Wednesday, May 05, 2010

FDR's Grandson Talks About the Depression

I came across this interview with Curtis Roosevelt from a Boston Television program. Roosevelt, the oldest grandchild of FDR, talks about his life in the White House with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

From an historical point of view, Curtis Roosevelt is one of the last people alive who intimately knew FDR and ER and is full of personal anecdotes about specific people who surrounded his grandparents in the White House .

Thanks to the magic of the internet, I also watched Roosevelt, give an address at the FDR Memorial Lecture and Gala Dinner at Harvard in February of this year.  Yes, he is a Democrat.  Yes, FDR was a Democrat. Expect his opinions, and that of the audience to reflect that.

But, Roosevelt very calmly talks about his days in the White House (he lived there during 2 different times in his life during FDR's presidency) and compares and contrasts the years of the Depression and FDR's presidency with the current economy and administration.  

He talks about the level of collegiality between the two parties that no longer exists as well as the difference in "attitude" between FDR (and hence his popularity with the public) and Obama.  (Although he manages to do all this without actually saying what the "attitude" *is*. Quite the diplomat.)

He mentions that society seems less "engaged" with helping each other during this economic down turn than it was in the 1930's in spite of the implementation of his grandfather's welfare program.  He thinks "the churches" could be doing more, but admits that fewer people are going to church than they did in the 30's.  He talks a bit about how he thinks the UN could improve its effectiveness.

For many, this latter 2 part video will be slow moving and perhaps boring.  But, for those who enjoy history, especially World War II/Depression era/FDR history this is a good find.


TACParent said...

This sounds like something you would really enjoy. The Internet is wonderful for those kinds of finds.

Dymphna said...

It is!

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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