Speeches of Franklin Roosevelt, Huey Long, and Franklin Roosevelt

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Analysis of American Leaders' Speeches

Several issues that the Americans have faced were addressed in the speeches of their leaders. The paper will analyze the speeches of some of the American leaders; President Franklin Roosevelt's "First Inaugural Address" (1933), Franklin Roosevelt's speech on The Four Freedoms (1941), and Huey Long's speech "Every Man A King" (1934).

Themes of Equality

Some of the problems addressed in these speeches are the equal distribution of wealth, the security of the Americans, unemployment, and the economic state of the nation. The central theme discussed by the three documents is equality. In this paper, the contribution of Huey Long and Franklin Roosevelt in addressing the nation's problems caused by The Great Depression and the Second World War will be analyzed.

Old-Age Pension

Both Franklin Roosevelt and Huey Long support the coverage of the old-age pension. Huey Long's program called "Share Our Wealth Society" was aimed at ensuring that people above sixty years of age received an old-age pension of about 30 dollars per month (McManus 23). However, there was some limitation to the people who would receive the pension. An individual making an estimated amount of 1000 dollars a year and a man who owned property worth 10000 dollars did not qualify for the pension (McManus 24). In Franklin Roosevelt's speech on "The Four Freedoms," he mentioned the need to have more citizens under the old-age pension coverage (Roosevelt 10). It is crucial for the government to consider the old people in the society. Such people who are unable to do work, they need to receive some money that they can use to cater to their everyday needs.

Equality in the Nation

Both Franklin Roosevelt and Huey Long advocate for the equality in the nation. Huey Long's speech is mainly about equal distribution of wealth (McManus 10). He was against the fact that wealth of the entire country was in the hands of few men. The community was made of extra rich people and the extra poor ones (McManus 12). He claimed that rich people were unwilling to help in solving the domestic issue. According to Long, people were created equally and that nobody was born to inherit millions while others inherit nothing (McManus 18). He states that for a country to survive, it is essential to scatter the wealth among the citizens. Franklin Roosevelt mentions the need for equality in his speech "The Four Freedoms" (Engel 34). He suggested that there should be equal opportunities for all the citizens. Also, he mentions the need for the distribution of wealth although he did nothing about it as stated by Huey Long. When there is equity and equal distribution of wealth, all citizens will be able to cater for their basic needs and cases of starvation will be minimized. It is difficult for a nation to survive when there is the unequal distribution of wealth.

Unemployment

The unemployment issue has been addressed in-depth by both leaders. In Franklin Roosevelt's "First Inaugural Address," he mentions the high rates of unemployment (Engel 21). As a result, many citizens struggle to exist and to provide for themselves. He suggests that the task is to get job opportunities for the citizens who can work (Roosevelt 32). Huey Long mentions that the nation had everything in abundance, but the people did not have enough money to purchase their basic needs and end up starving (McManus 30). Unemployment issues were the main reason why most of the citizens were unable to pay off their debts. It reached a point that the debt was more than the money available in the country (McManus 38). When the rates of unemployment are high, it is difficult for most people to provide their families with basic needs. Feeding becomes an issue, and most families end up starving.

Economic State of the Nation

The economic state of the nation was one of the issues addressed. Huey Long stated that few individuals were controlling the economy of the country (McManus 18). They owned almost everything from banks, farms, mortgages, stores, railroads, and the bonds. They made it hard for the average people to make a living out of business (McManus 22). Franklin Roosevelt stated that the social economy of the nation required some improvement (Roosevelt 35). Also, he proposed that individuals who needed employment should be assisted in obtaining it (Engel 28). The state of the nation in the early twentieth century was terrible since most of the Americans were extra poor and could neither purchase the basic needs nor pay off their debts. Most of the wealth in the country was in the hands of a few super-rich individuals. It was necessary to decentralize the wealth to improve the economy of the nation.

Debt Repayment

Both Franklin Roosevelt and Huey Long noted that the American government was unable to pay off its debts. Huey Long mentioned that the debt was approximately $272,000,000,000 while the entire currency in the nation was $6,000,000,000 (McManus 15). The American government would repay the debt forty-five times with the money that they had at the time and start all over with nothing (McManus 16). Franklin Roosevelt mentioned the same issue in his first inaugural address when he said that the taxes had increased and the nation was unable to pay it (Roosevelt 34). He adds that the government was being affected by a grave curtailment of income. He continued to say that the means of exchange in the currents of trade had frozen (Roosevelt 35). It is evident that the unequal distribution of wealth with most of the people being extremely poor, the nation's debt had accumulated. The high level of poverty prevented them from paying off the debts.

Solutions to the Issues

Both Huey Long and Franklin Roosevelt tried to provide solutions to the issues raised. Huey Long takes part in the formation of a society called "Share Our Wealth Society" which is aimed at facilitating the equal distribution of wealth (McManus 42). The organization would try to ensure that every family has a guaranteed wealth of about $5000. It will serve to ensure that no family lives in distress or poverty (McManus 44). In his first inaugural address, Franklin Roosevelt states that the nation needed to take action immediately to solve the existing issues (Roosevelt 25). The primary task in his speech was to find employment opportunities for the citizens which could be done through direct recruitment by the government (Roosevelt 27). It is evident that both leaders recognize that the problems are solvable and they provide measures to curb the spreading issue.

Conclusion

The three documents provide detailed information on how the two leaders addressed issues affecting the nation. Similar problems were talked about in the speeches. For instance, both leaders mentioned the need to address unemployment issues, old-age pension, equality in the society, inability to pay off debts, the improvement of the economic state of the nation, and possible solutions to the problems. The problems mentioned above were as a result of the great depression and the Second World War.

Works cited

McManus, Alex J. Sharing the hate: The Louisiana establishment and Huey Long. Tulane University, 2016.

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. Great Speeches. Courier Corporation, 2012.

Engel, Jeffrey A., ed. The four freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the evolution of an American idea. Oxford University Press, 2016.

November 13, 2023
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History

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American History

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