard. Franklin’s fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became President of America. Franklin hero worshiped him and looked up to Theodore as a role model. Personal life Franklin met Eleanor, who was to become his wife at a White House reception in 1902. Eleanor was Theodore’s niece. Franklin was char med. Franklin entered Columbia Law School in 1905. He however was not destined to graduate from that institution as he passed the New York State Bar exam. 1908 found him working in the renowned Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law. Meanwhile Franklin was seeing more of Eleanor whom he married on March 17, 1905. His mother was opposed to the match. The marriage was not an easy one as both were very dif fere n t f ro m e a ch o t h e r. Outgoing and charming Franklin enjoyed an active social life while shy and retiring Eleanor was a social recluse. The couple had six children. Franklin was not a faithful husband. He frequently strayed and reportedly had an affair with Eleanor’s social secretary Lucy Mercer. At one point of time he was even thinking of obtaining a divorce. However mediators and his mother intervened. Eleanor was deeply hurt and set up a separate establishment in Hyde Park at Valkill. Eleanor however stood by Franklin when he was paralyzed and gave full support to his political ambitions. Budding Political career Roosevelt decided to take the plunge into politics when he ran
for the New York State Senate in 1910. His name spelled magic and he won an overwhelming victory. On January 1, 1911, Roosevelt staged his entry into the state house as a senator. He soon gained popularity among the d e m o c r a t s . Ro o s e v e l t w a s reelected for a second term. In 1913, he added another feather to his cap when he was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt now wanted to make his mark in the national scene. His ambition received a setback when he was defeated in the democratic primary election for the United States Senate. After the defeat, Roosevelt threw his heart and soul into the navy. He founded the United States Navy Reserves. Roosevelt served in the Navy during World War I. The year 1920 marked another turning point in Roosevelt’s career He was chosen by the Democratic National Convention as thecandidatefor Vice President. Though he once again tasted defeat he made a favorable impression in the minds of the public and many predicted that he would return to public life
soon. He was perceived as a rising star. Misfortune Unfortunately fortune dealt a severe blow to Roosevelt in the form of a serious illness. In August 1921, while he was enjoying a vacation with his family at Campobello Island, N e w B r u n s w i c k , Ro o s eve l t became a victim of a mysterious illness, similar to polio. The illness left him paralyzed from waist down. He tried a wide range of therapies but in vain. Roosevelt however did not give up hope. Displaying exemplary courage in 11
the face of adversity, he taught h i m s e l f t o w a l k fo r s h o r t distances, fitting his hips and legs with iron braces. Though he used a wheelchair, he was never seen on it in public.
Power Roosevelt once again threw all his energies into public life. He campaigned for Alfred E. Smith who later became Governor of New York in 1922. In 1929 Smith resigned his seat as he was running for Presidency. He asked Roosevelt to run for the post of governor. Roosevelt won by a narrow margin to become the Governor of New York. As governor Roosevelt initiated many new social programs. He was reelected for a second term. In the 1932 elections Roosevelt was the democratic candidate for the 1932 Presidential election which he got by hectic lobbying with people who mattered. The Great Depression had hit America hard as Wall Street crashed in 1929. Roosevelt said: "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people" a slogan which rapidly became popular. Roosevelt advocated “immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures," "abolishing useless c o m m i s s i o n s a n d o f fi c e s , c o n s o l i d at i n g bu re a u s a n d e l i m i n a t i n g e x t r av a g a n c e s reductions in bureaucracy," and for a "sound currency to be maintained at all hazards." The election was a triumph for Roosevelt who gathered 57 per cent of the votes. He had become the 32nd President of America but faced mammoth problems. The Great Depression had gripped the nation and was slowly but surely sucking out its breath. Bank accounts were frozen.
Unemployment was the order of the day. Industrial production had fallen by half. Almost two million people were literally on the streets as they had no homes. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia had closed their banks .
The New Deal and the first 100 days Roosevelt knew he had to act quickly in order to lift the country out of the morass into which it had fallen. In his first 100 days of office he focused on his economic agenda which aimed at “Relief, recover y and refo r m ” . H e proposed a New Deal (a series of economic measures) which would infuse fresh blood into the ailing e c o n o my. T h e s e e c o n o m i c proposals were designed to create jobs which would bring immediate relief, reform existing business and financial practices and finally bring about the recovery of the sick economy. He decided to promote his economic reforms through a series of radio talks known as fire side chats. The first step in his New Deal was to bring prompt relief. The Congress passed a record number of bills from March 9 to June 16 1933. Roosevelt’s top priority was to give immediate relief. Relief measures included the continuation of Hoover's major relief program for the unemployed under the new name, Fe d e r a l E m e r g e n c y Re l i e f Administration. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which hired 250,000 unemployed young men to work on rural local projects, was one of Roosevelt’s favorite measures. Armed with new powers the Federal Trade Commission provided mortgage relief to millions of farmers and
homeowners. He laid the foundation to the Agricultural Adjustment Act which brought relief to farmers. The Re c o n s t r u c t i o n F i n a n c i a l Cooperation which aimed at financing railroads and industries was expanded. National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) targeted economic reforms. This act forced industries to come up with codes that established the rules of operation for all firms within specific industries, such as minimum prices, agreements not to compete, and production restrictions. However the NIRA proved to be controversial as it was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. In 1933, major new banking regulations were passed. Roosevelt is credited for bringing in fresh reforms in the banking sector. In 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission was created to regulate Wall Street. In order to boost the economy the government went on a spending spree and money was pumped in. Roosevelt coordinated with Republican Senator George Norris to create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, as well as modernized agriculture and living conditions in the impoverished Tennessee Valley. He repealed prohibition which gave new tax revenues to the country. He made certain unpopular moves which raised a storm of protest. Executive Order 6102 declared that all gold privately owned by individuals was government property. He slashed military expenditure as well as introduced 40 per cent cuts to veteran spending. He removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls 12
which hit them hard. Roosevelt was forced to give it up as opposition strengthened and angry veterans protested. After 1934 America witnessed another surge of New Deal provisions. These measures included the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million people. The Social Security Act took care of the elderly, the poor and the sick. The National Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to organize unions which enabled them to make collective bargains and organize strikes. These measures helped to revive the economy. Unemployment fell. The limping economy began to register substantial growth thanks to the New Deal. The days of the great depression became a thing of the past and American economy flourished. However the problem of unemployment could not be overcome completely before World War II.
War Clouds While Roosevelt was battling against the grave economic crisis that had gripped the country, another crisis was looming in the horizon. War clouds began to gather in Europe as Hitler came to power. In 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia—an act of blatant aggression. Most people felt that the world would not be able to avoid a Second World War. The Congress passed the Neutrality Act. This act banned the shipment of being actively involved in the war. Roosevelt personally felt that intervention may be necessary. He had developed a deep friendship with Winston Churchill. As nation after nation collapsed against the
German juggernaut, US realized the vulnerability of Britain and France and the need to give military aid. In 1940, 50 destroyers were given to Britain. This was the beginning of the massive military aid that US would provide to the Allies. Roosevelt initiated the Lend Lease program to help the allies The Congress approved of giving $ 50 billion of military supplies. This enormous sum was non repayable.
The Third Term Meanwhile the next election was around the corner. Roosevelt had once again filed his nomination for the post of president. He drew criticism as there was an unwritten rule that no president had ruled for more than two terms. When the Democratic Convention was held at Chicago, the delegates screamed in support of Roosevelt’s candidature and cries of “We want Roosevelt” rent the air. He won 947 votes as against a meager 147 by the opposition. He emerged victorious in the next election with 50 per cent of votes in his favor. He became the only president of the US who was elected for a third term. World War II was in full swing. Roosevelt was already providing military aid to the Allies by the Lend Lease program. In 1939 America began a secret policy of re armament. Roosevelt declared that America was the “arsenal of democracy” and could not afford to sit quietly. He was criticized for being a war monger. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union, US extended the Lend Lease aid to the Soviet Union too. It decided to give all possible military and financial aid to the allies short of actual participation
in the war. On August 14, 1941 Roosevelt held the first of a series of wartime conferences with Winston Churchill; then prime minister of Britain to develop the Atlantic Charter. Meanwhile rearmament program had started in earnest in the US. Roosevelt knew that sooner or later the US would be sucked into the war
Pearl Harbor Japan which had joined Italy and Germany began to chart out an aggressive course. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese made their biggest mistake. They attacked the US Pacific Fleet stationed at Pe a r l H a r b o r. A r o u n d 1 6 warships were destroyed and 2,400 people killed. America had entered World War II. Those who had previously been anti- war n o w s u p p o r t e d Ro o s e v e l t . Roosevelt knew that even though Japan was the culprit, he had to ensure the defeat of Germany first. With the US entry into the war with its massive resources, the war tilted in favor of the Allies. The Allies which included France, Britain, Soviet Union and China held a series of War Conferences to decide strategy. All possible aid was provided to the Soviet Union to push back Germany from their land. Meanwhile American and British soldiers were to launch an offensive to free Western Europe including France. Their plan worked and Germany found it difficult to fight the war on two fronts. The US also increased pressure by bombing Germany on a massive scale. Roosevelt chose Dwight D. Eisenhower, to lead the cross channel invasion. His faith was justified as France was liberated and Italy succumbed. The battle with Japan continued. The morale of American troops received a boost when it emerged 13
victorious in the Battle of Midway in 1942.
Death During the war Roosevelt’s popularity soared and reached dizzying heights. He was elected for a fourth term in 1944. Unfortunately Roosevelt did not live to see the fruits of victory. He passed away on April 12, 1945, when victory was within sight and the Allies had invaded Germany and the surrender of Berlin was just a matter of time. Roosevelt’s health had declined since 1940. He was a victim of multiple ailments like chronic high blood pressure, emphysema, atherosclerosis, angina pectoris
and end-stage heart disease. While his life was drawing to an end, Roosevelt had participated in the Yalta conference in February. In March he addressed the Congress. It was obvious to everyone that his end was near. The germs of the Cold War was sown in Roosevelt’s era when it became apparent that the US and Soviet Union had g rave differences. In March Roosevelt accused Stalin of breaking the commitments he made during the Yalta Conference. On April 12 he retired to bed complaining of a “massive headache”. He collapsed under a severe attack of massive cerebral hemorrhage and later passed away. On his death The N e w Yo rk T i m e s e d i t o r i a l declared, "Men will thank God on
their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House," Roosevelt was buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estate, the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park.
Barack Obama The 44th President of the United States
A two year campaign ends in an overwhelming victory for President Barack Obama
Barack Obama Makes History and Inspires Hope The amazing life of Barack Obama paved the path for a man that will server as a bridge between people and cultures. A tr uly t r a n s f o r m a t i v e fi g u r e arrives on the world stage. On 20th January a tall lean man radiating confidence, fire and charm took the oath as the 44th President of the US at Capitol Hill transcending racial and cultural barriers and giving rise to hope in millions of people both in America and around the globe. He became the first African –
American to step into this exalted office, changing history. The name of this man is Barack Obama, who has risen from rather humble beginnings to occupy the greatest office in his land. Roots Ann Dunham gave birth on August 4 1961 to a male child at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Wo m e n & C h i l d r e n i n Honolulu Hawaii. Obama's father was Barack Obama, Sr., a Kenyan man. Barack’s Faterh though born a Muslim was a confirmed atheist. His mother hailed from Wichita Kansas. Her forefathers arrived in America
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from England. This ineresting couple met in 1960 while studying at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where Barack’s father
Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the fa ce of uncertainty. The audacit y of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the be drock of this nation. Barack Obam a was a foreign student. As their r e l a t i o n s h i p m a t u r e d t h ey married on February 2nd 1961. Obama recalls his early childhood “That my father looked nothing
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like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk — barely registered in my mind." Unfortunately this cross cultural marriage proved short lived and the couple went their separate ways in 1964. His father returned to his native land in Kenya. He was to meet his son only once for a month before his demise in 1984 in a car accident. Ann Dunham moved on with her life and married an Indonesian student named Lolo Soetoro. LO Formative years Little Barrack’s life was to change when Soetoro took his family back to Indonesia in 1967. Obama received his initial education at Jakarta. He studied in Besuiki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School, till the age of ten. Obama can still speak Indonesian at the colloquial level something which he has picked
up from his childhood. He returned to Honolulu to take up residence with his maternal grandparents Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham. He spend the rest of his school life in Punahou School until he graduated in 1979. While he was at high school he developed a taste for basketball. Barack’s teenage years were turbulent as
he experienced the pangs of growing up. He experimented with alcohol, cocaine and marij uan a . Ob a m a w a s to describe this period as “the greatest moral failure in my life”. During this period young Obama was also trying to come to grips with his multiracial heritage. Many of his schoolmates later said that young Barack would attend college parties and other events in order to mingle with other African American students. Recalling his youthful years in Honolulu Obama wrote “The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear." In his youth Obama was fondly addressed as Barry. Ann was to return to Hawaii for five years. In 1977 she decided to return to Indonesia where she worked as an anthropological field worker. She spend most of her life in Indonesia returning to Hawaii in 1995. Ann passed away in 1995 from ovarian cancer. Neither of his parents lived to see Obama step into history. America After graduating from high School Obama experienced another major change in his life when he came to mainland America. He studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then moved to New York where he was a student at Columbia University
there he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. In 1983 he was a graduate and had taken up a job with the Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group. For four years he lived in New York and then moved to Chicago which was to become his home. He was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization which proved to be a turning point in his life and influenced him greatly. DCP had eight parishes. It was while he was working with African American churches that he realized "the power of the A f r i c a n - A m e r i c a n rel i g io us tradition to spur social change." His religious beliefs also evolved. He was baptized in the Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988. Obama is a Protestant Catholic. He devoted three years of his life to this organization and had success. During his tenure its staff grew from one to thirteen and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000. He helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Garde. In 1988 he saw more of the world as he visited Europe. Obama also traveled to Kenya, his father’s home where he was introduced to many of his paternal relatives. Obama decided to continue his education. He gained admission to Harvard Law School in 1988. In college he was an active member. He earned a job at the prestigious Harvard Law Review, his first major brush with writing. Summer months were spend in Chicago where he took up a job as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 and 16
Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. Family Life In 1989 another major change took place in his personal life when he met his future wife Michele Robinson in Chicago. Michele can trace her ancestry to pre civil war African slaves. She too was working at the same law fir m. Initially Michele was reluctant to date him though they met at group social functions. However they began dating in late summer. The couple’s first date was to a movie entitled “Do The Right Thing”. Impressed with each other they decided to tie the knot in October 3 1992. In 1998 Obama became a proud father when Marie Ann came into this world. In 2001, he was blessed with another daughter Natasha. After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he was back in Chicago. Essentially a family man Obama likes to spend quality time with his daughters. He also says that his extended family often get together to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving. "Michelle will tell
you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations."
he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." He has six half brothers and sisters from his father’s side and one half sister from his mother’s side. Obama reached a major milestone in his career when he
Audacity of Hope”. A superb orator, Obama won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards for an abridged audio book versions of both of his books; for Dreams from My Father in February 2006 and for The Audacity of Hope in February 2008. Public Life
was elected as the first African American President of the H a r va rd L aw Rev i e w. H i s appointment captured the attention of the media and for the first time in his life Barack Obama came into the limelight. He received a publishing contract and advance for a book which were to bring Obama’s literary skills to the forefront. As he began writing the book took the shape of a personal memoir. Accompanied by his wife Obama took refuge in Bali in order to work in peace. The book “Dreams of My Father” was finally published in mid 1995. It was a bestseller which made Obama a wealthy man. From the proceeds of this book he was able to buy his present 1.6 million dollars house at Kenwood. He was to go on and write another book “The
Obama spend 12 years of his life working as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School teaching Constitutional Law. He ventured into public life when he joined D a v i s , M i n e r, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. In 1992 he took a further step into public life when he became a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies. He served from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund the Developing Communities Project, and also from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation. Obama was on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995 to 1999. He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center. These years gave him valuable 17
experience and encouraged him to make his final plunge into politics. Politics After some false starts his political career took off and he met with his first success when he was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996. As a senator he mustered support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He is credited with sponsoring a law which increased tax credits for low income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and p r o m o t e d increased subsidies for childcare. His work won him public support and appreciation and he was reelected in 1998 as well as in 2002. In 2000 Obama tasted defeat when he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives. The winner was Bobby Rush. However Obama remained undeterred. In the year 2003 Obama was appointed as the chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee. This was a feather to his cap as democrats won this position after being in the minority for decades. His achievements included sponsoring bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling. The move required the police to record the race of d r i ve r s t h ey d e t a i n e d a n d legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations. Having tasted success in political life Obama set his sights high. By mid
2002 he was seriously thinking of contesting for the US senate and making his mark on the national scene. In the month of January 2003 he made a formal announcement of his candidature. In formulating his campaign he took the aid of political strategist David Axelrod. Axelrod was instrumental in
Democratic Party’s brightest new star. Obama’s opponent was Alan Kayes. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%. This was the largest victory margin for a statewide election in Illinois history. Obama had finally arrived Senator
giving Obama’s fledging national career a big boost. In July 2004 in a memorable speech which he himself wrote Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts stated his desire to change the existing social and economic policies followed in the US. He also spoke out against the way the Bush government was handling the Iraq war and expressed the c o u n t r y ’ s obligation to its soldiers. He urges America to find unity in diversity, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." This famous speech which was w a t c h e d b y m a n y fi r m l y e s t a bl i s h e d O b a m a a s t h e
O n Ja n u a r y 4 2005, Obama became the third popularly elected A f r i c a n American senator in US history to a s s u m e o f fi c e . Obama extended his support and voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. Obama also bears credit for initiating Lugar Obama and the Coburn–Obama Transparency Act. He extended his support to a legislation reducing conventional weapons. He gained another small victory when President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo R e l i e f , Security, and Democracy Promotion Act. This was t h e fi r s t f e d e r a l legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. An extremely active Senator, he was responsible along with Senator Feingold, in introducing a 18
corporate jet provision to the Honest Leadership and Open Gover nment Act. T his act became a law. Although Obama also introduced the Deceptive Practices and Vo t e r Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections and the Iraq War DeEscalation Act of 2007, they failed to become laws. A tireless worker Obama served in several committees including Committees f o r Fo r e i g n R e l a t i o n s , Environment and Public Works and Veterans' Affairs. He held the office of chairman in the Senate’s sub committee on European affairs. In his capacity as member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he undertook official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Even before he contested for the post of the President Obama had a favorable international image and had established cordial relationship with several international figures.
