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In the relatively short span of 25 years from his first national campaign in 1920 to his death in the first year of his fourth term as President in 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered hundreds of speeches, many of them masterly orations.
Perhaps the finest speechmaker in American history, FDR was a consummate expert at reading his audience. He could be dazzlingly informal, imperiously statesmanlike, witheringly sarcastic, stern, and serious, and when the occasion permitted, outright funny. Though his audiences often included more than 30 million listeners in America and millions more around the world, he succeeded in doing what so many speakers strive for and so few accomplish he left his listeners with the feeling that he was speaking to them alone.
This representative collection of 27 of FDR's finest speeches recalls a number of momentous events in his political career and the life of the nation. Included are his dramatic and inspirational First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1933) in which he told the nation that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; his first "Fireside Chat" (March 12, 1933) over the radio; his dramatic War Message to Congress (December 8, 1941) following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ("a day that will live in infamy"); his Fourth Inaugural Address (January 20, 1945); and many more.
Assembled here in one convenient volume, these speeches provide students of history, politics, and rhetoric, as well as general readers, with an immensely useful reference, a wealth of fine oration, and a valuable window on the Roosevelt years.