By Joseph Alsop Roosevelt remembered A century after FDR's birth, a distinguished journalist who knew him well reflects on his qualities as a man and as a national leader The year 1982 is the centennial of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's birth; it is also the 50th anniversary of his first election in 1932. Americans have seen no less than eight Presidents take the oath of office since Roose¬ velt's death at Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1945, and he is already a remote and half-legendary figure. Yet few today will deny that he was one of the great Presidents in the classic American mold. Even on the very short list of great Presidents of the first order, furthermore, Roosevelt has a special distinction. Just as George Washington was needed twice, to lead the American Revolution and then to take the lead in founding a new government on a more secure foundation, so Roosevelt had to deal with the devastating danger of the Great Depression and then to deal with all the dangers of the Second World War until he died on the eve of victory. When he died, he had been in the public spotlight more or less continuously for three and a half decades, and he had lived and worked in the full glare of the White House for over 12 years. Yet to this day, Roose¬ velt's central achievements remain incompletely un¬ derstood. And despite the exploration of huge archives and the publication of many thoughtful studies, Roosevelt the man also remains more than a little mysterious. The first step to take in any attempt to understand and assess Franklin Delano Roosevelt is to try to un¬ derstand the situation and ambience he was born into. At this very first point of departure, moreover, a high proportion of recent students of Roosevelt have Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1928, making his first campaign for the governorship of New York. tended to go wrong, for they are sadly given to de¬ scribing him as an "American aristocrat." There is no such thing, and anyone using that phrase would have been dismissed as "common" at Hyde Park or any other house inhabited by members of the tribe Roose¬ velt belonged to. One short passage may be borrowed from Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence: " 'Don't tell me,' Mrs. Archer would say .. . 'all this modern newspaper rubbish about a New York aristocracy. . . . Our grand¬ fathers and great-grandfathers were just respectable English or Dutch merchants, who came to the colonies to make a fortune and stayed because they did so.' " All this may seem singularly unimportant, but the point is that both Franklin and Eleanor Roose¬ velt thought differently when they were young. She recorded that as a young married woman she still be¬ lieved what she had been taught, that "New York Society was important." In different ways, the childhoods and younger years of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were somewhat ab¬ normal, as compared with the early years of other young New Yorkers of their kind and time. In the case of the future President, the abnormality—which was slight but still important, as I think—derived from the fact that he was brought up in a way that was already distinctly old-fashioned, perhaps because his aging father was distinctly old-fashioned. In the main the elder Roosevelt busied himself with the management of small old family-connected com¬ panies like the Lake George Steamboat Company. This article is adapted from Mr. Alsop's FDR, A Centenary Remembrance ( Viking Press). He has written, among other books, From the Silent Earth and, forthcoming, The Rare Art Traditions. © 1982 by Thames and Hudson Limited, London Published by arrangement with The Viking Press On vacation from Harvard in 1902, Roosevelt (in striped shirt) romps with friends and cousins. This did not keep him busy at all continuously, either; for most of each week he remained at Hyde Park, and his chief effort and time were given to his land and his herds there. He was in fact a country gentleman with a comfortable amount of inherited capital to support the gentlemanliness. He had already settled into this pleasant, respect¬ able, but fairly obscure niche when his first wife died in 1876. He was evidently one of those men who must be married, however, and four years later, although James Roosevelt was no less than 52, he married the future President's 26-year-old mother. It was an odd match, and it was at first opposed by the bride's father, Warren Delano. Yet even the rich and masterful Del¬ ano could not find the match objectionable on any grounds except disparity of age; his daughter was de¬ termined to marry her elderly suitor, and so the wed¬ ding occurred in October 1880. In her childhood and girlhood, the life of Sara Del¬ ano Roosevelt had plainly centered on her father, which was perhaps why she chose to marry—and she had a wide choice—a man old enough to be her father. Once she was married, however, her entire life cen¬ tered exclusively on her husband and then on her son. The result was a childhood and early boyhood for Franklin Roosevelt that was fairly unlike the early years of other young New Yorkers of his sort. During a large part of the time, he was alone in the country with his father and mother, for they mainly remained at Hyde Park when they were not abroad, and he was again alone with his parents on the long pilgrimages to Europe the trio made every year. His father was affectionate and