Illinois. The site was chosen with care as it evoked memories of Abraham Lincoln delivering his famous “House Divided” speech which was made at this very site. During his campaign he promised to bring about an end to the Iraq War, increase e n e r g y inde pendence and provide universal health c a re. O b a m a could correctly feel the pulse of the nation. Worn down by recession they wanted change. One of the reasons behind his stupendous success was his ability to move people with his oratory. His “Yes We Can’ speech was watched by ten million people. The speech set
President elect Setting his target high, Obama decided to aim for the highest position in the land. He announced his candidacy for the President of US on February 10, 2007. The venue chosen for making this important announcement was the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield
to music was to go on to win the Emmy Award. Obama’s campaign set new records in fund raising proving his popularity and nation wide appeal. On June 19 2007, he set another precedent when he became the first major party presidential candidate to
decline public financing. Though numerous candidates had contested the Democratic Party Presidential Primaries they fell out of the race. Obama and Hillary Clinton emerged as the two major contestants. On June 3 when votes from all states were counted Obama was declared the presumptive nominee. On June 7, Hillary withdrew and extended her support to Obama. Obama’s victory within the Democratic Party was complete. From then
onwards he had to race against the Republican nominee John McCain. On August 20 th Obama made his now famous speech at Denver which was watched by 38 million people all over the world where he announced his policy goals. Obama triumphed once again when he defeated John Macain by 58 per cent of the popular vote. He had also won 365 electoral votes a g a i n s t McCain’s 173. He wrote history when he became the first African American President elect. In his much acclaimed victory speech at Chicago’s Grant Park Obama announced “Change has come to America” The December issue of the famed Time magazine featured Obama as the person of the year.
Their Top Quotes Abraham Lincoln “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
“You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.”
“Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." Abraham Lincoln “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
"Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them”
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
"If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union this voyage nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage."
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with
unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving Grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth”
"Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow."
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in the courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”
“All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. “
“Military glory --the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood.”
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”
“Towering genius disdains a beaten path” “The fiery trials through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation”
Franklin D. Roosevelt “First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed it must be achieved.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “If you treat people right they will treat you right - ninety percent of the time.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt 22
“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I do not look upon the United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “It is the duty of the President to propose and it is the privilege of the Congress to dispose.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity - or it will move apart” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Barack Obama “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” -Barack Obama “Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.” -Barack Obama . “In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.” -Barack Obama “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” -Barack Obama “. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.” -Barack Obama
“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.” -Barack Obama “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible,” -Barack Obama
"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there," -Barack Obama “A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can”. -Barack Obama “America is a land of big dreamers and big hopes. It is this hope that has sustained us through revolution and civil war, depression and world war, a struggle for civil and social rights and the brink of nuclear crisis. And it is because our dreamers dreamed that we have emerged from each challenge more united, more prosperous, and more admired than before.” -Barack Obama “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama “In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.” -Barack Obama “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” -Barack Obama “A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.” -Barack Obama “But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment – in this election – there is something happening in America.” -Barack Obama “It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights. Yes we can. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. Yes we can.” -Barack Obama
“We will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.” -Barack Obama “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands” -Barack Obama “Because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another” -Barack Obama “We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must” -Barack Obama
Lincoln Quotebank Slavery Lincoln has been widely regarded as the man most responsible for bringing freedom and hope to millions of people who lived in bondage. He was hailed by most slaves as their savior. Lincoln opposed the institution of slavery much before he entered politics. He despised the fact that human beings were forced to live in shackles and denied basic rights. However once he was sucked into the whirlpool of politics he was forced to tone down his views. Though he felt that slavery was wrong he initially wanted to prevent its further expansion into other U S territories but not disturb it as it existed in the southern states. He did not favor giving blacks’ equal rights. When he became President, Lincoln’s foremost priority was to preserve the Union at all costs. As Civil War broke out with no hope of a cease fire, Lincoln granted slaves their much coveted freedom through the Emancipation Proclamation which held a special place in his heart. It was Lincoln who brought about the thirteenth amendment to the constitution which made slavery illegal.
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy” Abraham Lincoln “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” Abraham Lincoln “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Abraham Lincoln “Slavery is founded on the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it on his love of justice. These principles are in eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.” Abraham Lincoln “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.” Abraham Lincoln “I do not understand that because I do not want a Negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone.” Abraham Lincoln “I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If he has a place and work for me and I think He has I believe I am ready.” Abraham Lincoln
“This is a world of compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.” Abraham Lincoln “Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.”
“But, slavery is good for some people! As a good thing, slavery is strikingly peculiar, in this, that it is the only good thing which no man ever seeks the good of, for himself.”
“And then, the Negro being doomed, and damned, and forgotten, to everlasting bondage, is the white man quite certain that the tyrant demon will not turn upon him too?”
“We want, and must have, a national policy, as to slavery, which deals with it as being wrong” Abraham Lincoln
Religion Abraham Lincoln’s personal religion remains ambiguous. Though his parents were Baptists, he never joined any church and believed that a person’s religious belief was his private affair. We do not know what these religious beliefs were. Though some historians have declared him an atheist, this view does not hold water. Lincoln had in- depth knowledge of the Bible and often quoted from it. In most speeches he refers to the power of Almighty again and again. According to his wife Mary, personal tragedy (the death of his son Willie) and the devastating Civil War brought him closer to God and made Lincoln turn to Him for guidance to help him lead his country out of the nightmare that gripped it towards hope of better days. “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion”. Abraham Lincoln, “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” Abraham Lincoln “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.” Abraham Lincoln “In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it” Abraham Lincoln “Would God Show His Will For Me To Others and Not To Me?” Abraham Lincoln "That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular....I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.” Abraham Lincoln “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.” Abraham Lincoln
“To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.” Abraham Lincoln “God bless the Methodist Church -- bless all the churches -- and blessed be God, Who, in this our great trial, giveth us the churches.” Abraham Lincoln “The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He, from Whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated” Abraham Lincoln
Democracy & Government A firm believer in the constitution Lincoln had full faith in the ability of people to govern themselves. The perfect example of a self made man who had risen from humble beginnings to the highest position of the land, Lincoln knew that his success story could be possible only in a democracy. He has been revered as “the greatest among those associated with the cause of popular government” He fully realized the power of the people to give the nation a “new birth of freedom “. One of his most quoted lines are “The government by the people, for the people, of the people shall not perish from the earth.” “Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much”
“ No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.” Abraham Lincoln “I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” Abraham Lincoln “There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two, so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.” Abraham Lincoln “Public sentiment is everything, with it nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln “Honest statesmanship is the wise employment of individual meanness for the public good.” Abraham Lincoln “Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?” Abraham Lincoln “ He who molds the public sentiment... makes statues and decisions possible or impossible to make.” Abraham Lincoln
“ If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.” Abraham Lincoln “There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual; the other is temporary and changeable. A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.” Abraham Lincoln “ While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.”
“I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.”
“The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another mans right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar.” Abraham Lincoln “If the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault upon the court, or the judges. It is a duty, from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs, if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. “ Abraham Lincoln “The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.” Abraham Lincoln “A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.” Abraham Lincoln “ In a certain sense, and to a certain extent, he [the president] is the representative of the people. He is elected by them, as well as congress is. But can he, in the nature [of] things, know the wants of the people, as well as three hundred other men, coming from all the various localities of the nation? If so, where is the propriety of having a congress?”
â€œI do not deny the possibility that the people may err in an election; but if they do, the true [cure] is in the next election, and not in the treachery of the person elected.â€? Abraham Lincoln
War & Peace No President in the history of America had faced a more challenging task. When Lincoln assumed office he found himself in the midst of a civil war which set the country in flames bringing death and destruction in its wake. Millions of men were butchered, the country ravaged and property destroyed. Most critics did not expect the United States to survive. However thanks to the leadership and guidance of one man the country came out of its worst crisis bearing scars but heading towards a new era of freedom. Lincoln was never in favor of war. He did his best to work out a compromise to prevent the civil war but in vain. When war became inevitable, Lincoln preserved his country from being torn asunder. He inspired his soldiers to rise to greater heights. In victory he was generous granting amnesty freely. “Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
“I can make a General in five minutes but a good horse is hard to replace.”
“This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his countrys cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.” Abraham Lincoln “Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his countrys cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as he best can, the same cause honor to him, only less than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.” Abraham Lincoln . “Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.” Abraham Lincoln “He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred” Abraham Lincoln
“I certainly know that if the war fails, the administration fails, and that I will be blamed for it, whether I deserve it or not. And I ought to be blamed, if I could do better. You think I could do better; therefore you blame me already. I think I could not do better; therefore I blame you for blaming me.” Abraham Lincoln “We accepted this war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when that object is attained. Under God, I hope it never will until that time.” Abraham Lincoln “We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise.” Abraham Lincoln “Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this [war], as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.”
“We must believe that He permits it [this war] for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it.” Abraham Lincoln “Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.”
“What would you do in my position? Would you drop the war where it is? Or, would you prosecute it in future, with elderstalk squirts, charged with rose water?” Abraham Lincoln
"Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came." Abraham Lincoln
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it' Abraham Lincoln â€œBut in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.â€?
Wisdom & Philosophy One of the reasons why Abraham Lincoln is considered one of the greatest heroes of all times is not only because of his brilliant leadership but also because of his humanity and wisdom. His philosophy of life is grounded on sound common sense. Abraham did not receive any formal education, he was educated in the school of nature and from whatever books he could lay his hands on. His home spun homilies on various subjects are relevant even today. One of the most eloquent Presidents that America has ever produced, Lincoln’s astute observations on human nature also displays his wit and dry humor. His philosophy was shaped by his personal experience and the books that he read.
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”
“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”
“We know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience.”
"Bad promises are better broken than kept"; “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty.”
"Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves."
“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
“A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
“When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.”
“Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.”
“Avoid popularity if you would have peace.”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
“The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln “To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from want of sympathy and from positive enmity among strangers, as nations or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilization.” Abraham Lincoln “We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.”
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
“ What has once happened, will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall again combine in the same way.”
“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Abraham Lincoln “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” Abraham Lincoln “God gave man a mouth to receive bread, hands to feed it, and his hand has a right to carry bread to his mouth without controversy.” Abraham Lincoln “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
“ It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues”.
Inspirational One of the reasons Lincoln was successful in leading his nation successfully out of its worst crisis was his ability to motivate and inspire people to rise above themselves and help preserve the Union. His never say die spirit is reflected in his quotes. With his soaring oratory and moving words he helped uplift the morale of a nation, ravaged by civil war which had come to the brink of extinction. His sublime speeches succeeded in lifting a nation from the depths of despair and strife to usher in a new era of peace, freedom and hope. Such was his ability to motivate his fellow beings that most leaders including Barack Obama draw inspiration from his words even today. “Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views, and boldest action to bring it speedy relief.” Abraham Lincoln “The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful.” Abraham Lincoln “With the Union saved] its form of government is saved to the world; its beloved history, and cherished memories, are vindicated; and its happy future fully assured, and rendered inconceivably grand.” Abraham Lincoln “The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one, or even one hundred defeats.” Abraham Lincoln “Having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”
“ Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
“I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back.”
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”
“I am not concerned that you have fallen -- I am concerned that you arise.”
“ Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.”
"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." Abraham Lincoln “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” Abraham Lincoln “Onward and upward.”
Constitution & Law Abraham Lincoln had a deep reverence for the constitution and laws of the country which was laid down by the founding fathers. The principles of liberty, equality and freedom were close to his heart. Lincoln had to battle against various constitutional crises’ including secession and civil war. He emerged as the man of the moment, a champion of the nation and its constitution and helped shape the history of the United States of America. As a lawyer he understood and respected the laws of the country. "I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual." Abraham Lincoln “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others” Abraham Lincoln “Dont interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” Abraham Lincoln “ I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.”
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their Constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it” Abraham Lincoln "I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service -- the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them." Abraham Lincoln “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. “
Social Issues A master of words and endowed with shrewd common sense, Abraham Lincoln has voiced his views on a wide range of subjects including social issues. His views were often colored by the times he lived in. though he was against the institute of slavery, he did not advocate treating blacks and whites on an equal footing. "I will say then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people” Abraham Lincoln “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in. That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.”
“A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.”
“Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.”
“ Whether or not the world would be vastly benefited by a total banishment from it of all intoxicating drinks seems not now an open question. Three-fourths of mankind confess the affirmative with their tongues, and I believe all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts.” Abraham Lincoln “ Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift.” Abraham Lincoln “Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good in the world.” Abraham Lincoln “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes.” Abraham Lincoln
“Take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.” Abraham Lincoln “No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens” Abraham Lincoln “Mr. Clay's lack of a more perfect early education, however it may be regretted generally, teaches at least one profitable lesson; it teaches that in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably” Abraham Lincoln
Personal Abraham Lincoln’s life story is an awe inspiring journey from backwoods to greatness. Honest and open Abraham Lincoln has often aired his views on personal topics including his relationship with his wife. The place that Abraham Lincoln holds in history is not only due to his leadership qualities and sharp political acumen but also because of his personality. He was a humane and sympathetic man who deeply felt the suffering of others. Many regarded him as an embodiment of basic human values like honesty, gentleness, sincerity and compassion. Despite commanding extraordinary power he remained humble to the last putting his faith on God to steer his beloved nation out of its worst crisis. “My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl, and I...fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out.” Abraham Lincoln “I am not an accomplished lawyer.” Abraham Lincoln “I must, in candor, say I do not think myself fit for the Presidency.” Abraham Lincoln “I have no wealthy or popular relations to recommend me.” Abraham Lincoln “Whatever woman may cast her lot with mine, should any ever do so, it is my intention to do all in my power to make her happy and contented; and there is nothing I can imagine, that would make me more unhappy than to fail in the effort.” Abraham Lincoln “Our eldest boy, Bob, has been away from us nearly a year at school, and will enter Harvard University this month. He promises very well, considering we never controlled him much.” Abraham Lincoln “I have come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason, I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockhead enough to have me.” Abraham Lincoln “I am not a very sentimental man; and the best sentiment I can think of is, that if you collect the signatures of all persons who are no less distinguished than I, you will have a very undistinguishing mass of names.” Abraham Lincoln
“I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.” Abraham Lincoln “I was raised to farm work.” Abraham Lincoln “Others have been made fools of by the girls; but, this can never be with truth said of me. I most emphatically, in this instance, made a fool of myself.” Abraham Lincoln “My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age; and he grew up, literally without education.” Abraham Lincoln “My father taught me to work, but he did not teach me to love it.”
“All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
“I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.” Abraham Lincoln
Roosevelt Quotebank Economy On October 24 1929 the New York Stock market collapsed leading to the Great Depression which not only gripped US but spread to the whole world When Roosevelt came to power the Great Depression was in full swing and the economy was in shambles. In a daring measure Roosevelt initiated The New Deal and set about to revive the economy with a series of economic planning programs. His New Deal worked like a tonic to the ailing economy and helped it to get back to its feet. Roosevelt inherited an economy in ruins but when he died in harness, America was one of the most prosperous nations in the whole world.
“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Don't forget what I discovered that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “If I went to work in a factory the first thing I'd do is join a union.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“If we can boondoggle ourselves out of this depression, that word is going to be enshrined in the hearts of the American people for years to come.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “It isn't sufficient just to want - you've got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Prosperous farmers mean more employment, more prosperity for the workers and the business men of every industrial area in the whole country.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Our national debt after all is an internal debt owed not only by the Nation but to the Nation. If our children have to pay interest on it they will pay that interest to themselves. A reasonable internal debt will not impoverish our children or put the Nation into bankruptcy.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
War Roosevelt was the President of America when World War II broke out. Though America’s sympathies lay with the Allies and it provided them with massive financial and military aid, the US did not actively participate in the war. The bombing of Pearl Harbor proved to be a turning point and America was sucked into the war. As President, Roosevelt was also the Commander in chief of the armed forces. He took a keen interest in planning strategies and worked closely with his military advisers. Under his inspiring leadership America proved its mettle. The war also revealed the awesome might of the Armed Forces of America. Under Roosevelt’s leadership America emerged as one of the most powerful nations in the world with a decisive say in world politics. “I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted “men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Yesterday, December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Slowly, and in spite of anything we Americans do or do not do, it looks a little as if you and some other good people are going to have to answer the old question of whether you want to keep your country unshackled by taking even more definite steps to do so — even firing shots — or, on the other hand, submitting to be shackled for the sake of not losing one American life.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars - yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“War is a contagion.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours thinking and planning how war may be kept from this nation.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “If there is anyone who still wonders why this war is being fought, let him look to Norway. If there is anyone who has any delusions that this war could have been averted, let him look to Norway; and if there is anyone who doubts the democratic will to win, again I say, let him look to Norway” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Politics and Government Coming from an influential family, (many members had already participated in politics), Roosevelt was familiar with the world of politics from a tender age. He proved to be a consummate politician with an uncanny ability to gauge the pulse of the people. The invention of radio revolutionized the world and Roosevelt took full advantage of this new device to reach out to the maximum number of people. He never forgot the fact that it was the people who could make and unmake governments. “They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers. . . call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “No government can help the destinies of people who insist in putting sectional and class consciousness ahead of general weal.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “No group and no government can properly prescribe precisely what should constitute the body of knowledge with which true education is concerned.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “It is fun to be in the same decade with you.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt to Winton Churchill.
