Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Franklin D. Roosevelt, fully Franklin Delano Roosevelt, aka FDR

American Politician, 32nd President of the United States, only American President elected to more than two terms

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward... A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards."

"New ideas can be good or bad, just the same as old ones."

"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it."

"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 minister to ourselves and to our fellow men."

"Democracy, the practice of self-government, is a covenant among free men to respect the rights and liberties of their fellows."

"Freedom to learn is the first necessity of guaranteeing that man himself shall be self-reliant enough to be free."

"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."

"Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged."

"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."

"In the truest sense freedom cannot be bestowed, it must be achieved."

"It is a good thing to demand liberty for ourselves and for those who agree with us, but it is a better thing and a rarer thing to give liberty to others who do not agree."

"Liberty requires opportunity to make a living - a living which give man not only enough to live by, but something to live for."

"Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force."

"Peace, like charity, begins at home."

"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth."

"Nobody will every deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves - and the only way they could do that is by not voting."

"The ablest man I ever met is the man you think you are."

"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. 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."

"The fate of America cannot depend on any one man. The greatness of American is grounded in principles and not on any single personality."

"The future lies with those wise political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in government than in politics."

"The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."

"The motto of war is: "Let the strong survive; let the weak die." The motto of peace is: "Let the strong help the weak to survive.""

"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."

"True wealth is not a static thing. It is a living thing made out of the disposition of men to create and to distribute the good things of life with rising standards of living."

"We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions - bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion."

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first freedom is 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 worldwide 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."

"You cannot organize civilization around the core of militarism and at the same time expect reason to control human destinies."

"Be sincere; be brief; be seated."

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

"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."

"Judge me by the enemies I’ve made."

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith."

"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still."

"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 their own way everywhere in the world. The third freedom is from want everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear everywhere in the world."

"Charity literally translated from the original means love, the love that understands, that does not merely share the wealth of the giver, but in true sympathy and wisdom helps men to help themselves. "

"Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. "

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. "

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. "

"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."

"We have undertaken a new order of things; yet we progress to it under the framework and in the spirit and intent of the American Constitution. We have proceeded throughout the Nation a measurable distance on the road toward this new order."

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad."

"A dark old world was devastated by wars between conflicting religions. A dark modern world faces wars between conflicting economic and political fanaticisms in which are intertwined race hatreds"

"A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done."

"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."

"A great man left a watchword that we can well repeat: There is no indispensable man."

"A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards."

"Above all, try something."

"A war of ideas can no more be won without books than a naval war can be won without ships. Books, like ships, have the toughest armor, the longest cruising range, and mount the most powerful guns."

"A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted - in the air. A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward. A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. A liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest-at the command - of his head."