companionable; his mother was doting; his nurses and governesses were much at¬ tached to their handsome and lively charge; so he had a happy childhood and early boyhood. But the fact remains that he was much more isolated from his con¬ temporaries than had been the case with the great majority of the other boys he found at Groton, where he went, considerably later than was then usual, into the Third Form at the age of 14-plus. The importance of being popular I have emphasized this comparative isolation for a simple reason. I, too, was brought up in the country, and I therefore went to Groton knowing only a single other boy there. It was a grim, even on occasion a des¬ perate, experience. Hence I suspect, perhaps wrongly and with no direct evidence to support my suspicion, that Franklin Roosevelt's much earlier experience was at least similar to mine and perhaps even worse. It easily could have been worse, because the young male WASPs who went to Groton were even more stereotyped in the future President's generation than they were in mine. I was then too fat to be athletic, but he was too slender and a bit weedy as a youth, so neither of us had the supreme advantage (at Groton) of being good at games. But at least I was permitted to retreat into the library—although even in my time, a mother boasting of her son's precocious bookishness had been known to be told by Groton's famous Rector, Dr. Endicott Peabody, "Don't worry about it. We'll soon get that out of him." What truly happened to Franklin Roosevelt when he went to Groton is worth taking time to consider, in turn, because of the peculiar atmosphere in which the future President was formed. Among his contempo¬ raries of similar origins, whether male or female, being "popular" was then of almost inordinate importance— as so often in small closed groups. The fact is that, while never disliked, he never at¬ tained the grand goal of being popular, although he plainly wished to do so. This was just as much the case among the girls he danced with when he was old enough to go to the big balls of that era, as it was among his male contemporaries. At least one historian has noted that the girls' name for him was "feather- duster," because his brand of the badinage then thought suitable for female company was somehow unreal and unconvincing. My mother, who knew him well at that time, once told me that another name for him was "the handkerchief box young man," because his good looks in those early years, though undeniable, too much resembled the rather awful good looks of the young men then customarily portrayed on presenta¬ tion boxes of feminine handkerchiefs. There was also a solemn entry in an early diary which my mother made as soon as she learned of Frank¬ lin Roosevelt's engagement to Eleanor Roosevelt, to the effect that he was by no means good enough for her. It seems an unexpected observation in the light of hindsight, but it still has significance. So does the fact that Franklin Roosevelt had no greater success with his male contemporaries of the same sort—the reason that he was not made a member of the Harvard club of his choice. I believe it mattered a lot for his future. When he decided to enter politics in 1910, one factor was ob¬ viously his boredom with the law, and another was the example of Theodore Roosevelt, whom he vastly admired and plainly took as a model. But it seems to me all but certain that a third factor in his decision, perhaps subconscious, was the desire to stake out his own territory, where he would not be in competition with other young men of his own sort. A mother who remained possessive As to the hard facts still missing, James Roosevelt, to whom his son was greatly attached, died of heart trouble while Franklin Roosevelt was at Harvard, whereupon his mother promptly moved to Boston to be near him. This astonishing move by Mrs. Roosevelt reveals the possessiveness which was the senior Mrs. Roosevelt's dominant characteristic. It is no wonder, therefore, that when her 22-year-old son told her that he was engaged to his distant cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, and wished to marry her forthwith, the senior Mrs. Roosevelt went to considerable lengths to prevent the marriage, including requiring Franklin to join her on a prolonged Caribbean cruise in the hope that he would forget all about it. His mother had a weapon to use, too, because her husband had left her a considerable share of his for¬ tune for her life and the place at Hyde Park as well, and she controlled her own large Delano dowry and inheritance. In all, therefore, his mother had about $1,300,000—substantial wealth in those days—as well as owning the house Franklin Roosevelt regarded as his real home to the end of his life. Meanwhile, he had Franklin and Eleanor at Campobello Island in 1904, the summer after their engagement was announced. only about $300,000 of his own, all told, as late as the middle 1920s when he invested heavily in the resort property at Warm Springs, Georgia, where he still hoped to regain the power to walk. Until his mother's death, in fact, the largest part of his own unearned in¬ come must have been the allowance she paid him. Probably Mrs. James Roosevelt gave way before her son's insistence on being married because she had no very good arguments to use against the match. Her prospective daughter-in-law, after all, was a wholly conventional choice for anyone in her son's position— if not exactly beautiful, at least