“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson. History depicts Andrew Jackson as the last truly honorable and incorruptible American president” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
â€œThe true conservative is the man who has a real concern for injustices and takes thought against the day of reckoning.â€? -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wisdom Roosevelt pondered deeply over human affairs and voiced his opinion on most subjects. According to many historians he was a great visionary. His words of wisdom are relevant even today. Roosevelt himself conquered his illness which left him paralyzed from waist down to occupy the highest post in the land. “Illness gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons... Infinite patience and never-ending persistence"...Eleanor Roosevelt Perhaps the bitter blows of life made him a wiser person and he was able to gain greater insight into human nature and affairs of the world. "Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much." -Franklin D. Roosevelt “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Favor comes because for a brief moment in the great space of human change and progress some general human purpose finds in him a satisfactory embodiment.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“It takes a long time to bring the past up to the present.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Remember you are just an extra in everyone else's play.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “There are as many opinions as there are experts.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Inspirational A born optimist and endowed with courage, his words inspired a nation to rise to greater heights. One of the greatest leaders America has ever produced; he succeeded in turning despair into hope. He occupied the White House when the nation was reeling under the Great Depression and succeeded in lifting its morale by prompt action. His New Deal gradually took the nation on the road to prosperity. His life itself served as an inspiration to others. He proved that everything was possible if there was a strong will by battling against disability to reach the highest position in the land. During World War II his inspiring words goaded the nation to perform heroic deeds and led it to victory. “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor - sail, not drift.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “As Americans, we go forward, in the service of our country, by the will of God.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all of mankind” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy” -Franklin D. Roosevelt "I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average." -Franklin D. Roosevelt “If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands they must be made brighter in our own” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Throughout the world, change is the order of the day” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “We do not see faith, hope, and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democracy Democracy has produced great leaders and one of her greatest sons was Franklin Roosevelt. He kept the flag of democracy flying high when most nations had succumbed to communism or fascism. He described America as an arsenal of democracy. Democratic ideals were close to his heart. He knew that the true power of any nation was not its military strength but its people. The people of America placed their faith in him again and again and he did not let them down and led them to greater glory. “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “All free peoples are deeply impressed by the courage and steadfastness of the Greek nation.” Franklin D. Roosevelt “We must be the great arsenal of Democracy” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “Faith — in the soundness of democracy in the midst of dictatorships” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Personal Roosevelt exuded charisma. He was one of the most charming presidents whose wise words captivated the nation .World leaders like Churchill found him hard to resist. A born survivor, he possessed human values which are so necessary for a leader--- courage, optimism, a strong will, a sharp mind and a powerful personality. His life stands as a shining example to people with any form of disability. “I am a Christian and a Democrat, that's all.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “After you leave me tonight, Jimmy, I am going to pray. I am going to pray that God will help me, that he will give me the strength and the guidance to do this job and to do it right. I hope that you will pray for me, too, Jimmy.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt to his son
“Are you laboring under the impression that I read these memoranda of yours? I can't even lift them” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “There is nothing I love as much as a good fight” “Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Obama Quotebank Leadership Barack Obama is a strong and decisive leader who believes in action but at the same time is fully aware of the power of words which go right into the hearts of people. He has also the ability to carry his team with him, an important quality in a leader. “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.” -Barack Obama “And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.” -Barack Obama “Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation - not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago.” -Barack Obama “We can build a more hopeful America. And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.” -Barack Obama “Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.” -Barack Obama “We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen.” -Barack Obama
Politics As a politician Obama has met success in his quick climb to the road to power. One of the main reasons for his phenomenal rise is his ability to strike the right chord in his fellow citizens and inspire hope for the future. “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.” -Barack Obama “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” -Barack Obama “Three months is a lifetime in politics.”
“America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.” -Barack Obama “Americans... still believe in an America where anything's possible - they just don't think their leaders do.” -Barack Obama “People are very hungry for something new. I think they are interested in being called to be a part of something larger than the sort of small, petty, slash-and-burn politics that we have been seeing over the last several years.” -Barack Obama “We can't change the way Washington works unless we first change how Congress works.” -Barack Obama “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.” -Barack Obama “Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.” -Barack Obama
“It's not just enough to change the players. We've gotta change the game.” -Barack Obama “A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.” -Barack Obama “My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington.” -Barack Obama “We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe.” -Barack Obama “One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.” -Barack Obama
Economy The most challenging and toughest task before President Barack Obama is to get the floundering economy back on track as US reels under one of its worst economic crisis in recent history. “For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” -Barack Obama “The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.” -Barack Obama “To the extent that we've got a fiscal crisis right now, part of it is prompted by a bullheaded insistence on the part of the president, for example, that we should extend all of his tax cuts, make all of them permanent.” -Barack Obama “As Mr. Keyes begins to travel the state, he will see that families here are concerned about quality jobs, making health care more affordable and ensuring our children get the best education possible.” -Barack Obama “None of us wants to see any fraud or waste in government spending ... But nowhere should we be more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt than with the brave men and women who served our country.” -Barack Obama “And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” -Barack Obama “It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.” -Barack Obama “I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the hightech, high-wage jobs of tomorrow, and help them afford health insurance for their employees.” -Barack Obama “Tonight, more Americans are out of work, and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes, and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.”
â€œThis is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.â€? -Barack Obama
Healthcare “Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.”
“I will finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And I will stop insurance companies from discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.” -Barack Obama
Foreign affairs “The American dream has been reborn” screamed a French headline. Most leaders of the world have welcomed the change in America’s leadership and are nurturing great hopes for the future. He is seen as a symbol of hope to minorities all over the world. Many viewed him as a new beginning in America while some eyed him with caution. Obama has clearly spelled out some of his foreign policy goals. It is obvious that he has America’s interests at heart and will give it top priority. He intends to bring home American soldiers from Iraq, fight global terrorism, attempt to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict and once again make his country emerge as the leader of the free world. “We're not going to baby sit a civil war.”
“I'm proud of the fact that I stood up early and unequivocally in opposition to Bush's foreign policy (and was the only U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois to do so). That opposition hasn't changed.” -Barack Obama “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” -Barack Obama “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.” -Barack Obama “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.” -Barack Obama “And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.” -Barack Obama
“Nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people from this whole process. And I would like to see -- if we could get some movement from Palestinian leadership -- what I'd like to see is a loosening up of some of the restrictions on providing aid directly to the Palestinian people.” -Barack Obama If I sit down with the leader of Iran, I will send him a strong message that Israel is our friend, that we will assist in their security and that we don't find nuclear weapons acceptable.... That's not going to be a propaganda coup for the president of Iran.” -Barack Obama “I didn't see the weapons of mass destruction at the time; I didn't think there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.” -Barack Obama “I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease.” -Barack Obama “I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.” -Barack Obama “Iraq is sort of a situation where you've got a guy who drove the bus into the ditch. You obviously have to get the bus out of the ditch, and that's not easy to do, although you probably should fire the driver.” -Barack Obama “Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow.” -Barack Obama “The Bush Administration's failure to be consistently involved in helping Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians has been both wrong for our friendship with Israel, as well as badly damaging to our standing in the Arab world.” -Barack Obama
Patriotism In all his speeches Obama’s love for his country shines through. Again and again he reaffirms that only in a country with vast opportunities could a person with his background achieve his path and make it to the highest office in the land. His faith in the potential of the American people is moving and his appeal to rouse all Americans to action stirs the heart of every patriotic American. Obama has been successful in instilling in the people of the country pride in themselves and their ability to do the impossible. Connecting to their need to be “good again” and lead the world. “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America.” -Barack Obama “It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” -Barack Obama “For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.” -Barack Obama “Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.” -Barack Obama
“I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure, that it will prevail, that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.” -Barack Obama “This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.” -Barack Obama
“This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.” -Barack Obama “So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.” -Barack Obama “At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet.” -Barack Obama “As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home” -Barack Obama “The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them.” -Barack Obama “It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.” -Barack Obama “As Americans, we can take enormous pride in the fact that courage has been inspired by our own struggle for freedom, by the tradition of democratic law secured by our forefathers and enshrined in our Constitution. It is a tradition that says all men are created equal under the law and that no one is above it.” -Barack Obama . It is because men and women of every race, from every walk of life, continued to march for freedom long after Lincoln was laid to rest, that today we have the chance to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people -- as Americans. -Barack Obama
Inspirational One of the key factors that catapulted Obama to the top spot is his ability to inspire people. An excellent speaker who is adept at playing with words, he has given rise to hope. Even when he talks of the gloomy economic scenario of today he talks about the glorious future. Just like Martin Luther King who was a magnetic speaker Obama often electrifies the audience by repeating a key phrase before or after each sentence like his Yes we can speech. His use of words and brilliant oratorical skills have succeeded in uplifting the mood of the people, made them believe in their abilities and above all generated hope for the future. “America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page of the policies of the past.” -Barack Obama “This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.” -Barack Obama “Change has come to America.”
“We have a stake in one another … what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and ... if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth.” -Barack Obama “Words do inspire.”
“If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.” -Barack Obama “It's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.” -Barack Obama
“When people are judged by merit, not connections, then the best and brightest can lead the country, people will work hard, and the entire economy will grow - everyone will benefit and more resources will be available for all, not just select groups.” -Barack Obama “We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say: Let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.” -Barack Obama “People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.” -Barack Obama
Faith “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.” -Barack Obama “Faith is not just something you have, it's something you do.”
“Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.”
“That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can say what we think; write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door.” -Barack Obama
Race and culture Barack Obama created history when he became the first African American to be elected to the office of the President of the United States. When he entered politics he was considered “not black enough” by some of his African American contemporaries. While his father hailed from Kenya his mother was a white American from the mid-west. Obama himself strives to be judged by his abilities and values and not by the color of his skin. He dreams of an America which will be completely free from racial prejudice of any kind where the color of the skin of any human being will cease to matter, what will be taken into account is the persons abilities. “Race is still a powerful force in this country. Any African American candidate, or any Latino candidate, or Asian candidate or woman candidate confronts a higher threshold in establishing himself to the voters.” -Barack Obama “Our goal is to have a country that's not divided by race.”
“It gave you a sense that strong, capable black men were out there and you didn't have to assume that your fate was automatically working in some menial job or getting involved in crime.” -Barack Obama “When I was growing up, basically the only black men on television were criminals or Flip Wilson dressed in drag as a character called Geraldine. But you rarely had black professionals portrayed in the culture.” -Barack Obama “The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.” -Barack Obama “She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.” -Barack Obama
Social issues “No one is pro-abortion.”
“I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.” -Barack Obama “I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side.” -Barack Obama “We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.” -Barack Obama “It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.” -Barack Obama “We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old - and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges.” -Barack Obama
Obama on his competitors Obama aimed to create a new form of politics. Where political rivals can disagree with eachother while still respecting eachother and not cahllanging their patriotisem. While opposing their policies he has often expressed admiration and appreciation for his oponents. “I honor -- we honor -- the service of John McCain, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.” -Barack Obama “Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare "Mission Accomplished" a little too soon.” -Barack Obama “Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect..” -Barack Obama “She has made history not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she is a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.” -Barack Obama
Funny quotes Obama has been gifted with a sense of humor which has served him well on the campaign trail. “It is true, I worry about the hype. The only person more over-hyped than me is you.” -Barack Obama “I don't want to be invited to the family hunting party. We're not kissing cousins.” -Barack Obama “Ok, look, you know, when I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point.” -Barack Obama “Three words: Vice President Oprah.”
“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
“You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.”
“I've been called worse on the basketball court.”
“I do love the Waldorf-Astoria, though. You know, I hear that from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian tea room.” -Barack Obama “What Washington needs is adult supervision.”
Personal Obama is a family man with a loving wife and two kids. He is a staunch supporter of moral and family values. Both Obama and his wife want a life of stability for their daughters. They do not want their daughters’ lives to be affected by his role as the President. He was also extremely close to his maternal grandparents who unfortunately did not live to see his great victory. “My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or blessed, believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.” -Barack Obama “She was the cornerstone of our family and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.” -Barack Obama on his grandmother “I've got two daughters, nine years old and six years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.” -Barack Obama “I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next first lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House” -Barack Obama “I’m not denouncing the church, and I’m not interested in people who want me to denounce the church. It’s not a church worthy of denouncing.” -Barack Obama “I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Lincoln’s Historic Speeches Abraham Lincoln, June 16th, 1858 House divided speech at Springfield Illinois When Lincoln made this speech he was just a candidate for the US senate. The speech was rendered when Lincoln accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination as that state's United States senator. Lincoln made this oft quoted speech to around 1000 republican delegates in the Hall of Representatives. Lincoln was then competing against Democrat Stephen A Douglas. The phrase “a House Divided’ is taken from the Bible. Realizing that the nation was sitting on a power keg which could burst at any moment, Lincoln stressed the underlying danger of disunity. He warned that it would be impossible for the nation to survive with half slaves and half free. This speech reveals Lincoln’s grasp over the political situation of his times; and the dangers of the North- South divide over slavery. His words “A house divided against itself cannot stand” proved prophetic as within a short period of time the nation would be engulfed in a bitter Civil War. Though Lincoln lost the election, this speech brought him national recognition. Full Transcript Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention. If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South. Have we no tendency to the latter condition? Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination -piece of machinery so to speak -- compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also, let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidence of design and concert of action, among its chief architects, from the beginning. But, so far, Congress only, had acted; and an indorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable, to save the point already gained, and give chance for more.
The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition. Four days later, commenced the struggle, which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition. This opened all the national territory to slavery, and was the first point gained. This necessity had not been overlooked; but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty," otherwise called "sacred right of self government," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man, choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object. That argument was incorporated into the Nebraska bill itself, in the language which follows: "It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or state, not to exclude it therefrom; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "Squatter Sovereignty," and "Sacred right of self-government." "But," said opposition members, "let us be more specific -- let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the territory may exclude slavery." "Not we," said the friends of the measure; and down they voted the amendment. While the Nebraska Bill was passing through congress, a law case involving the question of a negroe's freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free state and then a territory covered by the congressional prohibition, and held him as a slave, for a long time in each, was passing through the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Missouri; and both Nebraska bill and law suit were brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. The negroe's name was "Dred Scott," which name now designates the decision finally made in the case. Before the then next Presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requests the leading advocate of the Nebraska bill to state his opinion whether the people of a territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits; and the latter answers: "That is a question for the Supreme Court." The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the indorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory. The outgoing President, in his last annual message, as impressively as possible, echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of the indorsement. The Supreme Court met again; did not announce their decision, but ordered a re-argument. The Presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the court; but the incoming President, in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever might be. Then, in a few days, came the decision. The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion to make a speech at this capital indorsing the Dred Scott Decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained. At length a squabble springs up between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton constitution was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people of Kansas; and in that squabble the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for
the people, and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind -- the principle for which he declares he has suffered much, and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that principle. If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle, is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott decision, "squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding -- like the mould at the foundry served through one blast and fell back into loose sand -- helped to carry an election, and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint struggle with the Republicans, against the Lecompton Constitution, involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle was made on a point, the right of a people to make their own constitution, upon which he and the Republicans have never differed. The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas's "care-not" policy, constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained. The working points of that machinery are:First, that no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave, can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that: "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States." Second, that "subject to the Constitution of the United States, " neither Congress nor a Territorial legislature can exclude slavery from any United States Territory. This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the Territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future. Third, that whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a free State makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave State the negro may be forced into by the master. This point is made, not to be pressed immediately; but, if acquiesced in for a while, and apparently indorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott, in the free State of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in any other free State. Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mold public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. This shows exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending. It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back, and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left "perfectly free," subject only to the Constitution. What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in, and declare the perfect free freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people, voted down? Plainly enough now: the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the court decision held up? Why even a Senator's individual opinion withheld, till after the presidential election? Plainly enough now- the speaking out then would have damaged the perfectly free argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the outgoing President's felicitation on the indorsement? Why the delay of a re-argument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a
spirited horse, preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement of the decision by the President and others? We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen- Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance-and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly matte the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different l pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece. too many or too few,-not omitting even scaffolding-or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in-in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck. It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska Bill, the people of a State, as well as a Territory, were to be left "perfectly free," "subject only to the Constitution." Why mention a State? They were legislating for Territories, and not for or about States. Certainly the people of a State are and ought to be subject to the Constitution of the United States; but why is mention of this lugged into this merely Territorial law? Why are the people of a Territory and the people of a State therein lumped together, and their relation to the Constitution therein treated as being precisely the same? While the opinion of the court, by Chief-Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case and the separate opinions of all the concurring judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of the United States neither permits Congress nor a Territorial legislature to exclude slavery from any United States Territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same Constitution permits a State, or the people of a State, to exclude it. Possibly this is a mere omission; but who can be quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get into the opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the people of a State to exclude slavery from their limits, just as Chase and Mace sought to get such declaration, in behalf of the people of a Territory, into the Nebraska Bill-I ask, who can be quite sure that it would not have been voted down in the one case as it ad been in the other? The nearest approach to the point of declaring the power of a State over slavery is made by Judge Nelson. He approaches it more than once, using the precise idea, and almost the language, too, of the Nebraska Act. On one occasion, his exact language is, "except in cases where the power is restrained by the Constitution of the United States the law of the State is supreme over the subject of slavery within its g jurisdiction." In what cases the power of the States is so restrained by the United States Constitution is left an open question, precisely as the same question, as to the restraint on the power of the Territories, was left open in the Nebraska Act Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche which we may ere long see filled with another Supreme Court decisions declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits. And this may especially be expected if the doctrine of "care not wether slavery be voted down or voted up," shall gain upon he public mind sufficiently to give promise that such a decision an be maintained when made. Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States. Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown. We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri. are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. This is what we have to do. How can we best do it? There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends and yet whisper us softly, that Senator Douglas is the aptest instrument there is with which to effect that object. They wish us to infer all from the fact that he now has a little quarrel with the present head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us on a single
point, upon which he and we have never differed. They remind us that he is a great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a living dog is better than a dead lion." Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion, for this work, is at least a caged and tooth. less one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He does not care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the "public heart" to care nothing about it. A leading Douglas Democratic newspaper thinks Douglas's superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching ? He has not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest? And unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of property; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign slave trade-how can he refuse that trade in that "property" shall be "perfectly free"-unless he does it as a protection to the home production? And as the home producers will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition. Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser today than he was yesterdaythat he may rightfully | change when he finds himself wrong. But can we, for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he, himself, has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference? Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle. But clearly, he is not now with us-he does not pretend to be-he does not promise ever to be. Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted friends-those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work-who do care for the result. Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all them to falter now?-now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.
Abraham Lincoln, February 27th, 1860 Copper Union address at New York This is one of the most important speeches of Lincoln which catapulted him to stardom and brought to the forefront his majestic oratorical skills. This speech was delivered when Lincoln had not yet been chosen as a Presidential nominee. Lincoln arrived in New York in response to an invitation at Henry Ward Beecher's church in Brooklyn. The venue was later shifted to the Copper Union. Realizing the impact that a well crafted and eloquent speech would have on his audience, he did months of painstaking research on his topic. On a cold winter night in front of a crowd of 1,500 New Yorkers who had come out of curiosity and were prepared to get bored, Lincoln delivered his electrifying speech. The crowd had looked at his tall awkward ungainly figure and was disappointed till they heard him speak. As he spoke a new energy and fire seemed to radiate from his being and the skeptical crowd watched mesmerized. The speech is not grandiose but rather boasts of simplicity of statement and unity of thought. By putting forth deftly crafted arguments he proved that the founding fathers of the constitution had meant to regulate slavery. He spoke for almost an hour and was greeted with wild cheering. According to many historians this one speech paved the way for his Presidency. Full Transcript Mr. President and fellow citizens of New York: The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and observations following that presentation. In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in "The New-York Times," Senator Douglas said: "Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now." I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry: "What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?" What is the frame of government under which we live? The answer must be: "The Constitution of the United States." That Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787, (and under which the present government first went into operation,) and twelve subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed in 1789. Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the "thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government. It is almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be repeated. I take these "thirty-nine," for the present, as being "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers understood "just as well, and even better than we do now?"
