As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
Presidential Quote of the Week
September 17th, 2014
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945), 32nd President of the United States
As the United States goes into its full stride, we must always be on guard against misconceptions which will arise, some of them naturally, or which will be planted among us by our enemies. We must guard against complacency. We must not underrate the enemy. He is powerful and cunning—and cruel and ruthless. He will stop at nothing that gives him a chance to kill and to destroy. He has trained his people to believe that their highest perfection is achieved by waging war. For many years he has prepared for this very conflict- planning, and plotting, and training, arming, and fighting. We have already tasted defeat. We may suffer further setbacks. We must face the fact of a hard war, a long war, a bloody war, a costly war. We must, on the other hand, guard against defeatism. That has been one of the chief weapons of Hitler’s propaganda machine—used time and again with deadly results. It will not be used successfully on the American people. We must guard against divisions among ourselves and among all the other United Nations. We must be particularly vigilant against racial discrimination in any of its ugly forms. Hitler will try again to breed mistrust and suspicion between one individual and another, one group and another, one race and another, one Government and another. He will try to use the same technique of falsehood and rumor-mongering with which he divided France from Britain. He is trying to do this with us even now. But he will find a unity of will and purpose against him, which will persevere until the destruction of all his black designs upon the freedom and safety of the people of the world. We cannot wage this war in a defensive spirit. As our power and our resources are fully mobilized, we shall carry the attack against the enemy—we shall hit him and hit him again wherever and whenever we can reach him. – State of the Union Address, January 6, 1942
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in January 1882 in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. His parents were from wealthy old New York families of Dutch and French ancestry, and Franklin was their only child. He grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. He went to Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard, during the same time that his fifth cousin Theodore Roosevelt became president. He attended Columbia Law School, and although he did not graduate, he passed the New York State Bar exam, and landed a job with a prestigious Wall Street corporate law firm.
In 1910, Roosevelt ran for the New York State Senate, capitalizing on the Roosevelt name, and two years later was re-elected to a second term. He resigned from that position to accept an appointment as Assistant U. S. Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson. At the end of that term, he returned to his private law practice.
In August 1921, while vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, Roosevelt contracted polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down.
In 1928, Roosevelt ran for and was narrowly elected Governor of New York. Two years later, he was re-elected to a second term by a wide margin. Sensing a vulnerability of President Hoover, in 1932 Roosevelt ran for the office of President of the United States. He carried all but six states. During his historic four terms, he established the “New Deal” which helped to pull the nation out of the Great Depression. Also during his terms, the nation was thrust into World War II in Europe and the Pacific. By 1943, it was apparent that the Allies would ultimately defeat, or at least stalemate, Nazi Germany, then Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to iron out peace and European-division agreements. Much of today’s foreign policy descends from decisions made at the various conferences between the “Big Three.”
In April 1945, during his fourth term of office, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died. He is buried in the Rose Garden of the Springwood estate, the family home in Hyde Park, New York.
Roosevelt was married to Eleanor, and they had six children. The Roosevelts were Episcopalians.
Featured Heritage Resource
God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson
By Vincent Phillip Muñoz
Did the Founding Fathers intend to build a “wall of separation” between church and state? Are public Ten Commandments displays or the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance consistent with the Founders’ understandings of religious freedom? In God and the Founders, Dr. Vincent Phillip Muñoz answers these questions by providing new, comprehensive interpretations of James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. By analyzing Madison’s, Washington’s, and Jefferson’s public documents, private writings, and political actions, Muñoz explains the Founders’ competing church-state political philosophies. Muñoz explores how Madison, Washington, and Jefferson agreed and disagreed by showing how their different principles of religious freedom would decide the Supreme Court’s most important First Amendment religion cases. God and the Founders answers the question, “What would the Founders do?” for the most pressing church-state issues of our time, including prayer in public schools, government support of religion, and legal burdens on individual’s religious conscience.
Our Nation’s Godly Heritage
September 17th, 2014
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), First Lady, Humanitarian
The important thing is neither our nationality nor the religion you professed, but how your faith translated itself in your life.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in October 1884 in New York City, into a world of immense wealth and privilege. Her parents died when she was a child, and she was reared in the household of her maternal grandmother. She was tutored privately, and at age 15, went to Allenswood Academy, a private finishing school outside London, England. At age 17, she returned to the United States, ending her formal education, and was presented at a debutante ball.
In the summer of 1902, Eleanor encountered her father’s fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on a train to Tivoli, New York. The two began a secret correspondence and romance and were engaged the following year. She married Franklin on St. Patrick’s Day 1905, given away by President Theodore Roosevelt. She and Franklin ultimately had six children. She considered herself ill-suited to motherhood, however. Both she and her husband had relationships outside of the marriage.
She was a constant figure at her husband’s side during his run for and service as President of the United States. She confessed that she did not particularly enjoy the role of First Lady, which traditionally had been restricted to domesticity and being the hostess. She engaged herself in political activism, including in civil rights. She became active with the United Nations Commission on Civil Rights and chaired President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. In post-White House years, she was an often-booked speaker at colleges and universities, and received a total of 35 honorary degrees.
She died at the age of 78 from cardiac failure and is buried at the family home in Hyde Park, New York. She was Episcopalian.
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