well known for her goodness and seriousness, coming on both sides from families of just the right kind, and even possessed of what was then a pleasant though far from enormous income of her own from her mother's and father's es¬ tates. In the first years after the marriage, in fact, the wife's contribution to the joint resources was as great as the husband's. Of their earlier life, little needs to be said, except that they lived in a hotel until he passed his bar ex- aminations; that the senior Mrs. Roosevelt then rented, furnished, and staffed a small house for them; and that they ended in a much larger house Mrs. James Roosevelt built for them, which they used until long after Franklin Roosevelt became President. For some time, Franklin Roosevelt had been turn¬ ing the possibility of a political career over in his mind. The late Grenville Clark, who was Franklin Roosevelt's fellow clerk at the powerful firm of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, used to recall his astonishment when Roosevelt announced to him that he thought he might be President one day. Roosevelt further explained that this would require going first to the New York state legislature in Albany, then a while in Washington, if possible as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, then the Governorship of New- York, and after that, the White House. This program was modeled closely on the major stages of Theodore Roosevelt's career; but the program also comprises all the main stages of Franklin Roosevelt's own career. [As it turned out, he was elected to the New York state senate in 1910 and again in 1912. In the meantime, he had come out for Woodrow Wilson, who appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In 1928 and 1930 he was elected governor of New York, and in 1932 to the first of his four terms as President.] In Washington, he did an excellent job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, for he endeared himself to the regular naval officers by his enthusiasm for naval power and the remarkable seamanship which he loved to display whenever he went to sea; he handled all the difficult problems of naval contracts and the Navy's labor relations with real astuteness and efficiency; and he made a major contribution to the U.S. Navy's readi¬ ness for its role in the First World War. Beginning to go their separate ways The Roosevelts had their last two sons during their first years in Washington. It also seems probable that in Washington they began to go their own ways for the first time, albeit very tentatively until a severe crisis occurred in their lives shortly before the Wash¬ ington years came to an end. One reason for the diver¬ gence was simple enough. Franklin Roosevelt loved the world and its pleasures, whereas Eleanor Roosevelt al¬ ready rather plainly found the world and its pleasures only intermittently enjoyable and even unpleasant on occasion. "Duty first" was just as plainly the leitmotiv of her first Washington experience as it was, indeed, of her entire remarkable and admirable life. One can best see how differently the husband and wife ap¬ proached the more worldly and pleasure-aimed side of Washington by examining their different approaches to Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt's elder daughter and thus another first cousin of Eleanor Roosevelt's. Alice Longworth was one of those people who are major figures while they live, yet leave little behind except their memories. She was beautiful, witty, intel¬ ligent and tough-minded, and she had a mortal horror of anything or anyone with the least savor of gush or sentimentality, earnest dullness or overly ostentatious virtue. Simple goodness, moreover, was by no means her favorite human quality. She preferred an am¬ bience more complex, more scintillating and more highly colored than the simply good are likely to gen¬ erate. Since being good was always Eleanor Roosevelt's grand aim, she was not made for intimacy with her cousin and had rather feared her from childhood. As a matter of course, both Roosevelts were wel¬ comed in Washington by Alice Longworth and her husband, Nicholas Longworth, a rich, worldly, witty, self-indulgent and already powerful Congressman. But her cousin suspected Eleanor Roosevelt of avoid¬ ing going to her house any more often than good man¬ ners required, while Franklin Roosevelt went when¬ ever he could, often without his wife in the late after¬ noon, because he had a "grand time"—his phrase until the end of his life for any enjoyable experience. "Patience on a monument" One more reminiscence of those years will be enough to complete this installment of the evidence that a divergence between husband and wife began in Wash¬ ington. In this case, the evidence comes from the late Mrs. Warren Delano Robbins, whose diplomat hus¬ band was a cousin, close friend and former Hudson River neighbor of Franklin Roosevelt. The Robbinses were staying with the Roosevelts when the time came for one of the big private balls that were still given in Washington even after U.S. entry into the First World War. All four went to dinner and the ball to¬ gether, but Eleanor Roosevelt left long before mid¬ night, explaining that she hated dancing and would send the car back. When the other three got home at last at nearly 4 a.m., they found Eleanor Roosevelt impersonating patience on a monument on the doormat of the Roose¬ velt house. Rising from her doormat, she explained sweetly that she had "idiotically" forgotten to bring her own door key. Her husband a bit acidly inquired why on Earth she had not taken a cab back to the ball, to get a key from him (for there were plenty of cabs on the street in Washington in those days). "I knew you were all having such a glorious time," she replied, "and I didn't want to spoil the fun." The truth was, Eleanor Roosevelt was exceedingly angry, because she already suspected that her hus- band's late hours at the ball were entirely owing to the presence of the beautiful Lucy Mercer, later Mrs. Win- throp Rutherfurd. A great deal has been written about the relationship between Mrs. Rutherfurd and the future President, little of it accurate. For one thing, until the very last years of her life, Eleanor Roosevelt pretended for the record that there had been no such relationship. As for Mrs. Rutherfurd, in her later years after the Second World War she lived mainly in Aiken, South Carolina, where she was visited by both the late Charles E. Bohlen and Mrs. John Hay Whitney. To Bohlen's astonishment, Mrs. Rutherfurd made it clear that the President kept none of his most intimate wartime concerns and gravest secrets from her. Mrs. Making light of his handicap, the President swings himself down steps at the White House in 1933. One-year-old Franklin perches on the shoulder of his father in 1883. The father died in 1900. FDR (right) as "Uncle Bopaddy" in senior class play at Groton. lop hat belonged to his father. Whitney had grown much attached to the President while married to his son, James Roosevelt, and Mrs. Rutherfurd knew this. To Mrs. Whitney she was there¬ fore even more forthright, telling her that although she loved Winthrop Rutherfurd and owed him much, Franklin Roosevelt nonetheless had been the love of her life. In sum, Franklin Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer were unquestionably in love with one another in Washing¬ ton in that long ago wartime; but those who have sug¬ gested in print that the love affair followed the usual course of a love affair in the 1980s are erroneous. Ex¬ cept among a minority of "the swells"—always a small set—the ways of the group both Franklin Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer came from had no resemblance what- On a family trip to Germany in 1892, ten-year-old Franklin takes aim at a target in Karlsruhe. ever to the ways of English society in which known lovers were discreetly given neighboring rooms in big country houses. Meanwhile, one of the indisputable turning points in Roosevelt's life was his attack of infantile paralysis, which occurred at Campobello in August 1921. He was a recognizably tired man when he sailed for Campo¬ bello on Van-Lear Black's yacht, Sabalo. Black's cap¬ tain did not know the Northern waters well; the weather was dirty; and Roosevelt had a long and tir¬ ing battle to pilot Sabalo to a safe anchorage in Welch- pool Harbor in the Bay of Fundy. Home at Campo¬ bello, he went swimming in the freezing water with two of his boys, and then jogged home, two miles away, still in his wet bathing suit. He believed in later life Honeymooning in Venice, Eleanor reads a newspaper and holds FDR's hat while he takes her picture. Roosevelt plays with his son Elliott, then nearly two, at the family summer home in Campobello, 1912. that his polio had probably begun to develop before he left Sabalo, and this would not be surprising in view of the physical tests he had been inflicting on himself; but the disease came into the open only after he got home from swimming with his sons. His supply of guts again served him well when it came time to try to deal with the heavy handicaps the polio had imposed on him. His approach was quite simply to refuse, and refuse for years on end, to ac¬ knowledge that the handicaps could be permanent. He exercised indefatigably, building up the broad shoulders, the powerful arms, and the barrel chest which all will remember who recall the man as he was in his years of national leadership. He also tried cure after cure, ending at last at Warm Springs. This Campobello snapshot shows Franklin, Eleanor, daughter Anna, and FDR's mother—always present. After his polio attack, Franklin's main exercise was swimming. Here he is at Warm Springs, Georgia. When he discovered Warm Springs, it was a hope¬ lessly run-down, old-fashioned Southern spa; and he put two-thirds of his private fortune—no less than 5200,000—into rehabilitating the place. Exercise in the warm-water pool benefited him greatly; he even dis¬ covered that, with the support of the warm water, he could walk again despite the extreme weakness of his legs. So he hoped to reach the stage of walking without the water to support him. In reality, of course, the hope of walking again was delusive. He learned to use his upper body's new strength to hoist himself from a special light wheel¬ chair he had made into any chair he wished to occupy for work or for talk; he had a small car rebuilt in such a way that he could drive without using foot pedals. and drive he did at Hyde Park and Warm Springs; and he learned to stand erect for considerable periods, al¬ beit not without constant discomfort, nor without the help of a heavy steel brace to keep his legs from buckling under him. I propose to take a little while to describe the hu¬ man scene of Roosevelt's endeavors as President, which was also, so to say, the stage on which the coun¬ try watched him in action. One must begin with the fact that