Chapter 5: "Rendezvous with Destiny"
In 1936 as the incumbent President Franklin Roosevelt prepared to accept renomination as the Democrat’s Party candidate for President he was at little risk of losing reelection to the uninspiring Kansas Governor Alf Landon. But that didn’t stop Roosevelt from stepping to the lectern in Philadelphia’s Franklin Field and delivering the most radical presidential campaign speech by a major party candidate in American history. Rhetorically stabbing at the “economic royalists” who he claimed were threatening the economic freedom of American workers, Roosevelt’s acceptance speech became a sermon, a history lesson, and a forward-looking manifesto, offering a unique perspective on the evolution of freedom in American society and the role that Roosevelt believed the federal government must continue to play in the lives of its citizens.
Roosevelt was arguing that political freedom and economic freedom must go hand-in-hand and that if the “average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.” Beseeching his fellow citizens in a crusade to remake America, Roosevelt uttered some of the most beautiful words ever spoken on the campaign trail, “There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” Every American continues to feel the aftershocks of these poignant words. More than seventy years later, we are living in the America, Franklin Roosevelt remade that hot June night in Philadelphia