The New Deal

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Besides the actual New Deal policies, what did FDR do to restore confidence among the American people?

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In an attempt to bolster the spirits and confidence of the American public, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously proclaimed, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" in his first inaugural address. Moreover, the Fireside Chats, a series of evening radio broadcasts delivered between 1933 and 1944,were well-received by the country. In them, FDR was careful to use accessible language and an often informal tone as well as personal pronouns to speak directly to his national constituency. It would not be a stretch to call him the "reassurer-in-chief," as his consistent message that people should keep the faith resonated with an unsettled country.

His "bank holiday," a seven-day period in March of 1933 during which banks would be closed until they established their solvency to federal inspectors, did much to restore the public's confidence in the banking industry and stock market.

During the first hundred days of his first term, FDR laid the groundwork for many of the New Deal programs, focusing his efforts on economic relief to create employment opportunities for those without jobs and help for struggling farmers. His call to Congress to repeal Prohibition nine days after his inauguration not only provided economic stimulus, it restored a sense of freedom to Americans, particularly with his remark, "I think this would be a good time for a beer."

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