your online library and language lab
Contents > Author > Franklin D. Roosevelt > Fourth Inaugural Address, 1945 1882- 1945
Previous Next

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fourth Inaugural Address, 1945
printer friendly version
Saturday, January 20, 1945

Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand
and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration
be simple and its words brief.

We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through
a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage? of our resolve?
of our wisdom? our essential democracy.

If we meet that test? successfully and honorably? we shall perform
a service of historic importance which men and women and children
will honor throughout all time.

As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in
the presence of my fellow countrymen? in the presence of our God?
I know that it is America's purpose that we shall not fail.

In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for
a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work
and fight for total victory in war.

We can and we will achieve such a peace.

We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately?
but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes? but they must
never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or
abandonment of moral principle.

I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in
days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: "Things
in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising
toward the heights? then all will seem to reverse itself and start
downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of
civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through
the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always
has an upward trend."

Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is
not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all
manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build
our solid structure of democracy.

And so today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons?
at a fearful cost? and we shall profit by them.

We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that
our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other
nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men,
not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.

We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the
human community.

We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that
"The only way to have a friend is to be one."

We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion
and mistrust or with fear. We can gain it only if we proceed
with the understanding, the confidence, and the courage which
flow from conviction.

The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has
given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to
strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to
our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples
in an anguished world.

So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly?
to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for
all our fellow men? to the achievement of His will to peace on

Previous Next

23389255 visitors
· 8908 texts · 2350 recordings · 957 authors · 194 readers

· Home · Index · Audio Clips · Links · Feedback · About Us · Contact Us ·

Copyright © All Rights Reserved.

Warning: Unknown: Your script possibly relies on a session side-effect which existed until PHP 4.2.3. Please be advised that the session extension does not consider global variables as a source of data, unless register_globals is enabled. You can disable this functionality and this warning by setting session.bug_compat_42 or session.bug_compat_warn to off, respectively in Unknown on line 0