This 1940 FDR Letter To Democratic Party Is Just As Relevant Today


The Commoner Call (4/11/17)

In the election of 1940 the corporate forces within the Democratic party objected to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision to pick his progressive Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace as his vice presidential running mate. Then as now, the forces of high finance and big banking wanted to yank the party away from defending the commoners. Wall Street really didn’t want to see Wallace – the Bernie Sanders of his day – on the ticket. Then as now, top democratic party operatives were more interested in money, power and ego than the legitimate needs of the people.

FDR would have none of it. Unlike now, back then the Democratic party had a candidate of principle who also knew how to fight. He wrote out the letter below to the Democratic Convention. It was never sent as FDR’s wife, Eleanor was able to convince the party to go along with FDR’s wishes.

“This could be written today and should be written today,” notes Jimmy Dore in the video link below.

As Dore also notes, today’s democratic party is more likely to quote Ronald Reagan than FDR, even though it was FDR who saved this nation and won four terms by following solidly progressive principles.

Seventy-seven years later and at another point of national danger the DNC needs to hear FDR’s message.


Franklin D. Roosevelt Letter to the Democratic Convention
July 18, 1940

Members of the Convention:

In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal policies and principles of government.

The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values.

The Republican Party has made its nominations this year at the dictation of those who, we all know, always place money ahead of human progress.

The Democratic Convention, as appears clear from the events of today, is divided on this fundamental issue. Until the Democratic Party through this convention makes overwhelmingly clear its stand in favor of social progress and liberalism, and shakes off all the shackles of control fastened upon it by the forces of conservatism, reaction, and appeasement, it will not continue its march of victory.

It is without question that certain political influences pledged to reaction in domestic affairs and to appeasement in foreign affairs have been busily engaged behind the scenes in the promotion of discord since this Convention convened.

Under these circumstances, I cannot, in all honor, and will not, merely for political expediency, go along with the cheap bargaining and political maneuvering which have brought about party dissension in this convention.

It is best not to straddle ideals.

In these days of danger when democracy must be more than vigilant, there can be no connivance with the kind of politics which has internally weakened nations abroad before the enemy has struck from without.

It is best for America to have the fight out here and now.

I wish to give the Democratic Party the opportunity to make its historic decision clearly and without equivocation. The party must go wholly one way or wholly the other. It cannot face in both directions at the same time.

By declining the honor of the nomination for the presidency, I can restore that opportunity to the convention. I so do.


  • Jimmy Dore Show – “FDR’s Letter To Corporate Democrats Will Blow Your Mind”: 15-Minute Video