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FDR No Stranger to Ogdensburg

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife were close friends with Ogdensburg Mayor Julius Frank and his wife Marion Sanger Frank. Their wives were active in the Women’s Suffrage movement together. Roosevelt came to Ogdensburg in 1920 as friends of the Franks. He came again as President in 1940 to negotiate the Ogdensburg Agreement with Canada’s Prime Minister.

But in 1920, 100 Years Ago in Ogdensburg


Of Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt

OGDENSBURG, N. Y., Fall 1920

(Roosevelt was campaigning for the Vice Presidency of the United States. These are Roosevelt's actual remarks in Ogdensburg at the old Opera House the Sherman Inn obtained from the Franklin Roosevelt Center which still has a copy of his speech. - Jim Reagen)

"I hope that every voter will make a special effort to think back over the history of the past two years and to make application of that history to the present campaign. For instance, it is of distinct interest to think over the change of mind which certain Republican Leaders have sustained on the subject of the League of Nations. The important thing is that where there has been a change of mind, there must have been some motive for it.

What that motive is, it also is written in history. We remember that when President Wilson returned to the United States for the first time, bringing with him the first draft of the Covenant of the League, he held conferences with Senator Roosevelt Spoke At Ogdensburg’s Opera House Where City Hall Now Stands in 1920.

(Henry Cabot) Lodge and with other Republican Leaders, including Senator (Warren G.) Harding, and received suggestions from them as to several ways in which they believed the Covenant could be improved. President Wilson returned to Europe and it became obvious that he would be able to incorporate the suggested changes, including that of definite recognition of the Monroe Doctrine.

This was the turning point in the whole Republican policy. It became obvious that the President was obtaining in Paris a League of Nations satisfactory not merely to the Senate of the United States, but to the whole American people. Here is where partisan politics first came to light. This is the unwritten history of what really happened - William Hays, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, hurried to Washington and called Senators into secret conference. He pointed out to them that a successful outcome of the President's efforts to restore peace and to gain the greatest object of the War - a permanent peace through the League of Nations - would spell inevitable Republican defeat in the coming Presidential Election, then about a year and half away. He pointed out that President Wilson would be acclaimed throughout the World, as he was being in the United States, as the man who had at last been able to accomplish the World's ideal of putting an end to future wars. Will Hays delivered in effect an ultimatum to the Republican Senators that they must choose between a surrender of power to the Democratic Party, and a deliberate and carefully planned campaign to throw over the threat of peace and to discredit the President of the United States…

A copy of this speech is now on display at the Sherman Inn in Ogdensburg.


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