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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

FDR: The First Hundred Days

The New York Times, March 5, 1933

FDR giving his first fireside chat, March 12, 1933.

I have seen nothing mentioned about this in the news media, so I'm posting for the record:  this past Saturday, March 4th, was the 90th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inauguration in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression.  The first 100 days that followed were a great turning point in our history, as FDR and a newly elected Democratic majority in both houses of Congress kick-started the New Deal, providing relief and hope to the nation.  

By a strange coincidence, Adolf Hitler had come to power in Germany just a few weeks earlier; both men had a rendezvous with destiny, as yet unforeseen.

FDR's decisive actions and his compassionate, optimistic, encouraging fireside chats over the new-fangled radio system made a profound impression on many millions of Americans that was still vividly remembered by my parents and grandparents a generation later, when I came along.  As my little grandmother said, in her homely way, "If it hadn't-a been for Roosevelt, we'd have all perished to death."

His predecessor, the Republican Herbert Hoover, was a decent, highly intelligent man who had engineered food relief for starving European nations in the aftermath of World War I; but Hoover failed the test of history when it came to helping his own fellow citizens stricken by the Depression.  Then as now, upscale Republicans balked at providing any concrete help to the poor and needy, putting their own profits and pocketbooks first.  Ninety years later, we see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here is Part I of a very well-made documentary shown on the History Channel in 2005, covering Roosevelt's presidency from his first inauguration down to the beginning of World War II.  I've watched it several times, and recommend it to my truckbuddies. I don't know where Part II is; I can't find it on YouTube.


P. S. - Since the first of the year, on sunny days I've been taking little walks around the neighborhood, which is in the older part of town.  One day I noticed an impression in the concrete sidewalk:



1 9 3 8

That stretch of sidewalk is still in fine shape, as if it were laid out yesterday:  one of FDR's many enduring legacies to the nation.



Davis said...

Mt Father was a Hoover Republican. Having read about the man, I can see why. It's tragic that this generation of Republicans didn't learn anything - in fact - while pretending to love tradition, they eschew history altogether.

Russ Manley said...

I agree. Meanwhile, some Democrats are bent on *erasing* history, which is perhaps even worse. Both parties have gotten far off track, in my view. I have been holding my tongue for a long while, but I might post something about that one day soon.

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