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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fire Side Chats

President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in early 1933. He would become the only president in American history to be elected to 4 consecutive terms. He would lead the nation through two of the greatest crisis in history. The great depression of the 1930s and the World War II which took place 1939 to 1945. Franklin would expand the role of the federal government through the  New Deal reform program. The years of March 1933 through June 1944 Roosevelt would address the American people through broadcast via radio. There would be 30 speeches in total with topics from banking to unemployment to fascism in Europe. The broadcast would comfort the people and renew confidence. These speeches would become known as Fireside Chats.

The first broadcast was on March 12, 1933.  Roosevelt would call on congress to come up with an emergency banking legislation to further aid the ailing financial institutions of America. During the chat he would praise the "fortitude and good temper with which everybody accepted the hardships of the baking holiday. The chats helped to calm the good people and when the banks opened the "bank runs" did not happen.

Radio broadcast was the best way for the President to talk to the good people of the U.S. The television had not been invented and some 90% of Americans owned a radio. It was a mass media way to communicate directly and intimately with the public. Roosevelt was not actually sitting beside a fireplace when h delivered speeches. "Fireside Chat" was coined by a CBS reporter in a press release before one of Roosevelt's speeches on May 7, 1933. The nick name would stick The speeches used simple language, concrete examples such as beloved past presidents, and analogies. He would start his speeches with "My friends" He was "I" and the American people were "you".

When I was a kid it seemed as if there were many more presidential speeches. I wonder in this day and time why there are not that many now. What do you think

"In spite of spreading wars, I think we have every right to maintain as a national policy the fundamental moralities, the teachings of religion, the continuation of peace, because someday we can be of an even greater help to a crippled humanity." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, September 3, 1939.

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