FDR's First Inaugural Address Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was our nation's 32nd president and served at a significant time in our history. This lesson plan introduces his first inaugural address to students with the help of a text lesson and hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize the economic and political climates at the time of FDR's first inaugural address
  • outline the content and implications of FDR's words in his first inaugural address


  • 1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


  • A video clip of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Photocopies of a transcript of FDR's first inaugural address
  • Red and blue colored pencils


  • Begin by playing the video clip of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address for the class. Discuss:
    • What can you tell about the time period in which this occurred based on the video?
  • Watch the lesson FDR's First Inaugural Address: Summary & Analysis as a class.
  • Pause at the section 'FDR and the Great Depression' and discuss:
    • How was it possible for FDR to serve four terms as president?
    • What lasting effects emerged from FDR's New Deal?
  • Then, watch the rest of the video lesson and discuss:
    • Why were FDR's words and intentions for the government viewed as controversial?
    • Do you think FDR's plans would be accepted in today's political climate?
  • Pass out the worksheet and ask students to work independently to complete it.

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