This day in history - September 30, 1934 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers one of his Fireside Chats regarding the state of unemployment and government's role in help put the economy back on track.
September 30, 2011

FDR - contending with reactionary lawyers and political editors.

On this day of September in 1934, Presidental Roosevelt was delivering one of his soon-to-become trademark Fireside Chats, a semi-regular report to the people on matters which affected them.

This Chat was about the unemployment situation and what possible role the Government would play in helping jump-start the economy and stimulating jobs.

Then as now, there seemed to be a vocal minority who screamed Socialism, Dictatorship and Government meddling in Private Enterprise. FDR heard it all before.

FDR: “Nearly all Americans are sensible and calm people. We do not get greatly excited nor is our peace of mind disturbed, whether we be businessmen or workers or farmers, by awesome pronouncements concerning the unconstitutionality of some of our measures of recovery and relief and reform. We are not frightened by reactionary lawyers or political editors. All of these cries have been heard before. More than twenty years ago, when Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were attempting to correct abuses in our national life, the great Chief Justice White said:

"There is great danger it seems to me to arise from the constant habit which prevails where anything is opposed or objected to, of referring without rhyme or reason to the Constitution as a means of preventing its accomplishment, thus creating the general impression that the Constitution is but a barrier to progress instead of being the broad highway through which alone true progress may be enjoyed."

In our efforts for recovery we have avoided on the one hand the theory that business should and must be taken over into an all-embracing Government. We have avoided on the other hand the equally untenable theory that it is an interference with liberty to offer reasonable help when private enterprise is in need of help. The course we have followed fits the American practice of Government - a practice of taking action step by step, of regulating only to meet concrete needs - a practice of courageous recognition of change. I believe with Abraham Lincoln, that "The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities."

Further evidence nothing much has changed.

Here is the complete Fireside Chat of September 30, 1934.

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