The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > Audio Materials

Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches

Speech to the 1940 Democratic National Convention in Chicago

July 18, 1940


Speech, Remarks from Washington on the occasion of the dedication of Roosevelt Memorial Hall at the School of Music of the Brooklyn Free Musical Society

Print ColumnText Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text
[Unknown speaker:] [Music playing in background]

As Mrs. Roosevelt stands on the roster, even the Chairman applauds as she waves to the crowd. She's wearing a plain blue grey dress with short sleeves, a blue straw hat pinned with lighter blue flowers and all over the hall people are standing, waving, shouting, and cheering [unclear possibly: the band master] picks it up waves back and forth and waves up and down as everyone joins in the chorus quite vehemently.

[Music fades out]

Delegates to the convention, visitors, friends, it is a great pleasure for me to be here and to have an opportunity to speak to you. First of all, I think I want to say a word to our National Chairman, James A. Farley. [cheering] For many years, I have worked under Jim Farley and with Jim Farley, and I think nobody could appreciate more what he has done for the party, what he has given in works and loyalty, and I want to give him here my thanks and devotion.


And now, [applause] I think that I should say to you that I am conscious that I cannot possibly bring you a message from the president because he will give you his own message [applause]. But, as I am here, I want you to know that no one could not be conscious of the confidence, which you have [00:02:15] expressed in him. I know and you know that any man who is in an office of great responsibility faces a heavier [00:02:17] responsibility perhaps than any man has ever faced before in this country. Therefore, to be a candidate of either great political party is a very serious and a very solemn thing. [00:02:40] You cannot treat it as an ordinary nomination, in an ordinary time. We people in the United States have got to realize today that we face now a grave, a serious situation. Therefore, this year, the candidate who is the President of the United States cannot make a campaign in the usual sense of the word. He must be on his job. So each and every one of you who give him this responsibility, because you will make the campaign, you will have to rise above considerations which are narrow and partisan. You must know that this is the time when all [00:02:42] Good men and women give every bit of service and strength to their country that they have to give. This is a time when it is the United States that we fight for. The domestic policies that we have established as a party, that we must believe in, that we must carry forward, and in the world we have a position of great responsibility. We cannot tell from day to day what may come. This is no ordinary time. No time for weighing anything, except what we can best do for the country as a whole. And that rests, that responsibility on each and every one of us as individuals. No man who is a candidate, or who is president, can carry this situation alone. This is only carried by a united people who love their country and who will live for it to the fullest of their ability with the highest ideals, with the determination that their party shall be absolutely devoted [00:04:29] to the good of the nation as a whole and to doing what this country can to bring the world to a safer and happier condition.

[Unknown speaker:]

And the tens thousands in the stadium rise to their feet cheering. Although Mrs. Roosevelt did not linger at the lectern and immediately walked back through the crowd on the speaker's platform. And now someone is placing around her neck a tremendous garland of flowers, not like those leis that the Hawaiian delegation brought for me. These are fresh flowers, and of course the garland is therefore much bigger. She walks back to where Franklin Jr. is standing and is about to take her place again in the rear of the speaker's platform as the crowd continues to applaud and as Chairman Farley now stands -

[James Farley:]

On behalf--

[Unknown speaker:]

at the waiting deck.

[James Farley:]

On behalf of this convention I express to Mrs. Roosevelt our profound thanks not only for her presence here tonight, but for these fine words she has uttered to us out of her heart we known to be sincere and devoted to the best interests of America. [Cheering] The Secretary of the Convention will now call the role of states for the purpose of casting their votes for nomination for vice-president of the United States.

Program Participants

  • : Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
    Farley, James A. (James Aloysius), 1888-1976

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced


About this document

Speech to the 1940 Democratic National Convention in Chicago

July 18, 1940


Eleanor Roosevelt

Project Editors
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches is a project and publication of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, The George Washington University, Academic Building, Post Hall, Room 312, 2100 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007

Transcript Editors
  • : Lewis, Britanny
  • : Goldman, Julia
    Febos, Julia
  • : Gilson, Calla
    Melvin, Melissa
  • : Alhambra, Christopher   [ ORCID: 0000-0002-6299-793X | VIAF ]

Transcribed and published by the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, 2019-11-27

Transcription created from holdings at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library