Washington in the 1930s was still small and safe, and the government in Washington was still on a small and human scale. No security clearances needed Although Roosevelt had suffered one assassination attempt at the outset, when Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago was killed by his side in Miami, the Secret Service in the Roosevelt years was always unobtrusive. Nor did you need security clearance or a special card to enter any building in Washington, including the White House itself. There literally was no White House staff of the modern type with policy-making decisions. Two ex¬ tremely pleasant, unassuming and efficient men, Steve Early and Marvin Mclntyre, handled the President's day-to-day schedule and routine, the donkey-work of his press relations and such like. There was a secre¬ tarial camarilla of highly competent and dedicated ladies who were led by "Missy" LeHand, an efficient, very pretty woman who was widely supposed (I never knew whether correctly) to have been the President's resident mistress for a good many years. As for the famous press conferences, anything of the sort would be totally ruled out now by the enormous inflation of the news-handling business, both in size and self-importance. Today, Presidential press confer¬ ences are like vast but occasional circuses. Roosevelt's press conferences were downright cozy, in contrast, with no one there but seasoned professional reporters, all of whom knew one another and did not wish to make asses of themselves before their colleagues or the President they much liked and admired. The reader may suspect me of nostalgia, and the suspicion is well-founded. Since I have gone so far, I may as well go further. I had the good luck to be assigned Hyde Park for the weekend of the 1936 elec¬ tion and election night. With great difficulty, Mrs. James Roosevelt had been induced to invite everyone to the election night party: all the reporters like my¬ self, the two or three radio reporters (for there was no television then, of course), the entire White House staff from secretaries to advisers in attendance, all the Secret Service men, even the cameramen—a final group whose inclusion was known to have caused the Presi- dent's mother to come as close to kicking like a steer as a true lady could ever do. Perhaps because her mother-in-law had so strongly resisted the whole proj¬ ect, the commissary had been left to Eleanor Roose¬ velt, and therefore largely consisted of damp, dank, ostentatiously dreary roast beef sandwiches. But the President made sure there was plenty to drink, and it was a jolly party. The President was secluded in the dining room with Steve Early and Marvin Mclntyre, following and ana¬ lyzing the returns coming in on three specially in¬ stalled press tickers—for even radio, in those days, did not reliably cover the whole country. Mrs. James Roosevelt went among her guests, dispensing gracious- ness with just a trace of the tone of the lady of the manor reluctantly opening a bazaar she considered unworthy of her presence. Eleanor Roosevelt went about, too, very much herself, at once wonderful and a bit puritanical (she had a way of glancing at the quantities of Scotch in peoples' glasses), but above all dispensing a warm welcome to all. I think of the evening often, primarily because I do not suppose any American President on any future election night will ever again be able to have another family party—for that was what it was like—of the sort I remember so well. Not a place for the "beautiful people" As for the way the Roosevelts lived in the White House, the description involves a word seldom used now; yet the best way to put it is to say that they lived like a rather old-fashioned American gentleman's fam¬ ily in comfortable circumstances. Despite the liveried doormen, in other words, there was nothing in the way they lived that could be said in the smallest degree to be glossy, or particularly conspicuous, or likely to meet with the approval of the new group known as the "beautiful people." As a young man, the President had always got his suits from an English tailor, as was usual in those days for men of his sort, and I suspect he went on doing so— but he rarely took trouble about what he wore, and he only allowed himself two pairs of new shoes per an¬ num. No one in his senses could have hankered to know, either, which leading New York dressmaker was patronized by Eleanor Roosevelt. Her wedding dress was no doubt ordered from Worth in Paris, but when the trousseau was worn out, one may be certain she never again saw the inside of a leading dressmaker's establishment. As for her hats, on the rare occasions when convention required her to cover her head, her hats usually had the look of having been recently found under the bed. Then, too, the White House interiors were no more President for less than a year, FDR is greeted by well-wishers at Warm Springs, December 1933. decorated than Eleanor Roosevelt herself. Shabby things and new things, hideous things and fine things, jostled one another everywhere in the private rooms on the second, or private, floor of the White House, while the walls were all but papered with naval prints from the President's collection. The "beautiful peo¬ ple" would not have felt at home; yet their strongest disdain surely would have been aroused by the food that appeared on the White House table—in this case with justice. (The drink, being the President's depart¬ ment, was not actively