Rabbit Trail: FDR - "Nothing to fear..."

Estimated time: 5 minutes

In chapter 1, Lee writes,

"But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself."

Lee was referring to Franklin D Roosevelt's inaugural speech in 1933. This speech is a key piece of American history and it offers us a window into the time when the novel is set.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, often referred to as FDR, became President of the United States during a very difficult time called the Great Depression. Many people were out of work, and there was a lot of fear and uncertainty. In his inaugural speech, FDR aimed to inspire hope and confidence in the American people. One of his most famous lines from this speech is, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Listen to the speech below.

Have you heard parts of this speech before?

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