First inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt
|File:Flickr - USCapitol - Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inauguration.jpg|
|Date||March 4, 1933|
|Also known as||
President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt|
Charles Evans Hughes
John Nance Garner
The first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 32nd President of the United States was held on Saturday, March 4, 1933. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President and John Nance Garner as Vice President. It was the last inauguration to be held on the prescribed date of March 4; under the terms of the Twentieth Amendment, all subsequent inaugurations have taken place on January 20. The inauguration took place in the wake of Democrat Roosevelt's landslide victory over Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election. With the nation in the grips of the Great Depression, the new president's inaugural speech was awaited with great anticipation. Broadcast nationwide on several radio networks, the speech was heard by tens of millions of Americans, and set the stage for Roosevelt's urgent efforts to respond to the crisis.
The swearing-in ceremony took place on the East Portico of the United States Capitol, with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administering the oath of office. Roosevelt wore a morning coat and striped trousers for the inauguration, and took the oath with his hand on his family Bible, open to I Corinthians 13. Published in 1686 in Dutch, it remains the oldest Bible ever used in an inaugural ceremony, as well as the only one not in English, and was used by Roosevelt for his 1929 and 1931 inaugurations as Governor of New York as well as for his subsequent presidential inaugurations.
After taking the oath of office, Roosevelt proceeded to deliver his 1,883-word, 20 minute-long inaugural address, best known for his famously pointed reference to "fear itself" in one of its first lines:
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
Addressing himself to the causes of the economic crisis and its moral dimensions, Roosevelt placed blame squarely on the greed and shortsightedness of bankers and businessmen, as seen in the following excerpts:
...rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
Roosevelt then turned, in the following excerpts, to the daunting issue of unemployment, which had reached a staggering 25 percent when he assumed office:
...the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
After touching briefly on foreign relations — "the policy of the good neighbor — the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others" — Roosevelt turned again to the economic crisis, assuring his countrymen that he would act swiftly and with determination:
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken Nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
After the inaugural address, a woman by the name Sarah Love said “Any man who can talk like that in times like these is worthy of every ounce of support a true American has.”  Love's quote is reflective of the popular sentiment felt for Roosevelt’s dynamic, confident, and inspiring oratory.
Close aide Raymond Moley was responsible for crafting the speech, as he did many of Roosevelt's speeches - the idea of likening Roosevelt's coming task to commanding a war effort originated from Moley.
The day after his inauguration, Roosevelt assembled a special session of Congress to declare a four-day bank holiday, and on March 9 signed the Emergency Banking Act, which provided a mechanism for reopening. He continued on for what became his First Hundred Days of the New Deal.