Skip to main content

Power Of The Voice

May 2024
1min read


In his otherwise excellent retrospective of the FDR Presidency ("Why the Candidates Still Use FDR as Their Measure,” February 1988), William E. Leuchtenburg errs on one critical point.

The use that FDR made of radio carried no sense of informality in those first few years. For Americans, including this subteen and his family, the radio was newly acquired and not taken for granted.

FDR’s voice was the pivotal emotional prop for Americans. Formal in his delivery—certainly not intimate until much later in his tenure in office—he assured America that however he sought to cure our economic distress, he would succeed. That voice left no room for argument, and it was this aspect of FDR that had a critically important part in leading the country. All of these years later, I still hear it!

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate