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Video transcript

hello David hello Kim so today what we're doing is taking a look at this speech by one of my favorite presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt which he gave at his inauguration in 1933 and I think what's really important about looking at a speech like this is not only that we can learn to analyze this as a primary source which will be helpful for thinking about it historically but also because I think it's really useful to be able to look at a presidential speech or a speech given by any politician and understand what kind of claims they're making and how they're making them so Kim before we go any further what what even is a primary source what's the difference between a primary and a secondary source great questions so a primary source is a document that takes a look at an event from the perspective of someone who was there so a primary source could be lots of things it could be a photograph taking by someone who was perhaps attending a political rally it could be a diary of maybe someone who was active in the women's rights movement in the 19th century certainly any speech or even would say like a an oral history conversation and and I've mentioned a lot of significant things here but it also doesn't even have to be something that is connected with a significant person or a famous event it could be a shopping list right if you are studying the consumption habits of someone who lives in the 1950s what they bought at the grocery store would tell you a lot about what they ate what they could spend so a primary source is kind of the real meat of research material that shows you what people at the time we're thinking okay so a primary source is an artifact left behind by someone who was they're exactly what is the secondary source so a secondary source is an interpretation so say I'm a historian which I happen to be oh my goodness what a coincidence so I have done the work of digging up a bunch of primary sources and then you look at all of them and see what they have in common for example so maybe I'm writing about Abraham Lincoln and I get a lot of photographs of Lincoln I get a lot of writings by Lincoln and his contemporaries and I go through all of them and I come up with my interpretation of what was going on in Lincoln's life so I write a book on Lincoln by Kim um until now and that's my interpretation okay right so the things that I'm interested in say Lincoln's religion or lack thereof might not be the same things that another historian would be interested say they're interested in Lincoln's foreign policy so my interpretation is just one way of looking at those primary sources where another historian might have a completely different interpretation what's also important about secondary sources is that I wasn't there right I never talked to Lincoln he you know died more than 100 years before I was born which means that you can only trust me so much you can instead maybe get a much clearer picture of what Lincoln was really thinking by reading his own words so trusts secondary sources about as far as you can throw them well maybe trust all sources about as far as you can throw them right because everyone at every time has their own perspective and so the ideas of someone who lived in the 19th century are going to be different than the ideas of someone who lives now and you only know as much as you can know right you're only as informed as the information that you have so you really have to take everything with a grain of salt and compare it with other sources from its time Pierre and other sources later on to get a sense of what's important so you're saying that you might have a different perspective on Lincoln than another Lincoln scholar but that Lincoln's writings themselves also contain Lincoln's own biases from his lifetime right okay so what are we doing with Roosevelt's inaugural address here all right so let's take a look at this inaugural address as though we're historians right we're going to sit down and really get into the the feeling of the Great Depression all right we're going to get depressed all right I'm ready so we've determined that because he was there and because this is a speech delivered by him that this speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is a primary source right and it's a great way to look at the Great Depression right if we want to know what people are thinking about it's very important to see what the President of the United States has to say when he's been elected so David I know that you've been dying to read this in your terrific impression of Roosevelt so I'm going to turn it over to you to get a sense of what Roosevelt has to say okay I'm going to scoot back from the mic I am certain and my fellow Americans expected on my induction into the presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel this is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth the whole truth frankly and boldly nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today this great nation will endure as it has endured will revive and will prosper 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 that was beautiful thank you so much you're welcome all right so how do we analyze this as a primary source and as a speech I think the first thing we want to do step one if you will is just identify what's going on and thankfully that's pretty easy for us right now right this is a speech given by the President of the United States in the moment that he becomes that right so we know when it was in March 4th 1933 we know who gave this speech Franklin Delano Roosevelt just about to be inducted as president we know why he gave it right very important for presidents when they take office to make an inaugural address so we've got some basics here we can even infer from the inaugural address where this was given right in Washington DC alright so in our identification we've got that it's a speech was in DC happened in 1933 by FDR so that's our identification stage so to get it a little deeper level for this let's let's move on to a second step which would be kind of giving some context so it's 1933 what's going on let's see so the Great Depression has been going on for four years prohibition has not ended yet right right repeal has not come so liquor is still illegal in the United States for um for sale and transport there's massive unemployment the Dust Bowl is still raging America is not in the greatest place know it it's a depression and it's a depression in all sorts of ways right people are emotionally depressed and there's an economic depression all right so we've got the general gist now that this is a speech from 1933 confronting the Great Depression so let's get into a little bit more of the specifics what is he actually talking about in this speech well if we look at this speech you can kind of see that he's acknowledging that things are bad right it's time to speak the truth so he keeps talking about how you know it's time to speak the truth we'll address the American people with candor it is time to speak the truth the whole truth frankly and boldly we will not shrink from honestly facing conditions in the country today so Roosevelt is really IMing everyone to say like okay you have not been told the truth from your head of government for the longest time and now it's time to deal frankly with just how bad things have gotten and what's interesting is that he says things are not you know great but uh in every in every dark hour of our national life a leadership a frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and supported the people themselves which is essential to victory and he's saying that there's no need to be afraid of anything except just malaise he's saying that Americans need to meet the problem of the depression with like an upwelling of national will right and I think you know it's nice that he's saying look I'm going to tell it like it is things are bad I recognize that things are bad and that's pretty important because up until this point Herbert Hoover hadn't really done much to recognize that things were bad you know he saw that people were suffering and yet he said this is not necessarily the responsibility of government to deal with this crisis so Roosevelt actually calls it a dark hour of our national life right like this is a acknowledging that things are not great is a big part of this speech but he's also saying that it's possible for us to bounce back if we are honest about the problems and we address it with vigor and that is kind of the New Deal right is addressing the problems honestly and with national exuberance yeah and I think this is such a fascinating speech because for one thing this phrase has kind of come into our national lexicon right there's nothing to fear but fear itself which is kind of strange it's one of those things like have-your-cake- and-eat-it-too that you're like wait how is that possible so what does he mean by the only thing we have to fear is fear itself I think he's saying that this is no time to panic and that the only thing that we should be afraid of is unreasoning terror we shouldn't be running around like chickens with our heads cut off right like this is the time to stand firm against nameless terror and focus on making the problems that we are facing into small like accessible combatable chunks another thing that's important about what he's saying there is that the Great Depression is caused by something that is very new in American culture which is the stock market and the stock market doesn't play by the rules of straight supply and demand instead they play on confidence and so the reason that the stock market crash of 1929 happens is because people stop having confidence that stocks are worth as much as the stock market says they are so everyone pulls out there's a panic and global banking pretty much collapses and that's a really hard thing to deal with right I mean it's not like you're taking your money out of the bank or me taking my money out of the bank at any one time could cause an international depression right but when there is a large group of people who all get panicked at the same time and take their money out of the banks the banks fail right and so I think what Roosevelt is saying is that we cannot allow a sweeping wave of panic to come over the nation again exactly so that's the context for this speech is things are bad the reason things are bad is because of this wave of nameless unreasoning unjustified terror and America I need your support to make sure that we don't let that happen again so that we can turn this retreat into an advance in our next video we'll go more into how we can analyze this source and use it to construct an argument of our own