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What did FDR mean when he said, "Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of...

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uscluvsme25 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:30 AM via web

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What did FDR mean when he said, "Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds"?

i have to make a speech on this quote so i'd like to get a full understanding of what FDR is trying to say. thanks for the help!

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 3, 2010 at 6:31 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a statement that ties into FDR's belief that individuals can summon up the individual courage needed to face incredibly challenging odds.  Given the situation in which FDR was governing with intense economic crisis situations domestically and the looming threat of European fascism abroad, it might appear that individuals might have lacked any control or any freedom of will in such situations.  Statements like these were part of the leadership quality that FDR possessed in ensuring that Americans did not feel so very helpless.  The idea of ensuring that prison is something of the mindset allowed FDR to be able to identify that no condition existed where success could not be found unless they, themselves, believed that they could not succeed.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:36 AM (Answer #2)

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What President Roosevelt is saying in this quote is that we are able to affect our own destinies.  We are not controlled by fate.

Many people blame their problems on fate.  When they do this, Roosevelt says, they are imprisoning themselves. They become prisoners of their own minds because their minds are stopping them from achieving everything they could.

An example of this from my own life is that, for a long time, I thought I could not lose weight -- I thought my body wouldn't let me.  So that's like blaming fate.  But then I found out I could lose weight.  That showed that when I thought I was a prisoner of fate (making me fat) I was really a prisoner of my own mind.

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