As Franklin Roosevelt stood on the Capitol steps ten years ago this week, his eyes and mind were on the dark U.S. Depression. His chin out, his voice resolute, he assured the U.S. people: they had nothing to fear except fear itself.

There is little else of his first inaugural speech which is applicable today; it contained no premonition of the 1943 U.S. position in world affairs. (Few days before, he had conferred with French Ambassador Paul Claudel on World War I debts.)

In the decade that followed, the whole focus and direction of the Presidency, and of U.S. life, had been...

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