Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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p. xi

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Preface

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p. xiii

The research into Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat was among the most interesting projects I have undertaken. After reading of his first radio address, I realized the particular challenge of writing about a very straightforward and simple speech. As a rhetorical...

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Address of President Rooseveltby Radio, Delivered from the White House at 10 p.m., March 12, 1933

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pp. 1-6

My friends: I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking—to talk with the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of banking, but more particularly with the overwhelming majority of you who use banks for the making of deposits and the drawing of checks. I want to tell you what has been...

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Introduction

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pp. 7-18

At 9 a.m. on March 13, 1933, many banks were opened for the first time since President Franklin D. Roosevelt had declared a bank holiday on March 6. With many appearing at banks’ doorsteps ready to deposit cash and gold, it was clear that the banking crisis...

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Chapter 1 Radio Roosevelt

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pp. 19-25

Franklin D. Roosevelt was an innovator; he liked to experiment, sought new ideas, and was not bound by the tried and true. Above all else, Roosevelt was a progressive thinker. No wonder he adopted radio early on. Roosevelt and radio were perfect for each other. Roosevelt became a prospective president when he was elected...

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Chapter 2 The Winter of Discontent

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pp. 26-36

The interregnum period from Election Day of November 8, 1932, to Inauguration Day on March 4, 1933, brought the three-year old Depression to a precarious and even dangerous level. The U.S. economy faltered badly, nearing collapse as an additional three million...

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Chapter 3 The Run on the Banks

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pp. 37-47

No single event caused the banking crisis in the winter of 1933, nor was there a sharp distinction between the banking crisis and the larger economic crisis since the stock market crash of 1929. For two years, bank failures flared up in various parts of...

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Chapter 4 A Banking Holiday

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pp. 48-58

Roosevelt was sworn in as president on Saturday, March 4, 1933. The inauguration day was constructed as a major rhetorical event, with Roosevelt addressing a distressed and fearful nation yearning for an end to the economic misery of the past three and a half years....

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Chapter 5 Crafting the Emergency Banking Act

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pp. 59-73

The banking crisis could not be solved without the legislation necessary to authorize emergency measures. Roosevelt’s efforts were directed toward this important legislation and quick enactment of the Emergency Banking Act. The most significant development in getting...

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Chapter 6 The First Fireside Chat

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pp. 74-98

Following Roosevelt's decision on Thursday, March 9, to extend the bank holiday until the following Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, the secretary of the treasury issued a statement on March 10 to the effect that “immediate action has been taken by the...

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Chapter 7 The Citizens' Letters

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pp. 99-125

In a cartoon from March 10, 1933, by H. M. Talburt in the New York World-Telegram, Roosevelt is portrayed as a lion trainer, standing on his two feet inside the cage with the lion roaring at him. The caption, a take on March’s fickle weather, reads, “And you’re...

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Chapter 8 Saving Capitalism

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pp. 126-134

The First Fireside Chat must be appreciated for the complexity of its construction. Crafting the proper rhetorical appeal is never an easy task, and it is doubly challenging during a crisis. In the context of a lengthy interregnum between Hoover and Roosevelt,...

Notes

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pp. 135-145

Bibliography

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pp. 146-148

Index

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p. 149