Saturday, June 02, 2018

FDR, Jefferson, and...Spiderman?

"[G]reat power involves great responsibility."

Sounds like something from Spiderman, but it's part of a line from Franklin D. Roosevelt's undelivered Jefferson Day Speech. Coincidentally, Jefferson Day was officially recognized by FDR beginning in 1938. Anyway...the speech can be found at The American Presidency Project (for now—they note they are working on a new website). Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia the day before this speech was to be given, and it's an interesting read. Here's one part:
The once powerful, malignant Nazi state is crumbling. The Japanese war lords are receiving, in their own homeland, the retribution for which they asked when they attacked Pearl Harbor.

But the mere conquest of our enemies is not enough.

We must go on to do all in our power to conquer the doubts and the fears, the ignorance and the greed, which made this horror possible.

Thomas Jefferson, himself a distinguished scientist, once spoke of "the brotherly spirit of Science, which unites into one family all its votaries of whatever grade, and however widely dispersed throughout the different quarters of the globe."

Today, science has brought all the different quarters of the globe so close together that it is impossible to isolate them one from another.

While science was bringing everyone closer together, it was also working on the Manhattan Project at the time of the undelivered speech, further making isolation impossible.

It's always been easy for me to remember when FDR died since it was a day after my parents were married. Both of them were in the service at the time, but I never heard if it cast a pall on their short honeymoon (nor do I really want to know).

I found this speech thanks to a footnote in John Lewis Gaddis' book On Grand Strategy, which offers a peek into part of the Studies in Grand Strategy course.

1 comment:

Jonathan Chant said...

Excellent - very enjoyable to read.