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Franklin D. Roosevelt

Typed Letter with Printed Signature - 1935

Typed Letter with President Franlin D. Roosevelt's printed signature in blue ink, September 24, 1935, to the Reverend Hugh Radigan of Holy Name College in Washington D.C., regarding the forthcoming Social Security Act. One page, 8" x 10.5" on White House letterhead. Folds and minor toning, clear tape at top and bottom, with accompanying White House envelope postmarked same date, stained and slightly torn at upper right, else very good.

On August 15, 1938, President  Roosevelt addressed the nation from the White House in one of his characteristic "fireside chats." His topic was the recent enactment of the Social Security Act of 1935, assuring the nation that "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-stricken old age." 

FDR writes, in full:

Reverend and dear Sir:

Your high calling brings you into intimate daily contact not only with your own parishioners, but with people generally. I am sure you see the problems of our people with wise and sympathetic understanding.

Because of the grave responsibilities of my office, I am turning to representative Clergymen for counsel and advice,- feeling confident that no group can give more accurate or unbiased views.

I am particularly anxious that the new Social Security Legislation just enacted, for which we have worked so long, providing for old age pensions, aid for crippled children and unemployment insurance, shall be carried out in keeping with the high purposes with which this law was enacted. It is also vitally important that the Works Program shall be administered to provide employment at useful work, and that our unemployed as well as the nation as a whole may derive the greatest possible benefits.

I shall deem it a favor if you will write me about conditions in your community. Tell me where you feel our government can better serve our people.

We can solve our many problems, but no one man or single group can do it,- we shall have to work together for the common end of better spiritual and material conditions for the American people.

May I have your counsel and your help? I am leaving on a short vacation but will be back in Washington in a few weeks, and I will deeply appreciate your writing to me.

Very sincerely yours,
Franklin D. Roosevelt

A wonderful and historic item in which FDR seeks the counsel of clergy in context of the new Social Security Act, a Federal initiative that shifted primary responsibility for the welfare of the aged and poor from local, religious and private charities to the American government for the first time in the history of the nation.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (1882-1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the 32nd president of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. FDR was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.