It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal Territories? Upon this, Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans the negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue; and this issue - this question - is precisely what the text declares our fathers understood "better than we." Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, ever acted upon this question; and if they did, how they acted upon it - how they expressed that better understanding? In 1784, three years before the Constitution - the United States then owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other, the Congress of the Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting slavery in that Territory; and four of the "thirty-nine" who afterward framed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted for the prohibition, thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory. The other of the four - James M'Henry - voted against the prohibition, showing that, for some cause, he thought it improper to vote for it. In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the Convention was in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still was the only territory owned by the United States, the same question of prohibiting slavery in the territory again came before the Congress of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who afterward signed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted on the question. They were William Blount and William Few; and they both voted for the prohibition - thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance of '87. The question of federal control of slavery in the territories, seems not to have been directly before the Convention which framed the original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the "thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument, expressed any opinion on that precise question. In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine," Thomas Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays, which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman, Wm. S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thos. Fitzsimmons, William Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Clymer, Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James Madison. This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the federal territory; else both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the prohibition. Again, George Washington, another of the "thirty-nine," was then President of the United States, and, as such approved and signed the bill; thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government, to control as to slavery in federal territory. No great while after the adoption of the original Constitution, North Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the country now constituting the State of Tennessee; and a few years later
Georgia ceded that which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and Alabama. In both deeds of cession it was made a condition by the ceding States that the Federal Government should not prohibit slavery in the ceded territory. Besides this, slavery was then actually in the ceded country. Under these circumstances, Congress, on taking charge of these countries, did not absolutely prohibit slavery within them. But they did interfere with it - take control of it - even there, to a certain extent. In 1798, Congress organized the Territory of Mississippi. In the act of organization, they prohibited the bringing of slaves into the Territory, from any place without the United States, by fine, and giving freedom to slaves so bought. This act passed both branches of Congress without yeas and nays. In that Congress were three of the "thirty-nine" who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, George Read and Abraham Baldwin. They all, probably, voted for it. Certainly they would have placed their opposition to it upon record, if, in their understanding, any line dividing local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory. In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana country. Our former territorial acquisitions came from certain of our own States; but this Louisiana country was acquired from a foreign nation. In 1804, Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of it which now constitutes the State of Louisiana. New Orleans, lying within that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery was extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; but they did interfere with it - take control of it - in a more marked and extensive way than they did in the case of Mississippi. The substance of the provision therein made, in relation to slaves, was: First. That no slave should be imported into the territory from foreign parts. Second. That no slave should be carried into it who had been imported into the United States since the first day of May, 1798. Third. That no slave should be carried into it, except by the owner, and for his own use as a settler; the penalty in all the cases being a fine upon the violator of the law, and freedom to the slave. This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the Congress which passed it, there were two of the "thirty-nine." They were Abraham Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton. As stated in the case of Mississippi, it is probable they both voted for it. They would not have allowed it to pass without recording their opposition to it, if, in their understanding, it violated either the line properly dividing local from federal authority, or any provision of the Constitution. In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. Many votes were taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches of Congress, upon the various phases of the general question. Two of the "thirtynine" - Rufus King and Charles Pinckney - were members of that Congress. Mr. King steadily voted for slavery prohibition and against all compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as steadily voted against slavery prohibition and against all compromises. By this, Mr. King showed that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was violated by Congress prohibiting slavery in federal territory; while Mr. Pinckney, by his votes, showed that, in his understanding, there was some sufficient reason for opposing such prohibition in that case. The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the "thirty-nine," or of any of them, upon the direct issue, which I have been able to discover. To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four in 1784, two in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two in 1804, and two in 1819-20 - there would be thirty of them. But this would be counting John Langdon, Roger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George Read each twice, and Abraham Baldwin, three times. The true number of those of the "thirty-nine" whom I have
shown to have acted upon the question, which, by the text, they understood better than we, is twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to have acted upon it in any way. Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers "who framed the government under which we live," who have, upon their official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the very question which the text affirms they "understood just as well, and even better than we do now;" and twenty-one of them - a clear majority of the whole "thirty-nine" - so acting upon it as to make them guilty of gross political impropriety and willful perjury, if, in their understanding, any proper division between local and federal authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. Thus the twenty-one acted; and, as actions speak louder than words, so actions, under such responsibility, speak still louder. Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional prohibition of slavery in the federal territories, in the instances in which they acted upon the question. But for what reasons they so voted is not known. They may have done so because they thought a proper division of local from federal authority, or some provision or principle of the Constitution, stood in the way; or they may, without any such question, have voted against the prohibition, on what appeared to them to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to support the Constitution can conscientiously vote for what he understands to be an unconstitutional measure, however expedient he may think it; but one may and ought to vote against a measure which he deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it inexpedient. It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the two who voted against the prohibition, as having done so because, in their understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory. The remaining sixteen of the "thirty-nine," so far as I have discovered, have left no record of their understanding upon the direct question of federal control of slavery in the federal territories. But there is much reason to believe that their understanding upon that question would not have appeared different from that of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested at all. For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have purposely omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any person, however distinguished, other than the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution; and, for the same reason, I have also omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any of the "thirty-nine" even, on any other phase of the general question of slavery. If we should look into their acts and declarations on those other phases, as the foreign slave trade, and the morality and policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us that on the direct question of federal control of slavery in federal territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, would probably have acted just as the twenty-three did. Among that sixteen were several of the most noted anti-slavery men of those times - as Dr. Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris - while there was not one now known to have been otherwise, unless it may be John Rutledge, of South Carolina. The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution, twenty-one - a clear majority of the whole - certainly understood that no proper division of local from federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories; while all the rest probably had the same understanding. Such, unquestionably, was the understanding of our fathers who framed the original Constitution; and the text affirms that they understood the question "better than we." But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of the question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it; and, as I have already stated, the present frame of "the Government under which we live" consists of that original, and twelve amendatory articles framed and adopted since. Those who now insist that federal control of slavery in federal territories violates the Constitution, point
us to the provisions which they suppose it thus violates; and, as I understand, that all fix upon provisions in these amendatory articles, and not in the original instrument. The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of "life, liberty or property without due process of law;" while Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the tenth amendment, providing that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution" "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution - the identical Congress which passed the act already mentioned, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. Not only was it the same Congress, but they were the identical, same individual men who, at the same session, and at the same time within the session, had under consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory the nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced before, and passed after the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so that, during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance, the Constitutional amendments were also pending. The seventy-six members of that Congress, including sixteen of the framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were pre- eminently our fathers who framed that part of "the Government under which we live," which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories. Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day to affirm that the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and carried to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent with each other? And does not such affirmation become impudently absurd when coupled with the other affirmation from the same mouth, that those who did the two things, alleged to be inconsistent, understood whether they really were inconsistent better than we - better than he who affirms that they are inconsistent? It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." And so assuming, I defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. I go a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present century, (and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last half of the present century,) declare that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, I give, not only "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live," but with them all other living men within the century in which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them. Now, and here, let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our fathers did. To do so, would be to discard all the lights of current experience - to reject all progress - all improvement. What I do say is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and argument so clear, that even their great authority, fairly considered and weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question better than we. If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the
federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" were of the same opinion - thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day sincerely believes "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local from federal authority or some part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time, brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he understands their principles better than they did themselves; and especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that they "understood the question just as well, and even better, than we do now." But enough! Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask - all Republicans desire - in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity. Let all the guarantees those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly, maintained. For this Republicans contend, and with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content. And now, if they would listen - as I suppose they will not - I would address a few words to the Southern people. I would say to them: - You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us a reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans." In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite - license, so to speak - among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify. You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section - gets no votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet, are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in your section this very year. You will then begin to discover, as the truth plainly is, that your proof does not touch the issue. The fact that we get no votes in your section, is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and remains until you show that we repel you by some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to where you ought to have started - to a discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section; and so meet it as if it were possible that something may be said on our side. Do you accept the challenge? No! Then you really believe that the principle which "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and indorse it again and again, upon
their official oaths, is in fact so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's consideration. Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he had, as President of the United States, approved and signed an act of Congress, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory, which act embodied the policy of the Government upon that subject up to and at the very moment he penned that warning; and about one year after he penned it, he wrote LaFayette that he considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same connection his hope that we should at some time have a confederacy of free States. Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who sustain his policy, or upon you who repudiate it? We respect that warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his example pointing to the right application of it. But you say you are conservative - eminently conservative - while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live;" while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign slave trade; some for a Congressional Slave-Code for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the Territories to prohibit Slavery within their limits; some for maintaining Slavery in the Territories through the judiciary; some for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that "if one man would enslave another, no third man should object," fantastically called "Popular Sovereignty;" but never a man among you is in favor of federal prohibition of slavery in federal territories, according to the practice of "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an advocate in the century within which our Government originated. Consider, then, whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves, and your charge or destructiveness against us, are based on the most clear and stable foundations. Again, you say we have made the slavery question more prominent than it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question. Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, readopt the precepts and policy of the old times. You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof ? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need to be told that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is simply malicious slander. Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged the Harper's Ferry affair, but still insist that our doctrines and declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not
believe it. We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declaration, which were not held to and made by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." You never dealt fairly by us in relation to this affair. When it occurred, some important State elections were near at hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us in those elections. The elections came, and your expectations were not quite fulfilled. Every Republican man knew that, as to himself at least, your charge was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it to cast his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and declarations are accompanied with a continual protest against any interference whatever with your slaves, or with you about your slaves. Surely, this does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do, in common with "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live," declare our belief that slavery is wrong; but the slaves do not hear us declare even this. For anything we say or do, the slaves would scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe they would not, in fact, generally know it but for your misrepresentations of us, in their hearing. In your political contests among yourselves, each faction charges the other with sympathy with Black Republicanism; and then, to give point to the charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be insurrection, blood and thunder among the slaves. Slave insurrections are no more common now than they were before the Republican party was organized. What induced the Southampton insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, in which, at least three times as many lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry? You can scarcely stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that Southampton was "got up by Black Republicanism." In the present state of things in the United States, I do not think a general, or even a very extensive slave insurrection is possible. The indispensable concert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have no means of rapid communication; nor can incendiary freemen, black or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere in parcels; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the indispensable connecting trains. Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and the slave revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case occurring under peculiar circumstances. The gunpowder plot of British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret; and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity. Occasional poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy assassinations in the field, and local revolts extending to a score or so, will continue to occur as the natural results of slavery; but no general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen in this country for a long time. Whoever much fears, or much hopes for such an event, will be alike disappointed. In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and their places be, pari passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up." Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia; and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the power of restraining the extension of the institution - the power to insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American soil which is now free from slavery. John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That affair, in its
philosophy, corresponds with the many attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case, and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of the two things. And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling - that sentiment - by breaking up the political organization which rallies around it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire; but if you could, how much would you gain by forcing the sentiment which created it out of the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, into some other channel? What would that other channel probably be? Would the number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the operation? But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights. That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing. When you make these declarations, you have a specific and well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional right of yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. But no such right is specifically written in the Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such right. We, on the contrary, deny that such a right has any existence in the Constitution, even by implication. Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events. This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer's distinction between dictum and decision, the Court have decided the question for you in a sort of way. The Court have substantially said, it is your Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. When I say the decision was made in a sort of way, I mean it was made in a divided Court, by a bare majority of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another in the reasons for making it; that it is so made as that its avowed supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact - the statement in the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution." An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not "distinctly and expressly affirmed" in it. Bear in mind, the Judges do not pledge their judicial opinion that such right is impliedly affirmed in the Constitution; but they pledge their veracity that it is "distinctly and expressly" affirmed there - "distinctly," that is, not mingled with anything else - "expressly," that is, in words meaning just that, without the aid of any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning. If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such right is affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would be open to others to show that neither the word "slave" nor "slavery" is to be found in the Constitution, nor the word "property" even, in any connection with language alluding to the things slave, or slavery; and that wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded to, he is called a "person;" - and wherever his master's legal right in relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of as "service or labor which may be due," - as a debt payable in service or labor. Also, it
would be open to show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that there could be property in man. To show all this, is easy and certain. When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought to their notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it? And then it is to be remembered that "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live" - the men who made the Constitution - decided this same Constitutional question in our favor, long ago - decided it without division among themselves, when making the decision; without division among themselves about the meaning of it after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts. Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!" To be sure, what the robber demanded of me - my money - was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle. A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them. Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them, if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation. The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them. These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.
I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone - have never disturbed them - so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying. I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing. Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this? Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.
Abraham Lincoln, 4th March, 1861 Lincolnâ€™s first Inaugural address No President had taken his oath in such a dismal scenario with the nation he was asked to captain tottering on the brink of extinction. Two weeks prior to his inauguration Jefferson Davis had taken oath as president of the Confederacy of the seceding southern states. There was tight security in the capital. Lincoln wrote this powerful speech in the back room of a store in Springfield Illinois when he was President elect. No President before Lincoln had ever faced such a daunting task. This speech reflects a leader not so much bent on abolishing slavery as preserving the Union. In this speech Lincoln adopts a conciliatory tone towards the southern states where slavery flourished. With soaring oratory he made a desperate appeal to the nation to stand united. Lincoln stressed that the constitution was established â€˜to form a more perfect unionâ€? Full Transcript Fellow-citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of this office." I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property, and their peace, and personal security, are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves, and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read: Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes." I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause -- as cheerfully to one section as to another. There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due." It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the law-giver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution -- to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause, "shall be delivered," their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law, by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath? There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by state authority; but surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him, or to others, by which authority it is done. And should any one, in any case, be content that his oath shall go unkept, on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept? Again, in any law upon this subject, ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a slave? And might it not be well, at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States"? I take the official oath to-day, with no mental reservations, and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws, by any hypercritical rules. And while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to, and abide by, all those acts which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional. It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our national Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens, have, in succession, administered the executive branch of the government. They have conducted it through many perils; and, generally, with great success. Yet, with all this scope for [of] precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years, under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper, ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever -- it being impossible to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself. Again, if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade, by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it -- break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it? Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that, in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining
and establishing the Constitution, was "to form a more perfect Union." But if [the] destruction of the Union, by one, or by a part only, of the States, be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity. It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union, -- that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it, so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or in some authoritative manner, direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that will constitutionally defend and maintain itself. In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion -- no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality, shall be so great and so universal, as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating, and so nearly impracticable with all, that I deem it better to forego, for the time, the uses of such offices. The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed, unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper; and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised according to circumstances actually existing, and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles, and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections. That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are glad of any pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak? Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step, while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to, are greater than all the real ones you fly from? Will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake? All profess to be content in the Union, if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily the human mind is so constituted, that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution -- certainly would, if such right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities, and of individuals, are so plainly assured to them, by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur
in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the government must cease. There is no other alternative; for continuing the government, is acquiescence on one side or the other. If a minority, in such case, will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which, in turn, will divide and ruin them; for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy, a year or two hence, arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments, are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this. Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new Union, as to produce harmony only, and prevent renewed secession? Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left. I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit; as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be over-ruled, and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive slave clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections, than before. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction, in one section; while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all, by the other. Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go
out of the presence, and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory, after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you. This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the national Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the Convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions, originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which amendment, however, I have not seen, has passed Congress, to the effect that the federal government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable. The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this if also they choose; but the executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present government, as it came to his hands, and to transmit it, unimpaired by him, to his successor. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope, in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth, and that justice, will surely prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people. By the frame of the government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years. My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well, upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied, hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has
never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it." I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. .
