FDR in One Hundred Days
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President in 1932 when the United States was at the lowest point economically in all of the country’s history. Roosevelt led the United States through the Great Depression and World War II. Within the first One Hundred days in office, President Roosevelt proposed radical economic reform called The New Deal. Many of these policies and programs, continued to have significant impacts on the nation for many decades.
The three “R’s”: Relief, Recovery, and Reform were in response to the Great Depression. Relief was for the unemployed and poor, recovery was to return the economy to normal levels, and reform of the financial system was to prevent a repeat depression. The President was a “master of political communication” (Foner,172). He would address the nation by radio in what was known as “fireside chats”. This way of communication brought his message of freedom directly into Americans’ living rooms, by bypassing the mostly pro-Republican Press” (Foner,172). President Roosevelt quoted President Lincoln by saying “The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities” (Foner,173).
President Roosevelt started the reform by overhauling the entire banking system by taking the United States off of the Gold Standard. The Gold Standard means that currency is backed by gold. Congress passed a policy that nullified the rights of creditors to demand payment in gold. When the country fell into the Depression, the frightened public started hoarding gold, lowering the value of the dollar.
“The Glass-Steagall Act was passed and prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. The act forced a separation of commercial and investment banks by preventing commercial banks from underwriting securities, with the exception of U.S. Treasury and...