repellent.) All the same, I cannot recall the Roosevelt White House today without a severe spasm of nostalgia. I was not asked there often—usually for the family festi¬ vals each year, sometimes for the regular Sunday sup¬ pers, more rarely when one of my mother's visits to Washington or something similar provided a special pretext. But on all occasions when I could form a judgment—and leaving the food aside—the style of life in the White House in the Roosevelt years struck me as pretty close to the perfect style of an American President. So much has been written already about the Church¬ ill-Roosevelt partnership that it will suffice to describe how this took the final shape which it fortunately maintained until the President's death. Only days after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill, Lord Beaver- brook, and a selection of British military leaders steamed out of the Clyde on a new warship, Duke of Roosevelt remembered York, and made the slow voyage in North Atlantic winter weather to see the President in Washington. At the White House, the British Prime Minister, of course, had the best bedroom. The food at the White House improved noticeably in Churchill's honor, and drink flowed more freely. What really mattered for the future, however, was that the British and American war leaders now pro¬ gressed from mutual liking and respect to warm inti¬ macy. Daily he and the President spent hours together, often alone with Harry Hopkins; almost daily they lunched together alone with Hopkins; and in the eve¬ ning, there were little parties, for which Roosevelt would perform his ritual of making the cocktails him¬ self, and the Prime Minister would then wheel the President to the dinner table in his light, mobile chair. It only remains to describe the virtues which made Roosevelt a great war President. The outcome is enough to testify to the greatness of these virtues. By any standard, the President's successes reduce his occa¬ sional errors to insignificance. He did not seek to inter¬ fere in the detailed command decisions of the armed services, as Winston Churchill did continuously. But he still required to be continuously informed in much detail, and he still kept all the major threads in his own hands, straightening out a kink or tangle when¬ ever one appeared. He chose the men who helped lead the war with altogether remarkable good judgment too. It is to be doubted, in truth, whether the Ameri¬ can government ever boasted before, or will boast again, such a constellation of great American public servants and military leaders as Washington contained in the Second World War. Maybe I have become a sorry praiser of the past, as men over 70 tend to do; but this is a personal memoir, and if I truly feel there were giants in the land in the Roosevelt years, I claim the right to say so. Even so, I have not yet come to what seems to me the greatest of Franklin Roosevelt's contributions as a war President. The nature of that contribution is best conveyed, I believe, by an experience of my own; I reached Hong Kong on Pearl Harbor Day with the Japanese forces already across the city's frontier on the mainland. The President went before Congress to ask for a declara¬ tion of war the day after Pearl Harbor, and in order to hear him I waited in the otherwise empty mid-level apartment where there was an antiquated although once-costly radio. The President's speech to the Joint Session was heard in Hong Kong, whether directly or by rebroadcast I have never figured out, when the dusk had already passed. The apartment was very imper¬ fectly blacked out, so no lights could be lit and I was in perfect darkness. By then, the Japanese were rather heavily bombing the mid-level, and the bombs were falling only blocks away. The radio was so faulty that I had to lie on the floor with my head just under it, in order to hear much of anything. I got the Presi¬ dent's drift, which was easy enough to predict in any case, but I caught no more than one word in two— hardly more than enough to be reminded of the timbre of his voice. Yet in these fairly gloomy and frustrating circum¬ stances, it never for one moment occurred to me that there might be the smallest doubt about the outcome of the vast war the President was asking Congress to declare in proper form. Nor did I find any other American throughout the entire war who ever doubted the eventual outcome. Even more than the feeling that there were giants in the land, I now feel nostalgia for the absolute confidence in the American future which was the necessary foundation of this total absence of doubt. Hope was in fact Franklin Roose¬ velt's greatest gift to his fellow Americans. Partly he gave us hope by his deeds, when he came to office in a time that seemed utterly devoid of hope. But even more, he gave us hope because all could see that he himself felt not the slightest doubt about the future at any time in his years as President. Defeats there might be (though they were rare) on this bill or that in Congress. Fearful military misfortunes there were, with Pearl Harbor itself the most notable and hard to comprehend. Grounds for even a slight temporary loss of hope there never were, however—at any rate in the President's mind; and somehow, his mind formed the minds of the overwhelming majority of other Americans who watched him in action in those years of hope. The strain of office is beginning to tell as FDR campaigns—for the last time—in New York, 1944.