What Did FDR Promise in His First Inaugural Address?

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In his first inaugural address in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised that he would take action with detailed measures to combat the Great Depression. He also promised that if normal public procedure was not effective enough, he was prepared to take upon himself broad executive power to meet the emergency.

Though FDR did not elaborate in detail on the measures he intended to take, he alluded to certain areas in which change was needed. One of the most important of these, he claimed, was the need to put people to work. He mentioned direct recruiting by the government as one means to eliminate unemployment. He also emphasized the protection of small homes and farms and that Federal, state and local governments should unify in relief efforts. He called for strict supervision of banking, an end to speculation with the money of others and provisions for a sound currency. Though he acknowledged the importance of international trade, he said that international trade relations were of secondary importance to a sound national economy.

In closing, Roosevelt likened his declaration of war on the Great Depression to a declaration of war on an aggressive foreign power. He assured the public that the Constitution was practical enough to encompass the extraordinary needs of a situation like the Great Depression. He called for the same powers of executive privilege a president in wartime would call for, according to PBS.