FDR Speech Delivered to the New York State Democratic Convention

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

View a transcript of Roosevelt's speech here.

Roosevelt seized the opportunity to respond to Coughlin's charges that he was a communist at the New York State Democratic Convention in 1936. Speaking on the historic contrasts between the Democratic and Republican parties, he discussed the continuing task of preserving democracy by pursuing social justice. Roosevelt strove to discredit "false issues" raised by his opponents, and although he did not mention Father Coughlin by name, this speech was a clear response to Coughlin's anti-Roosevelt broadcasts and particularly to Coughlin's speech at the Townsend Convention in Cleveland in July.



As you read the document, reflect on the following questions:

  • What is Coughlin's view on the coining of money?
  • How does Roosevelt rebutt the charge of Communism?
  • Why do you think that President Roosevelt does not name Fr. Coughlin in this speech?
  • In re-capping the history of the Great Depression and the New Deal, Roosevelt frequently refers to "social justice." How is his description of social justice similar to or different from Ryan's and Coughlin's ideas?