WASHINGTON -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, took office for a second term today in a winter rain storm with a challenge to the nation for further reform.
He projected better times for "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."
Shouting his inaugural address into a downpour which swept through the open Capitol stand, the President said "private autocratic powers" had been "challenged and beaten."
Soaked, cold and uncomfortable, the crowd began to melt away after the President took his inaugural oath. Vice President John Nance Garner was sworn in just before him and the oath-takings were completed at 12:29 p.m. E.S.T. For the space of these 29 minutes after noon the nation technically was without a president or vice president, the Constitution prescribing that their terms end at noon, Jan. 20.
Mr. Roosevelt pictured prosperity as returning and warned that prosperity was easing the drive for reform.
"Dulled conscience, irresponsibility and ruthless self-interest," he said, "already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster. Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose."
The speech projected the second New Deal further on the pathway opened by the first.
The President captured the enthusiasm of rain-soaked crowds when he defied the downpour to ride back to the White House from the Capitol in an open car with top down. Mrs. Roosvelt accompanied him. Police estimated the Capitol crowd at about 30,000.
A few minutes after Mr. Roosevelt left the Capitol, the inaugural parade started.
"Here is the challenge to our democracy," the President continued. "In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens -- a substantial part of its whole population -- who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life."
The President said "we have begun to bring private autocratic powers into their proper subordination to the public's government
"The legend that they were invincible has been shattered. They have been challenged and beaten.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Rain-soaked crowds saw the President drive to and from the capitol. Earlier he attended chapel services in St. John's Episcopal church, the place where he retired for prayer on his inauguration, March 4, 1933. Half a mile from where he spoke today the inaugural parade formed. In the streets and in covered stands the crowd was gathered for the final show of the day. They have come from every state and countless communities.
Pennsylvania miners who helped kidnap their state from the Republicans were here with visitors from the prairie and mountain west. New England sent its delegations and the southland stronghold of democracy was represented where ever one turned. It was a gala day, if a rainy one, and only the chief statesmen-actors seemed struck by the solemnity of this moment in which a great political victory came to climax.
There was less than a campaign-speech measure of applause and whoopla for the President as he spoke today. But the crowd gave him a big hand when he remarked a change "in the moral climate of America" and again when he said the nation would "paint out" a picture of the despair of underprivileged citizens.
Away to a late start with the inaugural oath, Mr. Roosevelt hurried to the White House for luncheon and to review the inaugural parade.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administered the oath to Mr. Roosevelt. From coast to coast and around the world the President's words flew by radio as a thousand presses began to spin with the second inaugural message.
Mr. Roosevelt said our forefathers had created a strong government with powers of united action "sufficient then and now to solve problems utterly beyond individual or local solution."
"Nearly all of us recognize," the President asserted, "that as the intricacies of human relationships increase, so power to govern them also must increase -- power to stop evil: power to do good."
The President said progress out of the depression was obvious. But he found his program unfulfilled -- saw and pointed for his listeners to see millions of under privileged Americans. He proposed to use the materials of social justice to "erect on the old foundations a more enduring structure for the better use of future generations."
"We are beginning," he said, "to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.
"We are fashioning an instrument for unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world."
But the President said "evil things" formerly accepted, no longer would be easily condoned. He warned that hard-headedness "will not so easily excuse hardheartedness.
"We are moving toward an era of good feeling," the President continued. "But we realize that there can be no era of good feeling save among men of good will.
"For these reasons I am justified in believing that the greatest change we have witnessed has been the change in the moral climate of America."
With such striking figures of speech and punchy sentences, the President raised before the nation in bold strokes the objectives of his second New Deal. He stood high above the Capitol plaza crowd where less than four years ago he was sworn for a first term that coincided with national calamity.
The President said the nation trod now the pathway of enduring progress and faces disputing counsel and a great decision.
"Many voices," he continued, "are heard --, Comfort says 'Tarry a while,' Opportunism says 'This is a good spot,' Timidity says 'How difficult is the road ahead?' "
Pressure of extraordinary circumstances aided toward "our present gains," Mr. Roosevelt continued. "The times were on the side of progress."
"To hold progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility and ruthless self-interest already appear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose."
And the President challenged the nation to answer with him two questions:
"Let us ask again: Have we reached the goal of that fourth day of March, 1933? Have we found our happy valley?"
The President sketched his dream of better times. He saw a nation in which great national wealth could vastly spread human comfort -- and the lowest standard of living can be raised far above the level of mere subsistence."
That, he said, was a challenge to democracy. He then called the roll of national injustice as he sees it -- "Millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day."
"I see," he continued, "millions whose daily lives in city and on the farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by so-called polite society half a century ago.
"I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.
"I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."
The President said he did not despair. He said the nation was determined to make every American citizen "the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous."
Tens of millions of persons, the President said, are this moment denied many of the necessities of life for the very lowest standards.
"The test of our progress," he continued, "is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. If I know aught of the spirit and purpose of our nation, we will not listen to comfort, opportunism and timidity, we will carry on."
The President said the people would insist that "every agency of popular government use effective instruments to carry out their will." Those words recalled the language of his annual address to Congress less than three weeks ago when he called on the Supreme Court for better cooperation and a more liberal interpretation of the Constitution.
Out of a confusion of many voices, the President continued, arises an understanding of dominant public need. He consecrated the nation to ideals long cherished. In taking the oath of office, the President said he assumed the solemn obligation to lead the people along the path they had chosen and in that task he prayed for divine guidance.