Abraham Lincoln, November 19th, 1863 The Gettysburg address at gettysburg, Pennsylvania This speech is regarded as the most famous speech by Abraham Lincoln and one of the greatest in US history. Had Lincoln done nothing but make this speech he would still be famous. It ranks among the most quoted speech in US history. Lincoln’s definition of democracy “a government by the people, for the people and of the people” is regarded as the simplest and best possible description of democracy. The speech was rendered at the height of the civil war. Four months prior to the speech the Union army had defeated the confederacy in the battle of Gettysburg. This stirring speech was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg, to honor soldiers who had laid down their lives for the Union. In this soaring speech which inspires one and all Lincoln described the Civil War ‘as a new birth of freedom’ which would make all human beings equal. While honoring the dead, he took those living to a new height with his soaring oratory. Though this speech is now taught in schools and narrated at elocution contests it received a mixed reaction when it was spoken. It was ignored by the Democrats though praised by the Republicans. Full Transcript "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Abraham Lincoln, March 4th, 1865 Speech at second Inaugural address at Washington DC Weeks prior to the second inaugural address of Lincoln the capital was assailed by bad weather. People had to wade through a sea of mud and standing water to hear Lincoln. Thousands came out braving the bad weather a testimony to his immense popularity. He was greeted by a roar of applause. As he spoke the sun came out showering its blessings on the nation. Despite being inches away from victory at the time of this speech Lincoln’s mood was sad rather than happy. In this speech he spoke of forgiveness as a balm to heal the wounds of the North and South. This is one of the most memorable speeches of Lincoln. It reflects the wisdom and nobility of the speaker. The conclusion has few of the greatest lines ever spoken in American History” With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” The audience listened to this moving speech in profound silence. Many eyes were wet with tears. Lincoln was killed just a month after delivering this inaugural speech. Full Transcript At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it--all sought to avert it. While the inaugeral [sic] address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissole [sic] the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came. One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether" With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Roosevelt’s Historic Speeches Franklin D. Roosevelt, September 23rd, 1932 Commonwealth Club address, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Roosevelt exuded charisma. He was one of the most charming presidents whose wise words captivated the nation .World leaders like Churchill found him hard to resist. A born survivor, he possessed human values which are so necessary for a leader--- courage, optimism, a strong will, a sharp mind and a powerful personality. His life stands as a shining example to people with any form of disability. Full Transcript: I count it a privilege to be invited to address the Commonwealth Club. It has stood in the life of this city and State, and it is perhaps accurate to add, the nation, as a group of citizen leaders interested in fundamental problems of government, and chiefly concerned with achievement of progress in government through none—partisan means. The privilege of addressing you, therefore, in the heat of a political campaign, is great. I want to respond to your courtesy in terms consistent with your policy. I want to speak not of politics but of government. I want to speak not of parties, but of universal principles. They are not political, except in that larger sense in which a great American once expressed a definition of politics, that nothing in all of human life is foreign to the science of politics. I do want to give you, however, a recollection of a long life spent for a large part in public office. Some of my conclusions and observations have been deeply accentuated in these past few weeks. I have traveled far —— from Albany to the Golden Gate. I have seen many people, and heard many things, and today, when in a sense my journey has reached the half—way mark, I am glad of the opportunity to discuss with you what it all means to me. Sometimes, my friends, particularly in years such as these, the hand of discouragement falls upon us. It seems that things are in a rut, fixed, settled, that the world has grown old and tired and very much out of joint. This is the mood of depression, of dire and weary depression. But then we look around us in America, and everything tells us that we are wrong. America is new. It is the process of change and development. It has the great potentialities of youth and particularly is this true of the great West, and of this coast, and of California. I would not have you feel that I regard this as in any sense a new community. I have traveled in many parts of the world, but never have I felt the arresting thought of the change and development more that here, where the old, mystic East would seem to be near to us, where the currents of life and thought and commerce of the whole world meet us. This factor alone is sufficient to cause man to stop and think of the deeper meaning of things, when he stands in this community. But more than that, I appreciate that the membership of this club consists of men who are thinking in terms beyond the immediate present, beyond their own immediate tasks, beyond their
own individual interests. I want to invite you, therefore, to consider with me in the large, some of the relationships of government and economic life that go deeply into our daily lives, our happiness, our future and our security. The issue of government has always been whether individual men and women will have to serve some system of government or economics, or whether a system of government and economics exists to serve individual men and women. This question has persistently dominated the discussion of government for many generations. On questions relating to these things men have differed, and for time immemorial it is probable that honest men will continue to differ. The final word belongs to no man; yet we can still believe in change and in progress. Democracy, as a dear old friend of mine in Indiana, Meredith Nicholson, has called it, is a quest, a never ending seeking for better things, and in the seeking for these things and the striving for them, there are many roads to follow. But, if we map the course of these roads, we find that there are only two general directions. When we look about us, we are likely to forget how hard people have worked to win the privilege of government. The growth of the national governments of Europe was a struggle for the development of a centralized force in the nation, strong enough to impose peace upon ruling barons. In many instances the victory of the central government, the creation of a strong central government, was a haven of refuge to the individual. The people preferred the master far away to the exploitation and cruelty of the smaller master near at hand. But the creators of national government were perforce—ruthless men. They were often cruel in their methods, but they did strive steadily toward something that society needed and very much wanted, a strong central State able to keep the peace, to stamp out civil war, to put the unruly nobleman in his place, and to permit the bulk of individuals to live safely. The man of ruthless force had his place in developing a pioneer country, just as he did in fixing the power of the central government in the development of the nations. Society paid him well for his services and its development. When the development among the nations of Europe, however, had been completed, ambition and ruthlessness, having served their term, tended to overstep their mark. There came a growing feeling that government was conducted for the benefit of a few who thrived unduly at the expense of all. The people sought a balancing —— a limiting force. There came gradually, through town councils, trade guilds, national parliaments by constitution and by popular participation and control, limitations on arbitrary power. Another factor that tended to limit the power of those who ruled, was the rise of the ethical conception that a ruler bore a responsibility for the welfare of his subjects. The American colonies were born in this struggle. The American Revolution was a turning point in it. After the Revolution the struggle continued and shaped itself in the public life of the country. There were those who because they had seen the confusion which attended the years of war for American independence surrendered to the belief that popular government was essentially dangerous and essentially unworkable. They were honest people, my friends, and we cannot deny that their experience had warranted some measure of fear. The most brilliant, honest and able exponent of this point of view was Hamilton. He was too impatient of slow—moving methods. Fundamentally he believed that the safety of the republic lay in the autocratic strength of its government, that the destiny of individuals was to serve that government, and that fundamentally a great and strong group of central institutions, guided by a small group of able and public spirited citizens, could best direct all government. But Mr. Jefferson, in the summer of 1776, after drafting the Declaration of Independence turned his mind to the same problem and took a different view. He did not deceive himself with outward
forms. Government to him was a means to an end, not an end in itself; it might be either a refuge and a help or a threat and a danger, depending on the circumstances. We find him carefully analyzing the society for which he was to organize a government. "We have no paupers. The great mass of our population is of laborers, our rich who cannot live without labor, either manual or professional, being few and of moderate wealth. Most of the laboring class possess property, cultivate their own lands, have families and from the demand for their labor, are enabled to exact from the rich and the competent such prices as enable them to feed abundantly, clothe above mere decency, to labor moderately and raise their families." These people, he considered, had two sets of rights, those of "personal competency" and those involved in acquiring and possessing property. By "personal competency" he meant the right of free thinking, freedom of forming and expressing opinions, and freedom of personal living, each man according to his own rights. To insure the first set of rights, a government must so order its functions as not to interfere with the individual. But even Jefferson realized that the exercise of property rights might so interfere with the rights of the individual that the government, without whose assistance the property rights could not exist, must intervene, not to destroy individualism, but to protect it. You are familiar with the great political duel which followed; and how Hamilton, and his friends, building toward a dominant centralized power were at length defeated in the great election of 1800, by Mr. Jeffersonâ€™s party. Out of that duel came the two parties, Republican and Democratic, as we know them today. So began, in American political life, the new day, the day of the individual against the system, the day in which individualism was made the great watchword of American life. The happiest of economic conditions made that day long and splendid. On the Western frontier, land was substantially free. No one, who did not shirk the task of earning a living, was entirely without opportunity to do so. Depressions could, and did, come and go; but they could not alter the fundamental fact that most of the people lived partly by selling their labor and partly by extracting their livelihood from the soil, so that starvation and dislocation were practically impossible. At the very worst there was always the possibility of climbing into a covered wagon and moving west where the untilled prairies afforded a haven for men to whom the East did not provide a place. So great were our natural resources that we could offer this relief not only to our own people, but to the distressed of all the world; we could invite immigration from Europe, and welcome it with open arms. Traditionally, when a depression came a new section of land was opened in the West; and even our temporary misfortune served our manifest destiny. It was in the middle of the nineteenth century that a new force was released and a new dream created. The force was what is called the industrial revolution, the advance of steam and machinery and the rise of the forerunners of the modern industrial plant. The dream was the dream of an economic machine, able to raise the standard of living for everyone; to bring luxury within the reach of the humblest; to annihilate distance by steam power and later by electricity, and to release everyone from the drudgery of the heaviest manual toil. It was to be expected that this would necessarily affect government. Heretofore, government had merely been called upon to produce conditions within which people could live happily, labor peacefully, and rest secure. Now it was called upon to aid in the consummation of this new dream. There was, however, a shadow over the dream. To be made real, it required use of the talents of men of tremendous will and tremendous ambition, since by no other force could the problems of financing and engineering and new developments be brought to a consummation. So manifest were the advantages of the machine age, however, that the United States fearlessly, cheerfully, and, I think, rightly, accepted the bitter with the sweet. It was thought that no price was
too high to pay for the advantages which we could draw from a finished industrial system. This history of the last half century is accordingly in large measure a history of a group of financial Titans, whose methods were not scrutinized with too much care, and who were honored in proportion as they produced the results, irrespective of the means they used. The financiers who pushed the railroads to the Pacific were always ruthless, often wasteful, and frequently corrupt; but they did build railroads, and we have them today. It has been estimated that the American investor paid the American railway system more than three times over in the process; but despite this fact the net advantage was to the United States. As long as we had free land; as long as population was growing by leaps and bounds; as long as our industrial plants were insufficient to supply our own needs, society chose to give the ambitious man free play and unlimited reward provided only that he produced the economic plant so much desired. During this period of expansion, there was equal opportunity for all and the business of government was not to interfere but to assist in the development of industry. This was done at the request of businessmen themselves. The tariff was originally imposed for the purpose of "fostering our infant industry," a phrase I think the older among you will remember as a political issue not so long ago. The railroads were subsidized, sometimes by grants of money, oftener by grants of land; some of the most valuable oil lands in the United States were granted to assist the financing of the railroad which pushed through the Southwest. A nascent merchant marine was assisted by grants of money, or by mail subsidies, so that our stream shipping might ply the seven seas. Some of my friends tell me that they do not want the government in business. With this I agree; but I wonder whether they realize the implications of the past. For while it has been American doctrine that the government must not go into business in competition with private enterprises, still it has been traditional particularly in Republican Administrations for business urgently to ask the government to put at private disposal all kinds of government assistance. The same man who tells you that he does not want to see the government interfere in business —— and he means it, and has plenty of good reasons for saying so —— is the first to go to Washington and ask the government for a prohibitory tariff on his product. When things get just bad enough —— as they did two years ago —— he will go with equal speed to the United States government and ask for a loan; and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation is the outcome of it. Each group has sought protection from the government for its own special interests, without realizing that the function of government must be to favor no small group at the expense of its duty to protect the rights of personal freedom and of private property of all its citizens. A glance at the situation today only too clearly indicates that equality of opportunity as we have known it no longer exists. Our industrial plant is built; the problem just now is whether under existing conditions it is not overbuilt. Our last frontier has long since been reached, and there is practically no more free land. More than half of our people do not live on the farms or on lands and cannot derive a living by cultivating their own property. There is no safety valve in the form of a Western prairie to which those thrown out of work by the Eastern economic machines can go for a new start. We are not able to invite the immigration from Europe to share our endless plenty. We are now providing a drab living for our own people. Our system of constantly rising tariffs has at last reacted against us to the point of closing our Canadian frontier on the north, our European markets on the east, many of our Latin American markets to the south, and a goodly proportion of our Pacific markets on the west, through the retaliatory tariffs of those countries. It has forced many of our great industrial institutions who exported their surplus production to such countries, to establish plants in such countries, within the tariff walls. This has resulted in the reduction of the operation of their American plants, and opportunity for employment.
Just as freedom to farm has ceased, so also the opportunity in business has narrowed. It still is true that men can start small enterprises, trusting to native shrewdness and ability to keep abreast of competitors; but area after area has been pre—empted altogether by the great corporations and even in the fields which still have no great concerns, the small man starts under a handicap. The unfeeling statistics of the past three decades show that the independent businessman is running a losing race. Perhaps he is forced to the wall; perhaps he cannot command credit; perhaps he is "squeezed out," in Mr. Wilson’s words, by highly organized corporate competitors, as your corner grocery man can tell you. Recently a careful study was made of the concentration of business in the United States. It showed that our economic life was dominated by some six hundred odd corporations who controlled two—thirds of American industry. Ten million small businessmen divided the other third. More striking still, it appeared that if the process of concentration goes on at the same rate, at the end of another century we shall have all American industry controlled by a dozen corporations, and run by perhaps a hundred men. But plainly, we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already. Clearly, all this calls for a re—appraisal of values. A mere builder of more industrial plants, a creator of more railroad systems, an organizer of more corporations, is as likely to be a danger as a help. The day of the great promoter or the financial Titan, to whom we granted everything if only he would build, or develop, is over. Our task now is not discovery, or exploitation of natural resources, or necessarily producing more goods. It is the soberer, less dramatic business of administering resources and plants already in hand, of seeking to reestablish foreign markets for our surplus production, of meeting the problem of under consumption, of adjusting production to consumption, of distributing wealth and products more equitably of adapting existing economic organizations to the service of the people. The day of enlightened administration has come. Just as in older times the central government was first a haven of refuge, and then a threat, so now in a closer economic system the central and ambitious financial unit is no longer a servant of national desire, but a danger. I would draw the parallel one step farther. We did not think because national government had become a threat in the 18th century that therefore we should abandon the principle of national government. Nor today should we abandon the principle of strong economic units called corporations, merely because their power is susceptible of easy abuse. In other rimes we dealt with the problem of an unduly ambitious central government. So today we are modifying and controlling our economic units. As I see it, the task of government in its relation to business is to assist the development of an economic declaration of rights, an economic constitutional order. This is the common task of statesman and businessman. It is the minimum requirement of a more permanently safe order of things. Every man has a right to life; and this means that he has also a right to make a comfortable living. He may by sloth or crime decline to exercise that right; but it may not be denied him. We have no actual famine or dearth; our industrial and agricultural mechanism can produce enough and to spare. Our government formal and informal, political and economic owes to every one an avenue to possess himself of a portion of that plenty sufficient for his needs, through his own work. Every man has a right to his own property, which means a right to be assured, to the fullest extent attainable, in the safety of his savings. By no other means can men carry the burdens of those parts of life which, in the nature of things, afford no chance of labor; childhood, sickness, old age. In all thought of property, this right is paramount; all other property rights must yield to it. If, in accord with this principle, we must restrict the operations of the speculator, the manipulator, even
the financier, I believe we must accept the restriction as needful, not to hamper individualism but to protect it. These two requirements must be satisfied, in the main, by the individuals who claim and hold control of the great industrial and financial combinations, which dominate so large a part of our industrial life. They have undertaken to be not businessmen, but princes —— princes of property. I am not prepared to say that the system which produces them is wrong. I am very clear that they must fearlessly and competently assume the responsibility which goes with the power. So many enlightened businessmen know this that the statement would be little more than a platitude, were it not for an added implication. This implication is, briefly, that the responsible heads of finance and industry instead of acting each for himself, must work together to achieve the common end. They must, where necessary, sacrifice this or that private advantage; and in reciprocal self—denial must seek a general advantage. It is here that formal government —— political government, if you choose, comes in. Whenever in the pursuit of this objective the lone wolf, the unethical competitor, the reckless promoter, the Ishmael or Insull whose hand is against every man’s, declines to join in achieving an end recognized as being for the public welfare, and threatens to drag the industry back to a state of anarchy, the government may properly be asked to apply restraint. Likewise, should the group ever use its collective power contrary to the public welfare, the government must be swift to enter and protect the public interest. The government should assume the function of economic regulation only as a last resort, to be tried only when private initiative, inspired by high responsibility, with such assistance and balance as government can give, has finally failed. As yet there has been no final failure, because there has been no attempt; and I decline to assume that this nation is unable to meet the situation. The final term of the high contract was for liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have learnt a great deal of both in the past century. We know that individual liberty and individual happiness mean nothing unless both are ordered in the sense that one man’s meat is not another man’s poison. We know that the old "rights of personal competency —— the right to read, to think, to speak, to choose and live a mode of life, must be respected at all hazards. We know that liberty to do anything which deprives others of those elemental rights is outside the protection of any compact; and that government in this regard is the maintenance of a balance, within which every individual may have a place if he will take it; in which every individual may find safety if he wishes it; in which every individual may attain such power as his ability permits, consistent with his assuming the accompanying responsibility. Faith in America, faith in our tradition of personal responsibilities, faith in our institutions, faith in ourselves demands that we recognize the new terms of the old social contract. We shall fulfill them, as we fulfilled the obligation of the apparent Utopia which Jefferson imagined for us in 1776, and which Jefferson, Roosevelt and Wilson sought to bring to realization. We must do so, lest a rising tide of misery engendered by our common failure, engulf us all. But failure is not an American habit; and in the strength of great hope we must all shoulder our common load.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4th, 1933 First Inaugural speech at Washington DC Franklin Roosevelt assumed office when America was facing one of its worst crises since the civil war in the form of the Great Depression. The Great Depression had hit the country hard and left millions unemployed facing a life of ruin. Roosevelt knew that the situation in the country was grave and needed immediate redress. In his very first inaugural address he gave a stirring address including his oft quoted words â€œThe only thing we have to fear is fear itself â€? By initiating the New Deal which brought about sweeping economic reforms, he pulled back America from the brink of disaster and put it firmly on the road to a healthy economy.
Full Transcript: President Hoover, Mr. Chief Justice, my friends: This is a day of national consecration, and 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 nation impels. This is pre-eminently 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 itself. . . nameless, 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. Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failures and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored conditions. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish. The money changers have fled their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit. Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow-men. Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be values only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit, and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live. Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This nation asks for action, and action now. Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accompanied in part by direct recruiting by the government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our national resources. Hand in hand with this, we must frankly recognize the over-balance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land. The task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss, through foreclosure, of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character.
There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act, and act quickly. 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 people's money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency. These are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the several States. Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are, to point in time and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor as a practical policy the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment, but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment. The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States . . . recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure. In the field of world policy I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor. . .the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others. . .the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors. If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other: that we cannot merely take, but we must give as well, that if we are to go forward we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of Bøê Coêine, becaus =Dêithout such discipline, no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline because it makes possibly a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will hind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife. With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people, dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems. Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form.
That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure. I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis. . .broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe. For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less. We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity, with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values, with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life. We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I will take it. In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us! May He guide me in the days to come!
Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20th 1937 Second Inaugural address at Washington DC 1937 saw a more confident Roosevelt. He had registered a thumping victory and was adored by the public. For the first time in the history of America the presidential inauguration was held on January 20th. Even though Roosevelt hailed from a privileged family he always spoke up for the common man and identified himself with them. Though America had made considerable progress from the bleak days of the Great Depression, he reminds the nation that there was still a long way to go and much to be done as one third of the nation was “ill housed, ill clad, ill nourished” In this speech he also gives a broad outline of his future plans. Full Transcript: When four years ago we met to inaugurate a President, the Republic, single-minded 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. We of the Republic sensed the truth that democratic government has innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable. We would not admit that we could not find a way to master economic epidemics just as, after centuries of fatalistic suffering, we had found a way to master epidemics of disease. We refused to leave the problems of our common welfare to be solved by the winds of chance and the hurricanes of disaster. In this we Americans were discovering no wholly new truth; we were writing a new chapter in our book of self-government. This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Constitutional Convention which made us a nation. At that Convention our forefathers found the way out of the chaos which followed the Revolutionary War; they created a strong government with powers of united action sufficient then and now to solve problems utterly beyond individual or local solution. A century and a half ago they established the Federal Government in order to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to the American people. Today we invoke those same powers of government to achieve the same objectives. Four years of new experience have not belied our historic instinct. They hold out the clear hope that government within communities, government within the separate States, and government of the United States can do the things the times require, without yielding its democracy. Our tasks in the last four years did not force democracy to take a holiday.
