March 12 - 1933 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Gives His First Fireside Chat
Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office not just in the midst of the Great Depression, but in the middle of a banking crisis featuring a series of runs on banks across the country. The failure of many banks to give money to customers on demand in such large quantities threatened the banking system as a whole. Legislatively, Roosevelt helped an Emergency Banking bill make it through the Congress almost instantly. Yet he still faced the problem of convincing Americans he was really addressing the problems of the country. Roosevelt then gave a small radio address to the nation, outlining how the banking system was being reformed to benefit everyday Americans. Roosevelt's address was a simple statement describing what would happen next, but also encouraged citizens throughout the nation. It would be Roosevelt's very first "fireside chat," a tool Roosevelt would use to be able to speak directly to Americans. The name "fireside chat" described Roosevelt's style, which sounded like he was discussing the problems facing America around a fire with just a few people.