How to Listen to A Presidential Speech in 1933

It was a quiet and beautiful Saturday afternoon in October 1933. Will had just come back to his family farm from the nearby volunteer fire department in Farmersville, PA. When Will came into the farmhouse, his Mom advised him that a blade from the windmill was broken, halting their ability to grind wheat and pump clean drinking water for the family and their animals. Will’s mother also added there’s a Firechat from FDR tomorrow if he was interested.

Will got a replacement windmill blade from the family shed and he approached the windmill. A month ago, while he was over at his neighbor’s farm, he had helped to replace a blade damaged by a storm. His own windmill had been damaged yesterday by another storm. Today it became especially important that he fixed his own windmill because the water pump that provided fresh drinking water was out and didn’t want to miss the president’s Fireside chat that was tomorrow.

He got a ladder, tools, and the replacement blade. It took him a while to climb to the top. Once there, he replaced the blade with the new one. Once on the ground, he put away his tools and went inside. 

The next day, Will went to the windmill and felt proud of his work to fix the broken blade. His family had drinking water again and was able to listen to FDR speak about the progress the country had made during the Great Depression.

Will’s favorite part of the speech was when FDR talked about financial speculators who didn’t know anything about farming helping to raise the prices of farm commodities higher.

“It is true that in July farm commodity prices had been pushed up higher than they are today, but that push came in part from pure speculation by people who could not tell you the difference between wheat and rye, by people who had never seen cotton growing, by people who did not know that hogs were fed on corn — people who have no real interest in the farmer and his problems.

In spite, however, of the speculative reaction from the speculative advance, it seems to be well established that during the course of the year 1933 the farmers of the United States will receive 33 percent more dollars for what they have produced than they received in the year 1932.”