Nearly all of us recognize that as intricacies of human relationships increase, so power to govern them also must increaseâ€”power to stop evil; power to do good. The essential democracy of our Nation and the safety of our people depend not upon the absence of power, but upon lodging it with those whom the people can change or continue at stated intervals through an honest and free system of elections. The Constitution of 1787 did not make our democracy impotent. In fact, in these last four years, we have made the exercise of all power more democratic; for we have begun to bring private autocratic powers into their proper subordination to the public's government. The legend that they were invincibleâ€”above and beyond the processes of a democracyâ€”has been shattered. They have been challenged and beaten. Our progress out of the depression is obvious. But that is not all that you and I mean by the new order of things. Our pledge was not merely to do a patchwork job with secondhand materials. By using the new materials of social justice we have undertaken to erect on the old foundations a more enduring structure for the better use of future generations. In that purpose we have been helped by achievements of mind and spirit. Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays. We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world. This new understanding undermines the old admiration of worldly success as such. We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life. In this process evil things formerly accepted will not be so easily condoned. Hard-headedness will not so easily excuse hardheartedness. We are moving toward an era of good feeling. But we realize that there can be no era of good feeling save among men of good will. For these reasons I am justified in believing that the greatest change we have witnessed has been the change in the moral climate of America. Among men of good will, science and democracy together offer an ever-richer life and everlarger satisfaction to the individual. With this change in our moral climate and our rediscovered ability to improve our economic order, we have set our feet upon the road of enduring progress. Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead? Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way? For "each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." Many voices are heard as we face a great decision. Comfort says, "Tarry a while." Opportunism says, "This is a good spot." Timidity asks, "How difficult is the road ahead?" True, we have come far from the days of stagnation and despair. Vitality has been preserved. Courage and confidence have been restored. Mental and moral horizons have been extended. But our present gains were won under the pressure of more than ordinary circumstances. Advance became imperative under the goad of fear and suffering. The times were on the side of progress. To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose. Let us ask again: Have we reached the goal of our vision of that fourth day of March 1933? Have we found our happy valley? 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 citizensâ€”a substantial part of its whole populationâ€”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 lives 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 lacking 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 hopeâ€”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. If I know aught of the spirit and purpose of our Nation, we will not listen to Comfort, Opportunism, and Timidity. We will carry on. Overwhelmingly, we of the Republic are men and women of good will; men and women who have more than warm hearts of dedication; men and women who have cool heads and willing hands of practical purpose as well. They will insist that every agency of popular government use effective instruments to carry out their will. Government is competent when all who compose it work as trustees for the whole people. It can make constant progress when it keeps abreast of all the facts. It can obtain justified support and legitimate criticism when the people receive true information of all that government does. If I know aught of the will of our people, they will demand that these conditions of effective government shall be created and maintained. They will demand a nation uncorrupted by cancers of injustice and, therefore, strong among the nations in its example of the will to peace. Today we reconsecrate our country to long-cherished ideals in a suddenly changed civilization. In every land there are always at work forces that drive men apart and forces that draw men together. In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people. 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.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 29th, 1940 The Arsenal of democracy radio address from Washington. The arsenal of democracy speech was one of the 30 fire side chats through which Roosevelt spoke to the public over radio. This speech was given when World War II was in full swing though America had not yet joined the war. Hitler was at his height and most of Europe had bowed before the German might. In this speech Roosevelt makes it clear that America could no longer afford to watch the proceedings of the war from the sidelines but should intensify military aid to the allies. This great speech foreshadows America’s eventual entry into the war. The famous phrase “Arsenal of democracy “refers to the Detroit, Michigan area which was rapidly churning out armaments. Full Transcript: My friends: This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk on national security; because the nub of the whole purpose of your President is to keep you now, and your children later, and your grandchildren much later, out of a last-ditch war for the preservation of American independence and all of the things that American independence means to you and to me and to ours. Tonight, in the presence of a world crisis, my mind goes back eight years to a night in the midst of a domestic crisis. It was a time when the wheels of American industry were grinding to a full stop, when the whole banking system of our country had ceased to function. I well remember that while I sat in my study in the White House, preparing to talk with the people of the United States, I had before my eyes the picture of all those Americans with whom I was talking. I saw the workmen in the mills, the mines, the factories; the girl behind the counter the small shopkeeper; the farmer doing his Spring plowing; the widows and the old men wondering about their life's savings. I tried to convey to the great mass of American people what the banking crisis meant to them in their daily lives. Tonight I want to do the same thing, with the same people, in this new crisis which faces America. We met the issue of 1933 with courage and realism. We face this new crisis- this new threat to the security of our nation-with the same courage and realism. Never before since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock has our American civilization been in such danger as now. For on September 27, 1940-this year-by an agreement signed in Berlin. three powerful nations, two in Europe and one in Asia, joined themselves together in the threat that if the United States of America interfered with or blocked the expansion program of these three nations-a program aimed at world control-they would unite in ultimate action against the United States. The Nazi masters of Germany have made it clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe, and then to use the resources of Europe to dominate the rest of the world. It was only three weeks ago that their leader stated this: "There are two worlds that stand opposed to each other." And then in defiant reply to his opponents he said this: "Others are correct when they say: 'With this world we cannot ever reconcile ourselves.' . . . I can beat any other power in the world." So said the leader of the Nazis.
In other words, the Axis not merely admits but the Axis proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy-their philosophy of government- and our philosophy of government. In view of the nature of this undeniable threat, it can be asserted, properly and categorically, that the United States has no right or reason to encourage talk of peace until the day shall come when there is a clear intention on the part of the aggressor nations to abandon all thought of dominating or conquering the world. At this moment the forces of the States that are leagued against all peoples who live in freedom are being held away from our shores. The Germans and the Italians are being blocked on the other side of the Atlantic by the British and by the Greeks, and by thousands of soldiers and sailors who were able to escape from subjugated countries. In Asia the Japanese are being engaged by the Chinese nation in another great defense. In the Pacific Ocean is our fleet. Some of our people like to believe that wars in Europe and in Asia are of no concern to us. But it is a matter of most vital concern to us that European and Asiatic war-makers should not gain control of the oceans which lead to this hemisphere. One hundred and seventeen years ago the Monroe Doctrine was conceived by our government as a measure of defense in the face of a threat against this hemisphere by an alliance in Continental Europe. Thereafter, we stood guard in the Atlantic, with the British as neighbors. There was no treaty. There was no "unwritten agreement." And yet there was the feeling, proven correct by history, that we as neighbors could settle any disputes in peaceful fashion. And the fact is that during the whole of this time the Western Hemisphere has remained free from aggression from Europe or from Asia. Does any one seriously believe that we need to fear attack anywhere in the Americas while a free Britain remains our most powerful naval neighbor in the Atlantic? And does any one seriously believe, on the other hand, that we could rest easy if the Axis powers were our neighbors there? If Great Britain goes down, the Axis powers will control the Continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the high seas-and they will be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere. It is no exaggeration to say that all of us in all the Americas would be living at the point of a gun-a gun loaded with explosive bullets, economic as well as military. We should enter upon a new and terrible era in which the whole world, our hemisphere included, would be run by threats of brute force. And to survive in such a world, we would have to convert ourselves permanently into a militaristic power on the basis of war economy. Some of us like to believe that even if Britain falls, we are still safe, because of the broad expanse of the Atlantic and of the Pacific. But the width of those oceans is not what it was in the days of clipper ships. At one point between Africa and Brazil the distance is less than it is from Washington to Denver, Colorado, five hours for the latest type of bomber. And at the north end of the Pacific Ocean, America and Asia almost touch each other. Why, even today we have planes that could fly from the British Isles to New England and back again without refueling. And remember that the range of the modern bomber is ever being increased. During the past week many people in all parts of the nation have told me what they wanted me to say tonight. Almost all of them expressed a courageous desire to hear the plain truth about the gravity of the situation. One telegram, however, expressed the attitude of the small minority who
want to see no evil and hear no evil, even though they know in their hearts that evil exists. That telegram begged me not to tell again of the ease with which our American cities could be bombed by any hostile power which had gained bases in this Western Hemisphere. The gist of that telegram was: "Please, Mr. President, don't frighten us by telling us the facts." Frankly and definitely there is danger ahead-danger against which we must prepare. But we well know that we cannot escape danger, or the fear of danger, by crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our heads. Some nations of Europe were bound by solemn nonintervention pacts with Germany. Other nations were assured by Germany that they need never fear invasion. Nonintervention pact or not, the fact remains that they were attacked, overrun, thrown into modern slavery at an hour's notice or even without any notice at all. As an exiled leader of one of these nations said to me the other day, "the notice was a minus quantity. It was given to my government two hours after German troops had poured into my country in a hundred places." The fate of these nations tells us what it means to live at the point of a Nazi gun. The Nazis have justified such actions by various pious frauds. One of these frauds is the claim that they are occupying a nation for the purpose of "restoring order." Another is that they are occupying or controlling a nation on the excuse that they are "protecting it" against the aggression of somebody else. For example, Germany has said that she was occupying Belgium to save the Belgians from the British. Would she then hesitate to say to any South American country: "We are occupying you to protect you from aggression by the United States"? Belgium today is being used as an invasion base against Britain, now fighting for its life. And any South American country, in Nazi hands, would always constitute a jumping off place for German attack on any one of the other republics of this hemisphere. Analyze for yourselves the future of two other places even nearer to Germany if the Nazis won. Could Ireland hold out? Would Irish freedom be permitted as an amazing pet exception in an unfree world? Or the islands of the Azores, which still fly the flag of Portugal after five centuries? You and I think of Hawaii as an outpost of defense in the Pacific. And yet the Azores are closer to our shores in the Atlantic than Hawaii is on the other side. There are those who say that the Axis powers would never have any desire to attack the Western Hemisphere. That is the same dangerous form of wishful thinking which has destroyed the powers of resistance of so many conquered peoples. The plain facts are that the Nazis have proclaimed, time and again, that all other races are their inferiors and therefore subject to their orders. And most important of all, the vast resources and wealth of this American hemisphere constitute the most tempting loot in all of the round world. Let us no longer blind ourselves to the undeniable fact that the evil forces which have crushed and undermined and corrupted so many others are already within our own gates. Your government knows much about them and every day is ferreting them out. Their secret emissaries are active in our own and in neighboring countries. They seek to stir up suspicion and dissension, to cause internal strife. They try to turn capital against labor, and vice versa. They try to reawaken long slumbering racial and religious enmities which should have no place in this country. They are active in every group that promotes intolerance. They exploit for their own ends our own natural abhorrence of war. These trouble-breeders have but one purpose. It is to divide our people, to divide them into hostile groups and to destroy our unity and shatter our will to defend ourselves. 117
There are also American citizens, many of them in high places, who, unwittingly in most cases, are aiding and abetting the work of these agents. I do not charge these American citizens with being foreign agents. But I do charge them with doing exactly the kind of work that the dictators want done in the United States. These people not only believe that we can save our own skins by shutting our eyes to the fate of other nations. Some of them go much further than that. They say that we can and should become the friends and even the partners of the Axis powers. Some of them even suggest that we should imitate the methods of the dictatorships. But Americans never can and never will do that. The experience of the past two years has proven beyond doubt that no nation can appease the Nazis. No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender. Even the people of Italy have been forced to become accomplices of the Nazis; but at this moment they do not know how soon they will be embraced to death by their allies. The American appeasers ignore the warning to be found in the fate of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and France. They tell you that the Axis powers are going to win anyway; that all of this bloodshed in the world could be saved, that the United States might just as well throw its influence into the scale of a dictated peace and get the best out of it that we can. They call it a "negotiated peace." Nonsense! Is it a negotiated peace if a gang of outlaws surrounds your community and on threat of extermination makes you pay tribute to save your own skins? Such a dictated peace would be no peace at all. It would be only another armistice, leading to the most gigantic armament race and the most devastating trade wars in all history. And in these contests the Americas would offer the only real resistance to the Axis powers. With all their vaunted efficiency, with all their parade of pious purpose in this war, there are still in their background the concentration camp and the servants of God in chains. The history of recent years proves that the shootings and the chains and the concentration camps are not simply the transient tools but the very altars of modern dictatorships. They may talk of a "new order" in the world, but What they have in mind is only a revival of the oldest and worst tyranny. In that there is no liberty, no religion, no hope. The proposed "new order" is the very opposite of a United States of Europe or a United States of Asia. It is not a government based upon the consent of the governed. It is not a union of ordinary, self-respecting men and women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and pelf to dominate and to enslave the human race. The British people and their allies today are conducting an active war against this unholy alliance. Our own future security is greatly dependent on the outcome of that fight. Our ability to "keep out of war" is going to be affected by that outcome. Thinking in terms of today and tomorrow, I make the direct statement to the American people that there is far less chance of the United States getting into war if we do all we can now to support the nations defending themselves against attack by the Axis than if we acquiesce in their defeat, submit tamely to an Axis victory, and wait our turn to be the object of attack in another war later on. If we are to be completely honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is risk in any course we may take. But I deeply believe that the great majority of our people agree that the course that I advocate involves the least risk now and the greatest hope for world peace in the future. 118
The people of Europe who are defending themselves do not ask w to do their fighting. They ask us for the implements of war, the planes, the tanks, the guns, the freighters which will enable them to fight for their liberty and for our security. Emphatically we must get these weapons to them, get them to them in sufficient volume and quickly enough so that we and our children will be saved the agony and suffering of war which others have had to endure. Let not the defeatists tell us that it is too late. It will never be earlier. Tomorrow will be later than today. Certain facts are self-evident. In a military sense Great Britain and the British Empire are today the spearhead of resistance to world conquest. And they are putting up a fight which will live forever in the story of human gallantry. There is no demand for sending an American expeditionary force outside our own borders. There is no intention by any member of your government to send such a force. You can therefore, nail, nail any talk about sending armies to Europe as deliberate untruth. Our national policy is not directed toward war. Its sole purpose is to keep war away from our country and away from our people. Democracy's fight against world conquest is being greatly aided, and must be more greatly aided, by the rearmament of the United States and by sending every ounce and every ton of munitions and supplies that we can possibly spare to help the defenders who are in the front lines. And it is no more unneutral for us to do that than it is for Sweden, Russia and other nations near Germany to send steel and ore and oil and other war materials into Germany every day in the week. We are planning our own defense with the utmost urgency, and in its vast scale we must integrate the war needs of Britain and the other free nations which are resisting aggression. This is not a matter of sentiment or of controversial personal opinion. It is a matter of realistic, practical military policy, based on the advice of our military experts who are in close touch with existing warfare. These military and naval experts and the members of the Congress and the Administration have a single-minded purpose-the defense of the United States. This nation is making a great effort to produce everything that is necessary in this emergency-and with all possible speed. And this great effort requires great sacrifice. I would ask no one to defend a democracy which in turn would not defend every one in the nation against want and privation. The strength of this nation shall not be diluted by the failure of the government to protect the economic well-being of its citizens. If our capacity to produce is limited by machines, it must ever be remembered that these machines are operated by the skill and the stamina of the workers. As the government is determined to protect the rights of the workers, so the nation has a right to expect that the men who man the machines will discharge their full responsibilities to the urgent needs of defense. The worker possesses the same human dignity and is entitled to the same security of position as the engineer or the manager or the owner. For the workers provide the human power that turns out the destroyers, and the planes and the tanks. The nation expects our defense industries to continue operation without interruption by strikes or lockouts. It expects and insists that management and workers will reconcile their differences by voluntary or legal means, to continue to produce the supplies that are so sorely needed.
And on the economic side of our great defense program, we are, as you know, bending every effort to maintain stability of prices and with that the stability of the cost of living. Nine days ago I announced the setting up of a more effective organization to direct our gigantic efforts to increase the production of munitions. The appropriation of vast sums of money and a well-coordinated executive direction of our defense efforts are not in themselves enough. Guns, planes ships and many other things have to be built in the factories and the arsenals of America. They have to be produced by workers and managers and engineers with the aid of machines which in turn have to be built by hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the land. In this great work there has been splendid cooperation between the government and industry and labor. And I am very thankful. American industrial genius, unmatched throughout all the world in the solution of production problems, has been called upon to bring its resources and its talents into action. Manufacturers of watches, of farm implements, of Linotypes and cash registers and automobiles, and sewing machines and lawn mowers and locomotives, are now making fuses and bomb packing crates and telescope mounts and shells and pistols and tanks. But all of our present efforts are not enough. We must have more ships, more guns, more planesmore of everything. And this can be accomplished only if we discard the notion of "business as usual." This job cannot be done merely by superimposing on the existing productive facilities the added requirements of the nation for defense. Our defense efforts must not be blocked by those who fear the future consequences of surplus plant capacity. The possible consequences of failure of our defense efforts now are much more to be feared. And after the present needs of our defense are past, a proper handling of the country's peacetime needs will require all of the new productive capacity, if not still more. No pessimistic policy about the future of America shall delay the immediate expansion of those industries essential to defense. We need them. I want to make it clear that it is the purpose of the nation to build now with all possible speed every machine, every arsenal, every factory that we need to manufacture our defense material. We have the men-the skill-the wealth-and above all, the will. I am confident that if and when production of consumer or luxury goods in certain industries requires the use of machines and raw materials that are essential for defense purposes, then such production must yield, and will gladly yield, to our primary and compelling purpose. So I appeal to the owners of plants-to the managers-to the workers- to our own government employees-to put every ounce of effort into producing these munitions swiftly and without stint. With this appeal I give you the pledge that all of us who are officers of your government will devote ourselves to the same whole-hearted extent to the great task that lies ahead. As planes and ships and guns and shells are produced, your government. with its defense experts, can then determine how best to use them to defend this hemisphere. The decision as to how much shall be sent abroad and how much shall remain at home must be made on the basis of our overall military necessities. We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war. We have furnished the British great material support and we will furnish far more in the future.
There will be no "bottlenecks" in our determination to aid Great Britain. No dictator, no combination of dictators, will weaken that determination by threats of how they will construe that determination. The British have received invaluable military support from the heroic Greek Army and from the forces of all the governments in exile. Their strength is growing. It is the strength of men and women who value their freedom more highly than they value their lives. I believe that the Axis powers are not going to win this war. I base that belief on the latest and the best of information. We have no excuse for defeatism. We have every good reason for hope- hope for peace, yes, and hope for the defense of our civilization and for the building of a better civilization in the future. I have the profound conviction that the American people are now determined to put forth a mightier effort than they have ever yet made to increase our production of all the implements of defense, to meet the threat to our democratic faith. As President of the United States, I call for that national effort. I call for it in the name of this nation which we love and honor and which we are privileged and proud to serve. I call upon our people with absolute confidence that our common cause will greatly succeed.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Januray 6th, 1941 The Four Freedom Speech. State of Union address delivered to the United States Congress in Washington. This important speech by Roosevelt demonstrates his concern for human rights in the broadest sense of the word. The four freedoms that Roosevelt talks about in the end of his speech are “Freedom of speech, Freedom of religion, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear”. They have a universal appeal. The last two freedoms mentioned above were new and not mentioned in the constitution. Roosevelt’s vision of an ideal world was a place where these four freedoms reigned supreme. These freedoms form the core of modern American liberalism and social security. This speech was delivered when World War II was at its peak. He asks the nation to make greater sacrifices and produce more armaments to help the Allied cause. Full Transcript: Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the 77th Congress: I address you, the members of this new Congress, at a moment unprecedented in the history of the union. I use the word “unprecedented” because at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today. Since the permanent formation of our government under the Constitution in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our domestic affairs. And, fortunately, only one of these -- the four-year war between the States -- ever threatened our national unity. Today, thank God, 130,000,000 Americans in 48 States have forgotten points of the compass in our national unity. It is true that prior to 1914 the United States often has been disturbed by events in other continents. We have even engaged in two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific, for the maintenance of American rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce. But in no case had a serious threat been raised against our national safety or our continued independence. What I seek to convey is the historic truth that the United States as a nation has at all times maintained opposition -- clear, definite opposition -- to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient Chinese wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or for any other part of the Americas. That determination of ours, extending over all these years, was proved, for example, in the early days during the quarter century of wars following the French Revolution. While the Napoleonic struggles did threaten interests of the United States because of the French foothold in the West Indies and in Louisiana, and while we engaged in the War of 1812 to vindicate our right to peaceful trade, it is nevertheless clear that neither France nor Great Britain nor any other nation was aiming at domination of the whole world. And in like fashion, from 1815 to 1914 -- ninety-nine years -- no single war in Europe or in Asia constituted a real threat against our future or against the future of any other American nation.
