JANUARY 20, 1953
NORTHFIELD, Minn.—This is Inauguration Day and though I am in Minnesota, far away from Washington, D.C., I can picture very vividly what this means to those who are coming to power as well as to those who are going out.
There may have been mistakes in policies in the past few years, but when I look over the big decisions I think history will say that on the whole difficult situations were met with courage and handled as wisely as human beings who are not all-knowing can handle such situations.
President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson have faced and tried to solve questions that were most important to the country and the world in these past few years.
When my husband first came into office in 1933 it was domestic questions that he had to solve. The country's business was practically at a standstill. I can recall seeing the many factory chimneys that belched no smoke; I can remember the shortness of our freight trains. These things spelled poverty for so many of our people in rural and city areas. The measures taken at that time have made it more difficult for domestic situations to follow the old pattern; under the Democratic party the rights of and the concern shown for the individual have been carefully fostered.
Then we reached the stage when international affairs were the most important. We had to win a war. Our leadership in the world was established. We had to assume responsibility for the free world.
I think we have acted courageously and wisely, and I am grateful to President Truman and Secretary Acheson. Many others at the top level have served the country well and faithfully. I recognize failure of some of the little people. I recognize that, as nearly always happens with power, there were some people who could not resist temptation. But these made up only a small percentage and did not hurt the country very much.
Now a new Administration has taken over. All of us will want the country to prosper. There are difficult questions that have to be met, and they must be faced with wisdom and courage.
I read that Senator Paul Douglas said the other day that when the new Administration was right it should be supported by all. I agree entirely with this point of view, but I cannot help fearing that the point of view of the people now in office may be turned more easily toward big business and special interests and less toward the rights of the individual. We must wait to gauge this as new history is being written.
In the meantime may the responsibilities that face our new leaders bring with them a world outlook and a deep interest in the fundamental well-being of our own people and the peoples of the world. This will be the prayer of all good citizens.