The President is the nation’s Number One Voice. When
he speaks, he speaks for America.
—James Reston, New York Times Columnist
On March 4, 1933, the date of his first inaugural as President, Franklin Roosevelt with outgoing President Hoover sitting by his side did not merely assent when Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes asked the words in the Constitution; instead the incoming Chief Executive repeated each phrase before adding his own, “I do.” Then turning to the crowd, he declared:
This is a day of national consecration, and I am certain that many Ameri-
cans expect that on my induction into the presidency I will address them
with a candor and a decision which our present situation impels.
This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper…
Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear it-
self—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed
efforts to convert retreat into advance.1
Indeed, the nation was in shambles. At fifty-one years of age, Roosevelt, despite the debilitating effects of polio, was a vigorous, healthy bull of a man, muscular and strong especially in his upper torso. Ready to work long, late hours into the night, he could function well for days at a time with little sleep. At first there was no overall plan or grand strategy; every crisis would be dealt with as it arose. The time called for action of almost any sort, and he was determined to supply it.