Andrew Cuomo Has Revived Franklin Roosevelt’s Language of LeadershipRoundup
tags: Great Depression, intellectual history, Andrew Cuomo, Franklin Roosevelt, coronavirus
Christopher M. Florio, a specialist in American intellectual history, is an assistant professor of history at Hollins University.
“Words are important,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reminded during one of his daily news conferences on the covid-19 outbreak. “Words matter.” We should take his admonishment to heart and pay attention to his words. For in choosing how to frame the covid-19 pandemic tormenting his state, Cuomo has turned to a political language that Americans rarely hear nowadays, but which is crucial to minimizing the damage from the novel coronavirus: the language of interdependence.
Almost 90 years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt, another New Yorker, gave this language its most powerful American statement. Elected president in the midst of the Great Depression, Roosevelt urged Americans to recognize their mutual reliance on one another in the face of economic crisis.
The guiding principle behind his plan for national recovery, the new president announced in his 1933 inaugural address, was “the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in all parts of the United States.” Interdependence wasn’t just regional. Roosevelt called on all Americans to see that their fates were intertwined, and to join forces to solve “our common problems.”
Speaking in these terms bolstered Roosevelt’s efforts to wield the power of the federal government to combat the Depression. Above all, his talk of interdependence served to justify the New Deal, the bundle of programs enacted to provide relief for suffering Americans and to reform the national economy. Roosevelt stressed that each of these programs, despite their targeted nature, worked to the general advantage. Aid to drought-stricken farmers helped hungry wage earners in New York City; aid to the arts served to enrich the culture of the working classes, aid to the elderly helped everyone.
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump’s Supreme Court Justices Show How They Might Help Him in Contested Election
- Two Visions of the Suburbs Are on the Ballot. Both Are Myths
- FBI Won’t Deliver Report on White-Supremacist Terror Threat Until After Election
- VMI Superintendent Steps Down Amid Allegations Of 'Structural Racism'
- Arizona Education Board Votes To Require Students Learn About The Holocaust, Other Genocides
- How Democrats Can Learn Hardball From the Republicans of 1861
- When a Kidnapping Ring Targeted New York’s Black Children (Review)
- To Understand The Spectacle Of Presidential Debates, Look Back To 1960, Says Harvard Historian
- If only Richard Nixon had Listened to Jackie Robinson — The GOP Might be Doing Better than Trump Today
- "Time's Monster" by Priya Satia Review – Living in the Past