Except in the Maximilian interlude in Mexico, no foreign power sought to establish itself in this hemisphere. And the strength of the British fleet in the Atlantic has been a friendly strength; it is still a friendly strength. Even when the World War broke out in 1914, it seemed to contain only small threat of danger to our own American future. But as time went on, as we remember, the American people began to visualize what the downfall of democratic nations might mean to our own democracy. We need not overemphasize imperfections in the peace of Versailles. We need not harp on failure of the democracies to deal with problems of world reconstruction. We should remember that the peace of 1919 was far less unjust than the kind of pacification which began even before Munich, and which is being carried on under the new order of tyranny that seeks to spread over every continent today. The American people have unalterably set their faces against that tyranny. I suppose that every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world -- assailed either by arms or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace. During 16 long months this assault has blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of independent nations, great and small. And the assailants are still on the march, threatening other nations, great and small. Therefore, as your President, performing my constitutional duty to "give to the Congress information of the state of the union," I find it unhappily necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders. Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe and Asia, and Africa and AustralAsia will be dominated by conquerors. And let us remember that the total of those populations in those four continents, the total of those populations and their resources greatly exceed the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere -- yes, many times over. In times like these it is immature -- and, incidentally, untrue -- for anybody to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world. No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion -- or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. As a nation we may take pride in the fact that we are soft-hearted; but we cannot afford to be softheaded. We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the "ism" of appeasement. We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests. I have recently pointed out how quickly the tempo of modern warfare could bring into our very midst the physical attack which we must eventually expect if the dictator nations win this war. There is much loose talk of our immunity from immediate and direct invasion from across the seas. Obviously, as long as the British Navy retains its power, no such danger exists. Even if there were no British Navy, it is not probable that any enemy would be stupid enough to attack us by landing troops in the United States from across thousands of miles of ocean, until it had acquired strategic bases from which to operate. 123
But we learn much from the lessons of the past years in Europe -- particularly the lesson of Norway, whose essential seaports were captured by treachery and surprise built up over a series of years. The first phase of the invasion of this hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and by their dupes -and great numbers of them are already here and in Latin America. As long as the aggressor nations maintain the offensive they, not we, will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack. And that is why the future of all the American Republics is today in serious danger. That is why this annual message to the Congress is unique in our history. That is why every member of the executive branch of the government and every member of the Congress face great responsibility, great accountability. The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily -- almost exclusively -- to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency. Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations, large and small. And the justice of morality must and will win in the end. Our national policy is this: First, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to all-inclusive national defense. Secondly, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to full support of all those resolute people everywhere who are resisting aggression and are thereby keeping war away from our hemisphere. By this support we express our determination that the democratic cause shall prevail, and we strengthen the defense and the security of our own nation. Third, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security will never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people's freedom. In the recent national election there was no substantial difference between the two great parties in respect to that national policy. No issue was fought out on this line before the American electorate. And today it is abundantly evident that American citizens everywhere are demanding and supporting speedy and complete action in recognition of obvious danger. Therefore, the immediate need is a swift and driving increase in our armament production. Leaders of industry and labor have responded to our summons. Goals of speed have been set. In some cases these goals are being reached ahead of time. In some cases we are on schedule; in other cases there are slight but not serious delays. And in some cases -- and, I am sorry to say, very important cases -- we are all concerned by the slowness of the accomplishment of our plans. The Army and Navy, however, have made substantial progress during the past year. Actual experience is improving and speeding up our methods of production with every passing day. And today's best is not good enough for tomorrow. I am not satisfied with the progress thus far made. The men in charge of the program represent the best in training, in ability, and in patriotism. They are not satisfied with the progress thus far made. None of us will be satisfied until the job is done.
No matter whether the original goal was set too high or too low, our objective is quicker and better results. To give you two illustrations: We are behind schedule in turning out finished airplanes. We are working day and night to solve the innumerable problems and to catch up. We are ahead of schedule in building warships, but we are working to get even further ahead of that schedule. To change a whole nation from a basis of peacetime production of implements of peace to a basis of wartime production of implements of war is no small task. And the greatest difficulty comes at the beginning of the program, when new tools, new plant facilities, new assembly lines, new shipways must first be constructed before the actual material begins to flow steadily and speedily from them. The Congress of course, must rightly keep itself informed at all times of the progress of the program. However, there is certain information, as the Congress itself will readily recognize, which, in the interests of our own security and those of the nations that we are supporting, must of needs be kept in confidence. New circumstances are constantly begetting new needs for our safety. I shall ask this Congress for greatly increased new appropriations and authorizations to carry on what we have begun. I also ask this Congress for authority and for funds sufficient to manufacture additional munitions and war supplies of many kinds, to be turned over to those nations which are now in actual war with aggressor nations. Our most useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for ourselves. They do not need manpower, but they do need billions of dollars’ worth of the weapons of defense. The time is near when they will not be able to pay for them all in ready cash. We cannot, and we will not, tell them that they must surrender merely because of present inability to pay for the weapons which we know they must have. I do not recommend that we make them a loan of dollars with which to pay for these weapons -a loan to be repaid in dollars. I recommend that we make it possible for those nations to continue to obtain war materials in the United States, fitting their orders into our own program. And nearly all of their material would, if the time ever came, be useful in our own defense. Taking counsel of expert military and naval authorities, considering what is best for our own security, we are free to decide how much should be kept here and how much should be sent abroad to our friends who, by their determined and heroic resistance, are giving us time in which to make ready our own defense. For what we send abroad we shall be repaid, repaid within a reasonable time following the close of hostilities, repaid in similar materials, or at our option in other goods of many kinds which they can produce and which we need. Let us say to the democracies: "We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources, and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. That is our purpose and our pledge." In fulfillment of this purpose we will not be intimidated by the threats of dictators that they will regard as a breach of international law or as an act of war our aid to the democracies which dare
to resist their aggression. Such aid -- Such aid is not an act of war, even if a dictator should unilaterally proclaim it so to be. And when the dictators -- if the dictators -- are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our part. They did not wait for Norway or Belgium or the Netherlands to commit an act of war. Their only interest is in a new one-way international law, which lacks mutuality in its observance and therefore becomes an instrument of oppression. The happiness of future generations of Americans may well depend on how effective and how immediate we can make our aid felt. No one can tell the exact character of the emergency situations that we may be called upon to meet. The nation's hands must not be tied when the nation's life is in danger. Yes, and we must prepare, all of us prepare, to make the sacrifices that the emergency -- almost as serious as war itself -- demands. Whatever stands in the way of speed and efficiency in defense, in defense preparations of any kind, must give way to the national need. A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of business, of labor, and of agriculture to take the lead in stimulating effort, not among other groups but within their own group. The best way of dealing with the few slackers or trouble-makers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and if that fails, to use the sovereignty of government to save government. As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone. Those who man our defenses and those behind them who build our defenses must have the stamina and the courage which come from unshakable belief in the manner of life which they are defending. The mighty action that we are calling for cannot be based on a disregard of all the things worth fighting for. The nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fiber of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect. Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world. For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for those who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all. The enjoyment -- The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living. These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations. Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement. As examples:
We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care. We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it. I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my budget message I will recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying for today. No person should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program, and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation. If the Congress maintains these principles the voters, putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their applause. In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception -- the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
Frankiln D. Roosevelt, December 7th, 1941 Infamy speech delivered to the Congress of the US at Washington DC. This is regarded as one of the best political speeches of the twentieth century. It was delivered a day after Japanâ€™s attack on Pearl Harbor. The outrage of the nation is reflected in this speech. Within one hour of delivering this soul stirring speech the Congress passed a declaration of war against Japan. Only one member voted against the resolution. This is a comparatively short speech just about 6 minutes long. It is packed with emotional appeal and makes it clear that America has no option but to go to war. The speech was broadcast by the radio and was heard by the largest audience in the history of American radio. Full Transcript Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island. Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
Frankiln D. Roosevelt, June 6th, 1944 D-Day prayer speech broadcast over radio from Washington DC. This impassioned speech which was more of a prayer than a speech was broadcast on the evening of D day when Allied troops which included American, British and Canadian troops landed in Normandy in France in order to liberate France from Nazi Germany. On the previous day Roosevelt had broadcast the news that Allied troops had conquered Rome. This prayer was written by Franklin Roosevelt. The original heading was â€œLET our hearts be stoutâ€?. In a unique moment in history the American President asks the nation to join him in prayer for the boys and their families from whom so much was expected and who were fighting in the beaches of Normandy. Around 9000 American soldiers lost their lives in this invasion. In this moving speech the President send up a fervent prayer to God for the success of the Allied mission. His prayer was answered as within a year of the Allied landing on Normandy, they were within reach of victory.
Full Transcript: My Fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts. Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces. And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose. With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.
Obama’s Historic Speeches Barack Obama, October 2002 Speech against the Iraq War Illinois State senator. The Federal Plaza in Chicago. At the time of his now famous anti-war speech on the invasion on Iraq Obama was an Illinois state Senator. Even as far back as October 2002 when Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, Obama spoke out about it with passion and fire echoing the sentiments of many Americans. His prophetic words ”that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda,” proved true. By 2007 most Americans were frustrated by the long drawn out Iraq war which took the lives of thousands of soldiers and was a constant drain on the treasury. From the point of view of his future election campaign Obama’s October 2002 views on the Iraq War would become like a booster shot for his compaign when he was competing with Hillary Clinton and helped to tip the scales in his favor. Hillary had cast her vote in favor of the invasion. Full Transcript: I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don't oppose all wars. My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil. I don't oppose all wars. After September 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.... The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars. So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure that...we vigorously enforce a nonproliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair. The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not â€“ we will not â€“ travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.
Barack Obama, July 27 2004 Democratic Convention Speech in Boston This speech catapulted Barack Obama into the limelight and made him an overnight star. He was just a candidate for the US senate seat in Illinois who was relatively unknown outside his home state. In this speech he introduces himself to the democrats narrating his family background. This speech was given to support John Kelly for the post of President. This stirring speech was one of the highlights of the convention and heralded a new beginning. It generated tremendous media interest as well as resounding applause as delegates chanted his name. The speech is a message of hope against all odds and also asks America to break down all barriers and stand up as one united nation. It displayed Obamaâ€™s phenomenal oratorical ability and his knack of feeling the pulse of the people. Full Transcript: On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British. But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that's shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton's army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential. They're both passed away now. And yet I know that, on this night, they look down on me with great pride. And I stand here today grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams
live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That is the true genius of America, a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted -or at least, most of the time. This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, independents, I say to you, tonight, we have more work to do...... more work to do, for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now they're having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay 7 bucks an hour; more to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back the tears wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on; more to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her who have the grades, have the drive, have the will, but don't have the money to go to college. Now, don't get me wrong, the people I meet in small towns and big cities and diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get a head. And they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you: They don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon. Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things. People don't expect -- people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice. In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the
best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry. John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith and service because they've defined his life. From his heroic service to Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us. John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he offers them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves. John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us. And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option sometimes, but it should never be the first option. You know, a while back, I met a young man named Seamus in a VFW hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, 6'2", 6'3", clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. And as I listened to him explain why he had enlisted -- the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service -- I thought, this young man was all that any of us might ever hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Seamus as well as he's serving us? I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won't be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world. Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.
John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent. If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: "E pluribus unum," out of many, one. Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here, the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't think about it, or health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That's not what I'm talking. I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a
millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead. I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us. America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president. And John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president. And this country will reclaim its promise. And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you.
Barack Obama, 10 February 2007 Announcement that he is running for President When Obama announced that he was seeking the democratic nomination for President he was viewed by many Americans as a severe underdog. A shrewd politician Obama chose the site of the Old State Capitol in Springfield to announce his candidacy for the democratic nomination, evoking memories of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had given his famous house divided speech at the same location. Certain parallels can be drawn between the two leaders though they belong to different eras. Both rose from humble backgrounds and were relatively young when they announced they would be competing for the highest office in the land. They were both comparatively inexperienced in the world of politics and both were viewed initially as unlikely candidates to succeed. Lincoln ushered in change and Obama hopes to do so. Thousands braved the bitter cold to hear Obama speak in Springfield. Full Transcript: Let me begin by saying thanks to all you who've traveled, from far and wide, to brave the cold today. We all made this journey for a reason. It's humbling, but in my heart I know you didn't come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union. That's the journey we're on today. But let me tell you how I came to be here. As most of you know, I am not a native of this great state. I moved to Illinois over two decades ago. I was a young man then, just a year out of college; I knew no one in Chicago, was without money or family connections. But a group of churches had offered me a job as a community organizer for $13,000 a year. And I accepted the job, sight unseen, motivated then by a single, simple, powerful idea -that I might play a small part in building a better America. My work took me to some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. I joined with pastors and laypeople to deal with communities that had been ravaged by plant closings. I saw that the problems people faced weren't simply local in nature -- that the decision to close a steel mill was made by distant executives; that the lack of textbooks and computers in schools could be traced to the skewed priorities of politicians a thousand miles away; and that when a child turns to violence, there's a hole in his heart no government could ever fill. It was in these neighborhoods that I received the best education I ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith. After three years of this work, I went to law school, because I wanted to understand how the law should work for those in need. I became a civil rights lawyer, and taught constitutional law, and after a time, I came to understand that our cherished rights of liberty and equality depend on the active participation of an awakened electorate. It was with these ideas in mind that I arrived in this capital city as a state Senator.
It was here, in Springfield, where I saw all that is America converge -- farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. I made lasting friendships here -- friends that I see in the audience today. It was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable -- that it's possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we're willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst. That's why we were able to reform a death penalty system that was broken. That's why we were able to give health insurance to children in need. That's why we made the tax system more fair and just for working families, and that's why we passed ethics reforms that the cynics said could never, ever be passed. It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people -- where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America. And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness -- a certain audacity -- to this announcement. I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change. The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed. And we should take heart, because we've changed this country before. In the face of tyranny, a band of patriots brought an Empire to its knees. In the face of secession, we unified a nation and set the captives free. In the face of Depression, we put people back to work and lifted millions out of poverty. We welcomed immigrants to our shores, we opened railroads to the west, we landed a man on the moon, and we heard a King's call to let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more -- and it is time for our generation to answer that call. For that is our unyielding faith -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it. That's what Abraham Lincoln understood. He had his doubts. He had his defeats. He had his setbacks. But through his will and his words, he moved a nation and helped free a people. It is because of the millions who rallied to his cause that we are no longer divided, North and South, slave and free. It is because men and women of every race, from every walk of life, continued to march for freedom long after Lincoln was laid to rest, that today we have the chance to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people -- as Americans. All of us know what those challenges are today -- a war with no end, a dependence on oil that threatens our future, schools where too many children aren't learning, and families struggling paycheck to paycheck despite working as hard as they can. We know the challenges. We've heard them. We've talked about them for years. What's stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics -- the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our
preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems. For the last six years we've been told that our mounting debts don't matter, we've been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we've been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants. And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page. We've made some progress already. I was proud to help lead the fight in Congress that led to the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate. But Washington has a long way to go. And it won't be easy. That's why we'll have to set priorities. We'll have to make hard choices. And although government will play a crucial role in bringing about the changes we need, more money and programs alone will not get us where we need to go. Each of us, in our own lives, will have to accept responsibility -- for instilling an ethic of achievement in our children, for adapting to a more competitive economy, for strengthening our communities, and sharing some measure of sacrifice. So let us begin. Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation. Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America. And as our economy changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle class again. Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let's do this. Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term. Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here. Most of all, let's be the generation that never forgets what happened on that September day and confront the terrorists with everything we've got. Politics doesn't have to divide us on this anymore 141
-- we can work together to keep our country safe. I've worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law that will secure and destroy some of the world's deadliest, unguarded weapons. We can work together to track terrorists down with a stronger military, we can tighten the net around their finances, and we can improve our intelligence capabilities. But let us also understand that ultimate victory against our enemies will come only by rebuilding our alliances and exporting those ideals that bring hope and opportunity to millions around the globe. But all of this cannot come to pass until we bring an end to this war in Iraq. Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. Today we grieve for the families who have lost loved ones, the hearts that have been broken, and the young lives that could have been. America, it's time to start bringing our troops home. It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war. That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace. Finally, there is one other thing that is not too late to get right about this war -- and that is the homecoming of the men and women - our veterans -- who have sacrificed the most. Let us honor their valor by providing the care they need and rebuilding the military they love. Let us be the generation that begins this work. I know there are those who don't believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. After all, every four years, candidates from both parties make similar promises, and I expect this year will be no different. All of us running for president will travel around the country offering ten-point plans and making grand speeches; all of us will trumpet those qualities we believe make us uniquely qualified to lead the country. But too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own. That is why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us -- it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice -- to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail. But the life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible. He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction. That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He tells us that there is power in hope. As Lincoln organized the forces arrayed against slavery, he was heard to say: "Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought to battle through." That is our purpose here today. That's why I'm in this race. Not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation. I want to win that next battle -- for justice and opportunity. 142
I want to win that next battle -- for better schools, and better jobs, and health care for all. I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America. And if you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we owe past and future generations, then I'm ready to take up the cause, and march with you, and work with you. Together, starting today, let us finish the work that needs to be done, and usher in a new birth of freedom on this Earth.
Barack Obama, June 2008 Democratic Nomination Victory Speech Barack Obama won the democratic nomination after a spirited fight with Hillary Clinton. He was the first African American nominee of the Democratic Party. Swelling crowds gathered at St Paul Minnesota testifying to the charismatic appeal of Obama. The euphoria among the crowd was infectious and so was the media coverage. His victory symbolized the face of change. One of the major factors that contributed to his victory was his soaring oratory. On June 3rd 2008 he once again swayed the crowd and was looked upon as a symbol of hope. In the speech he showered praises on his opponent Hillary Clinton. Full Transcript: Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end. Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said — because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign — through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President. At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come. That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight. We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning — even in the face of tough odds — is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency — an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she
worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton. There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn’t just about the party in charge of Washington, it’s about the need to change Washington.Ê There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation. All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren’t the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn’t do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say — let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America. In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign. Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign. It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year. It’s not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college — policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.ÊÊÊ And it’s not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians — a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer. So I’ll say this — there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them. Change is a foreign policy that doesn’t begin and end with a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged. I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years — especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored. We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century — terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is.
Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy — tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That’s what the American people want. That’s what change is.Ê Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President. John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy — cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota — he’d understand the kind of change that people are looking for. Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can’t pay the medical bills for a sister who’s ill, he’d understand that she can’t afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That’s the change we need. Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can’t even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he’d understand that we can’t afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future — an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. That’s the change we need. And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he’d understand that we can’t afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That’s the change we need in America. That’s why I’m running for President. The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon — that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first. Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I’ve walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I’ve sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I’ve worked 146
with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington. In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again. So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union. So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity. So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom’s cause. So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that’s better, and kinder, and more just. And so it must be for us. America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love. The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.”
Barack ObamaVictory, November 2008 Speech at Chicago after becoming President Elect Having created history in becoming the first African American President to occupy the White House, President elect Barack Obama chose to deliver his victory speech at Grant Park in his hometown in Chicago. Throughout the election campaign Obama underplayed his race. The famous speech was watched by a huge crowd of around 240,000 who watched electrified as Obama once again mesmerized his audience with his choice of words. Like in his other speeches he repeated certain keywords again and again like Yes We Can. This speech has gone down as one of the most watched and repeated speeches in the world. His speech recalled the likes of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Junior and Abraham Lincoln. His speech was so moving that many including Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey in the audience wept. Above all Obama has made Americans once again realize their self confidence and faith in themselves and their ability to rise to the occasion even in the face of endless troubles and a bleak economic scenario. This is the secret of his success. Full Transcript: Hello, Chicago. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voices could be that difference. It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America! It's the answer that -- that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America. A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I
congratulate him; I congratulate Governor Palin for all that they've achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead. I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next First Lady: Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and I know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters -- thank you so much for the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them. And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe -- the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America. To my chief strategist David Axelrod -- who's been a partner with me every step of the way. To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics -- you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done. But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you. I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give 5 dollars and 10 dollars and 20 dollars to the cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy, who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep. It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth. This is your victory. And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education. There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair. The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President. And we know the government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand. What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other. Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers. In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a Party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours: "We are not enemies but friends...." "Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."ยน And to those Americans who -- whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your President, too. And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those -- To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we've proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow. This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old. She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons: because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can. At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot: Yes we can. When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose: Yes we can. When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved: Yes we can. She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "we shall overcome": Yes we can. A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change: Yes we can. America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made? This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one;Â˛ that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Barack Obama, January 20th 2009 Presidential Inauguration Speech An unprecedented crowd had gathered to watch him breaking all previous attendance records, a testimony to his huge popularity. The Presidential inauguration address by Obama drew some flak from critics who said it fell below expectations. Obamaâ€™s speech was more somber then his electrifying election speeches. It focused on ground realities but also gave hope for the future. He did not hold back any punches and aggressively attacked the failed policies of President Bush as he stood by his side. He touched on most topics including a message to the other countries of the world. His speech reflected humanism and gratitude and went on to promise hope and change. Obamaâ€™s speech lasted for 18 minutes and can be described as forthright and realistic. This speech, like his other speeches time and again harks back to the past. He uses a quote of George Washington and evokes images of the heroic sacrifices in the past. It is an inspiring speech which also takes ground realities into consideration.
Full Transcript My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents. So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans. That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a farreaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the Godgiven promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and
putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do. Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint. We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and
slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace. To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose
father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: "Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)." America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America
Letters written by Lincoln Letter to the headmaster of a school where his son was studying This is a gem of a letter and displays Lincolnâ€™s superb skill with words. The date or year when this letter was written in not known. Though Lincoln himself received very little formal education, he was anxious that his sons receive the best possible education. The letter is filled with words of wisdom which are relevant even today. It contains universal advice which can be applicable to students of any age and country â€œIn school, teach him it is far more honorable to fall than to cheat..... Teach to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him he is wrongâ€? This letter ranks among the best letters written by Abraham Lincoln. A WORD TO TEACHERS "He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just and are not true. But teach him if you can, the wonder of books.. but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hillside. In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fall than to cheat..... Teach to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him he is wrong. Teach him to be gentle with gentlepeople and tough with the tough. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone getting on the bandwagon... Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through. Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad... Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to be beware of too much sweetness.. Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to highest bidders, but never to put a price on his heart and soul. Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob.. and stand and fight if thinks he is right. Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient.. Let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have faith in humankind. This is a big order, but see what you can do. . He is such a fine little fellow my son! - Abraham Lincoln"
LETTER TO HORACE GREELEY This is one of the most famous letters written by Abraham Lincoln. Greeley was the editor of the New York Times. He was extremely influential is shaping public opinion throughout the country. This letter was written at the height of the Civil War. Greeley criticized Lincoln’s policies in his editorial “The prayer of Twenty Million.’ The editorial was addressed directly to Lincoln and urged him to free all slaves. Lincoln’s reply was clear. He once against laid stressed that his foremost concern was to save the Union with or without freeing slaves “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that” At the time of writing the letter Lincoln had already prepared a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation which would bring liberty to millions of slaves.. Executive Mansion, Washington, August 22, 1862. Hon. Horace Greeley: Dear Sir. I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable [sic] in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right. As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. Yours, A. Lincoln
LETTER TO MRS. LYDIA BIXBY This letter was written in November 1864. The flames of the Civil War had engulfed the country and claimed many lives. Everywhere women lost sons, husbands, brothers and fathers. Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew wrote to President Lincoln requesting him to condole Mrs. Lydia Bixby a widow who was supposed to have lost five sons to the war. This moving letter was printed by the Boston Evening Transcript. It was later learnt that Mrs Bixby had lost only two sons in the battlefield, one was a deserter, another taken as prisoner of war and yet another was honorably discharged. This is one of the most quoted letters of Lincoln written with simple but pathetic beauty. It reveals Lincolns’ literary skills in painting a moving picture
Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln LETTER TO JOSHUA SPEED - AUGUST 1855 Joshua Speed was one of Lincoln’s closest friends. Lincoln came into contact with Joshua in Springfield Illinois in the 1830s. Joshua later went back to his home in Kentucky but their friendship blossomed. They remained the best of friends throughout their lives. Lincoln and Speed did not see eye to eye in many topics. One of the bones of contention was the issue of slavery. Speed was brought up in a plantation with many slaves. A year before writing this letter the Congress passed the Kansas- Nebraska Act which favored the institution of slavery. This bill helped to revive Lincoln’s waning interest in public life. Lincoln vehemently opposed this bill. In this letter Lincoln airs his views about the institution of slavery and the inhuman treatment meted out to them. He also stressed on the words of the constitution that “All men are created equal”
Springfield, Illinois August 24, 1855 Dear Speed: You know what a poor correspondent I am. Ever since I received your very agreeable letter of the 22nd. of May I have been intending to write you in answer to it. You suggest that in political action now, you and I would differ. I suppose we would; not quite as much, however, as you may think. You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave -- especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right; very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union. I do oppose the extension of slavery, because my judgment and feelings so prompt me; and I am under no obligation to the contrary. If for this you and I must differ, differ we must. You say if you were President, you would send an army and hang the leaders of the Missouri outrages upon the Kansas elections; still, if Kansas fairly votes herself a slave state, she must be admitted, or the Union must be dissolved. But how if she votes herself a slave State unfairly -- that is, by the very means for which you say you would hang men? Must she still be admitted, or the Union be dissolved? That will be the phase of the question when it first becomes a practical one. In your assumption that there may be a fair decision of the slavery question in Kansas, I plainly see you and I would differ about the Nebraska-law. I look upon that enactment not as a law, but as violence from the beginning. It was conceived in violence, passed in violence, is maintained in violence, and is being executed in violence. I say it was conceived in violence, because the destruction of the Missouri Compromise, under the circumstances, was nothing less than violence. It was passed in violence, because it could not have passed at all but for the votes of many members in violence of the known will of their constituents. It is maintained in violence because the elections since, clearly demand it's repeal, and this demand is openly disregarded. You say men ought to be hung for the way they are executing that law; and I say the way it is being executed is quite as good as any of its antecedents. It is being executed in the precise way which was intended from the first; else why does no Nebraska man express astonishment or condemnation? Poor Reeder is the only public man who has been silly enough to believe that any thing like fairness was ever intended; and he has been bravely undeceived. That Kansas will form a Slave Constitution, and, with it, will ask to be admitted into the Union, I take to be an already settled question; and so settled by the very means you so pointedly condemn. By every principle of law, ever held by any court, North or South, every negro taken to Kansas is free; yet, in utter disregard of this -- in the spirit of violence merely -- that beautiful Legislature gravely passes a law to hang men who shall venture to inform a negro of his legal rights. This is the substance, and real object of the law. If, like Haman, they should hang upon the gallows of their own building, I shall not be among the mourners for their fate.
In my humble sphere, I shall advocate the restoration of the Missouri Compromise, so long as Kansas remains a territory; and when, by all these foul means, it seeks to come into the Union as a Slave-state, I shall oppose it. I am very loth, in any case, to withhold my assent to the enjoyment of property acquired, or located, in good faith; but I do not admit that good faith, in taking a negro to Kansas, to be held in slavery, is a possibility with any man. Any man who has sense enough to be the controller of his own property, has too much sense to misunderstand the outrageous character of this whole Nebraska business. But I digress. In my opposition to the admission of Kansas I shall have some company; but we may be beaten. If we are, I shall not, on that account, attempt to dissolve the Union. On the contrary, if we succeed, there will be enough of us to take care of the Union. I think it probable, however, we shall be beaten. Standing as a unit among yourselves, you can, directly, and indirectly, bribe enough of our men to carry the day -- as you could on an open proposition to establish monarchy. Get hold of some man in the North, whose position and ability is such, that he can make the support of your measure -- whatever it may be -- a democratic party necessity, and the thing is done. Appropos [sic] of this, let me tell you an anecdote. Douglas introduced the Nebraska bill in January. In February afterwards, there was a call session of the Illinois Legislature. Of the one hundred members composing the two branches of that body, about seventy were democrats. These latter held a caucus, in which the Nebraska bill was talked of, if not formally discussed. It was thereby discovered that just three, and no more, were in favor of the measure. In a day of two Dougla's [sic] orders came on to have resolutions passed approving the bill; and they were passed by large majorities!!! The truth of this is vouched for by a bolting democratic member. The masses too, democratic as well as whig, were even, nearer unanamous [sic] against it; but as soon as the party necessity of supporting it, became apparent, the way the democracy began to see the wisdom and justice of it, was perfectly astonishing. You say if Kansas fairly votes herself a free state, as a Christian you will rather rejoice at it. All decent slaveholders talk that way; and I do not doubt their candor. But they never vote that way. Although in a private letter, or conversation, you will express your preference that Kansas shall be free, you would vote for no man for Congress who would say the same thing publicly. No such man could be elected from any district in a slave-state. You think Stringfellow & Co. ought to be hung; and yet, at the next presidential election you will vote for the exact type and representative of Stringfellow. The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class, among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters, as you are the master of your own negroes. You inquire where I now stand. That is a disputed point -- I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs, and that I am an abolitionist. When I was in Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso as good as forty times, and I never heard of any one attempting to unwhig me for that. I now do no more than oppose the extension of slavery. I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic]. Mary will probably pass a day to two in Louisville in October. My kindest regards to Mrs. Speed. On the leading subject of this letter, I have more of her sympathy that I have of yours. And yet let me say I am Yours friend forever A. Lincoln
Roosevelt as Author Looking Forward The book is compiled from Franklin Rooseveltâ€™s articles and speeches and was first published in 1933, the year Roosevelt came to power. Written in clear but blunt prose, the book became a New York Times bestseller. He brings his incisive mind and lucid prose to write about the events which led the Great Depression paralyzing the economy. In the book he makes a strong attack on the banking system prevalent in his day. He also takes the government to task for its failure to prevent America from sliding down to the Great Depression. The book also contains his prescription for the economic crisis that gripped the country in the form of reforms and New Deal. Looking Forward includes chapters such as "Reappraisal of Values," "Need for Economic Planning," "Reorganization of Government," "Expenditure and Taxation," "The Power Issue," "Banking and Speculation," and "National and International Unity". The book reveals Rooseveltâ€™s firm grasp over the problems prevailing in America and their remedy. This book is of great value today as we face a similar crisis and we can look back to Roosevelt for inspiration.
Barack Obama as Author Dreams of My Father - A story of Race and Inheritance This compelling and gripping book was written by Barack Obama when he was a political unknown. At the time he had yet to make a name for himself. When Obama was elected as the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, he was offered a book contract. The book which he went about writing took the shape of a personal memoir as the author tried to come to grips with his fractured and unusual identity. This book opens a window and gives you the reader unfiltered insights into Obama the man and the influences in his life that made him who he is today. The story begins in New York where he comes to know that his father whom he hardly knew had been killed in a car accident. This piece of news makes young Obama delve into the past in his quest for his roots. He retraces his family’s colorful history. The story brings to life how his mother’s family migrated to Hawaii from Kansas and how she fell in love with his father overcoming immense racial barriers. The tragedy of the short lived marriage as reality pushes back romance and his father leaves back to his native Kenya. Brought up by his mother and maternal grandparents, he dwells briefly on his life in Indonesia where he first became aware that he was different from others because of the color of his skin. He returned to Hawaii when he was ten years old. As the story unfolds we learn about his unusual childhood with an absent father and the racial tensions he experienced at school. Obama was to meet his father only once when he came for a month long holiday to Hawaii in 1971. Obama poignantly writes about the pangs of growing up as he dabbles in drugs and alcohol. The books take us to his life in Chicago where he became a community organizer and came into contact with people from all walks of life. His voyage of discovery ends when he goes to Kenya to meet his father’s family. There he forms lasting attachments and discovers wells of emotional sustenance and comes face to face with his father’s legacy. We get vivid pictures of life in Kenya ,a country grappling with poverty and tribal conflicts but where people still retain a zest for life with their never say die spirit. When the book was published it recieved rave reviews from the media. Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison hailed it as "A writer in my high esteem" She praised "his ability to reflect on this extraordinary mesh of experiences that he has had, some familiar and some not, and to really meditate on that the way he does, and to set up scenes in narrative structure, dialogue, conversation--all of these things that you don't often see, obviously, in the routine political memoir biography. It's unique. It's his. There are no other ones like that." Waxing eloquent Time columnist Joe Klein wrote “"may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American 163
politician,” Michiko Kakutani, the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The New York Times, described it as "the most evocative, lyrical and candid autobiography written by a future president.” The book was republished in 2004 when it became an instant best seller From the book: “What is a family? Is it just a genetic chain, parents and offspring, people like me? Or is it a social construct, an economic unit, optimal for child rearing and divisions of labor? Or is it something else entirely: a store of shared memories, say? An ambit of love? A reach across the void?” -Barack Obama
The Audacity of Hope - Thoughts on reclaiming the American dream This is Barack Obama’s second book and treads on different territory from the first. The book was published in 2006 when Barack Obama was well into the political world. The title of the book is taken from a sermon by Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Audacity of Hope was also the title of the keynote address that Obama delivered in the 2004 Democratic Convention which brought him instant stardom. This book is more like a political document and gives you Obama’s views on most contemporary topics affecting his country including education, energy, healthcare, foreign affairs including the controversial war with Iraq, race, religion, economy etc. which were later to become part of his election campaign. The narrative is interesting and the style lucid and flowing. Most of his views are interspersed with interesting anecdotes from his everyday life. This book gives us fascinating insights into his life story. The book has nine chapters. The first deals with “Republicans and Democrats” The tone throughout the book is one of cautious liberalism. The book was extremely well received and was a big hit. By the fall of 2006 it made it to the number one spot in the bestseller’s list on both New York Times and Amazon.com. The book had the honor of being endorsed by television celebrity Oprah Winfrey. Such was the popularity of the book that it remained in the New York Times Bestseller list for 30 weeks. However critics were not so enthusiastic. According to the The New York Times, “Portions of the volume read like out-takes from a stump speech, and the bulk of it is devoted to laying out Mr. Obama’s policy positions on a host of issues, from education to health care to the war in Iraq". Reviewer Michael Tomasky observed that the book could not boast of "boldly innovative policy prescriptions that will lead the Democrats out of their wilderness," but does show Obama's potential to "construct a new politics that is progressive but grounded in civic traditions that speak to a wider range of Americans." It was translated into many languages including German, French and Spanish. From the book: , “I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage. The victories that the 60’s -Barack Obama
These were turbulent times in American history. Times that would challenge even the most talented of leaders. But for every such age of near national apocalypse a leader presented himself that inspired hope and lead to triumph over adversity. On 14th February America celebrated the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln one of the greatest leaders the nation has ever produced. This plain spoken man with haunting eyes did more to preserve the nation from disintegrating than any other man in America. Acting as a beacon of light he guided the nation skillfully out of its worst nightmare in the shape of a civil war. He freed the shackles of millions of slaves and brought to them a life of freedom, hope and dignity. Gifted with intelligence and determination he rose from a humble background to occupy the most powerful office in the land. He realized the power of language and the music of words and his speeches reflect wisdom and a logical development of thought. His use of words cast a spell on his audience. He is perhaps the most quoted President who has voiced his opinion on a wide range of subjects. It is perhaps fitting that Barack Obama, the first African- American President of the United States traveled to Illinois to pay homage to this great son of America and joined in the birthday celebrations. The present financial crisis that has gripped America and the stimulus bill that President Obama has signed into law finds an echo in another era and another man. The time was the Great Depression and the man at the helm was Franklin D Roosevelt or FDR. Among the giants of the twentieth century Franklin D Roosevelt stands tall. He did more to give shape to the America we know today than any other leader of the twentieth century. In the dark days of the Great Depression he stood out like a beacon of light guiding the nation to better days ahead. A man of action, his New Deal brought in sweeping economic reforms and helped a battered nation face the future with confidence. A champion of democracy, his inspiring leadership brought victory to the Allies and spelled the doom of Fascism. Overcoming a serious disability Roosevelt proved that there was nothing impossible in this world. His stirring speeches and wise words charmed a nation and are relevant even today. He was one of the first Presidents to reach millions of people all over the world through radio. His fireside chats helped him to communicate directly with the people of the nation. The world witnessed history unfold as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream came true as America’s first African American President arrived. Within a relative short span of time he has become a cult figure, a face which heralds hope and change not merely in America but all around the world. His meteoric rise to power is like a fairy tale come true. Perhaps no other political figure in recent history has generated such excitement and interest as Barack Obama. One of the greatest reasons for his success is his superb ability to use words. His speeches and quotes are like poetry. Through his oratory he has succeeded in seducing the masses with his charisma as well as majestic delivery. He has galvanized a nation to tap their true potential with three simple words “YES WE CAN”.
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These were turbulent times in American history. Times that would challenge even the most talented of leaders. But for every such age of near...
Published on Mar 8, 2009
These were turbulent times in American history. Times that would challenge even the most talented of leaders. But for every such age of near...