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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: Essays for the Presidency

Our Foreign Policy

A Democratic View

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivering Fireside Chat number six, September 30, 1934. Public Domain / Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

In our century and a half of national life there have been outstanding periods when American leadership has influenced the thought and action of the civilized world towards international good will and peace; and there have been moments—rare ones, fortunately—when American policy either has been negative and sterile, or has earned for us dislike or fear or ridicule.

I believe many millions of citizens in the United States share my conviction that the past nine years must be counted on the debit side of the ledger.

Since the summer of 1919 our country has had to face the charge that in a time when great constructive aid was needed in the task of solving the grave problems facing the whole earth, we have contributed little or nothing save the isolated Naval Conference of 1921. Even here the ground gained was not held. The definite sacrifices we made were not productive

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