George Washington would have supported the New Deal, 1934

by Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt, [Press release of speech delivered on Memorial Day at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania], May 30, 1934. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)During his first term, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to deflect opposition to the New Deal. Speaking at Gettysburg on Memorial Day, 1934, Roosevelt invoked the memory of George Washington by comparing his federal agenda with that of the first president. He mentions Washington’s national tours, his support for large development projects, and his opposition to sectionalism: “He knew that Nations grow as their commerce and manufactures and agriculture grow, and that all of these grow as the means of transportation are extended. He sought to knit the sections together by their common interest in these great enterprises; and he projected highways and canals as aids not to sectional, but to national development.”

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Excerpt

[Washington] knew that Nations grow as their commerce and manufactures and agriculture grow, and that all of these grow as the means of transportation are extended. He sought to knit the sections together by their common interest in these great enterprises; and he projected highways and canals as aids not to sectional, but to national development. . . .

Washington . . . sought and worked for a consolidated Nation. You and I have it in our power to attain that great ideal. We can do this by following the peaceful methods prescribed under the broad and resilient provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

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