March 4, 2015

On March 4, 1933, the news media described Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential inauguration.

Front page news from Oregon’s Capital Journal:


His inaugural speech is remembered for the words: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”


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Here is newsreel footage of the famous quote:

“…on March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States for the first time. As he approached the rostrum to take the oath of office at the Capitol, he braced himself on his son James’s arm. Breaking precedent, he recited the entire oath, instead of simply repeating ‘I do.’ Then, as the crowd grew quiet, he opened his inaugural address.

The new President was addressing a nation that was struggling amidst the greatest economic depression in its history. Roosevelt offered his fellow Americans reassurance: ‘This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive, and will prosper.’ Then, in bold words that reverberate in public memory, he proclaimed, ‘…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’

— “From the Museum
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

Even before the inauguration was over, the Universal Newspaper Newsreel service sent film from Washington, DC to New York by airplane.

Their newsreel began with these words:

“250,000 people are in Washington for the inauguration. But for those unable to get there, Universal Newspaper Newsreel is rushing pictures of the epic ceremony by the fastest air express plane in the country. The speedy plane takes off, and soars over the national capital.

….At the airport, a fast car with police escort is waiting, and the film is transferred almost as soon as the plane touches the ground. No bid is overlooked in the race against time to serve the newsreel public….”

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