139+ Best Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. Profoundly inspirational Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions-bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In our democracy officers of the government are the servants, and never the masters of the people. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Democratic Party will live and continue to receive the support of the majority of Americans just so long as it remains a liberal party. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

More striking still, it appeared that, if the process of concentration goes on at the same rate, at the end of another century we shall have all American industry controlled by a dozen corporations and run by perhaps a hundred men. Put plainly, we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I want to preach a new doctrine. A complete separation of business and government. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Government cannot close its eyes to the pollution of waters, to the erosion of soil, to the slashing of forests any more than it can close its eyes to the need for slum clearance and schools. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Presidents are selected, not elected. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omission of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

An election cannot give a country a firm sense of direction if it has two or more national parties which merely have different names but are as alike in their principles and aims as peas in the same pod. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Social Security Act offers to all our citizens a workable and working method of meeting urgent present needs and of forestalling future need. It utilizes the familiar machinery of our Federal-State government to promote the common welfare and the economic stability of the Nation. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

There should be no bitterness or hate where the sole thought is the welfare of the United States of America. No man can occupy the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the people. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Democracy can thrive only when it enlists the devotion of those whom Lincoln called the common people. Democracy can hold that devotion only when it adequately respects their dignity by so ordering society as to assure to the masses of men and women reasonable security and hope for themselves and for their children. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted-in the air. A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs, who, however, has never learned to walk forward. A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. A liberal is a man who uses his legs and hands at the behest of his head. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking! – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tell that to the Marines! – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The fate of America cannot depend on any one man. The greatness of America is grounded in principles and not on any single personality. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Those newspapers of the nation which most loudly cried dictatorship against me would have been the first to justify the beginnings of dictatorship by somebody else. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Go for the moon. If you don’t get it, you’ll still be heading for a star. Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of the creative effort. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the goverment. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way. The third is freedom from want. The fourth is freedom from fear. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

What America needs now is a drink. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The barrier to success is not something which exists in the real world; it is composed purely and simply of doubts about ability. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

That, in its essence, is Fascism — ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The whole world is one neighborhood. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

All of our people all over the country-except the pure-blooded Indians-are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, including even those who came over here on the Mayflower. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is better to swallow words than to have to eat them later. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Peace, like charity, begins at home. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Calm seas never made a good sailor – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Presidency is not merely an administrative office. Thats the least of it. It is more than an engineering job, efficient or inefficient. It is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership. All our great Presidents were leaders of thought at times when certain historic ideas in the life of the nation had to be clarified. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never underestimate a man who overestimates himself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Freedom of the press is essential to the preservation of a democracy; but there is a difference between freedom and license. Editorialists who tell downright lies in order to advance their own agendas do more to discredit the press than all the censors in the world. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The principle on which this country was founded and by which it has always been governed is that Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The value of love will always be stronger than the value of hate. Any nation or group of nations which employs hatred eventually is torn to pieces by hatred. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

No democracy can long survive which does not accept as fundamental to its very existence the recognition of the rights of minorities. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It isn’t sufficient just to want – you’ve got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If I went to work in a factory the first thing I’d do is join a union. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Yesterday, December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Prosperous farmers mean more employment, more prosperity for the workers and the business men of every industrial area in the whole country. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remember you are just an extra in everyone else’s play. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In our seeking for economic and political progress, we all go up – or else we all go down. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

No government can help the destinies of people who insist in putting sectional and class consciousness ahead of general weal. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Favor comes because for a brief moment in the great space of human change and progress some general human purpose finds in him a satisfactory embodiment. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity – or it will move apart. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is the duty of the President to propose and it is the privilege of the Congress to dispose. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If we can boondoggle ourselves out of this depression, that word is going to be enshrined in the hearts of the American people for years to come. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I am a Christian and a Democrat, that’s all. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars – yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are as many opinions as there are experts. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is fun to be in the same decade with you. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It takes a long time to bring the past up to the present. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Put two or three men in positions of conflicting authority. This will force them to work at loggerheads, allowing you to be the ultimate arbiter. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Are you laboring under the impression that I read these memoranda of yours? I can’t even lift them. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment… If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you treat people right they will treat you right… ninety percent of the time. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

No group and no government can properly prescribe precisely what should constitute the body of knowledge with which true education is concerned. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Don’t forget what I discovered that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We continue to recognize the greater ability of some to earn more than others. But we do assert that the ambition of the individual to obtain for him a proper security is an ambition to be preferred to the appetite for great wealth and great power. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

There is nothing I love as much as a good fight. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. …And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man…. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all of mankind – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We shall make the most lasting progress if we recognize that Social Security can furnish only a base upon which each one of our citizens may build his individual security through his own individual efforts. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age, – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities – a sense of humor and a sense of proportion – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It got to a point where I had to get a hair-cut or a violin – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead — and find no one there. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wise and prudent men – intelligent conservatives – have long known that in a changing world worthy institutions can be conserved only by adjusting them to the changing time – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace-business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hatred for me – and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master.- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Speech at Madison Square Garden – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We can afford all that we need; but we cannot afford all that we want – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We should never forge those that did not return, – Franklin D. Roosevelt

when only a president could have that kind of accommodation. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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