This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for March 4, 2017: To David, About His Education

Mar. 4, 2017: on this day: Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was also inaugurated on this date, in 1933. By the time of his inauguration, the country had been mired in the Great Depression for more than three years. Roosevelt won in a landslide over Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover.

Most Americans didn’t know the extent to which Roosevelt’s paralytic illness had affected him, and he took great pains to keep it that way. In order for him to ascend the steps to the podium to take the oath of office, an elaborate series of wheelchair-accessible ramps was constructed and hidden behind barriers. He walked the last few yards leaning heavily on the arm of his son James, and he made it look easy even though it took great strength.

His inaugural address included the famous phrase “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”