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Franklin D. Roosevelt's first 100 days in office were a whirlwind of action. He was inaugurated on March 4 in the middle of a bank panic. The next day he closed all banks and declared a "bank holiday" until the most solvent banks were allowed to reopen. The the president launched into what he called "immediate relief". He asked and got Congress to pass a record number of bills which all were aimed at getting the nation's economy back on track. These bills included the Federal Relief Emergency Act, the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Tennessee Authority and gave much broader regulatory powers to the Federal Trade Commission and set money aside to help millions of farm owners and homeowners avoid foreclosure. These large measures helped Roosevelt's New Deal get off to a successful beginning. Later, the Courts declared much of the New Deal unconstitutional, but during those first 100 days and immediately following, the country was given hope that the economy would improve. For obvious reasons, some people are now comparing FDR's first 100 days to what will be Barack Obama's first 100 days.
Roosevelt began office when America was scared and extremely panicked. A very famous passage by Arthur Schlesinger about the mood before FDR took office reads as follows:
It was now a matter of seeing whether a representative democracy could conquer economic collapse. It was a matter of staving off violence - even, some though - revolution.
Rather like incoming President Obama, FDR's first job was to try and stabilise a very instable economy. The day after his speech (March 5) he declared a bank holiday, closing the banks until stability could be regained.
He also got the "Emergency Banking Bill" through Congress very easily, and, the soundest banks reopened on March 12, and quickly regained stability.
Hoover had allowed two previous bank panics to continue uninterrupted, which had provoked economic disaster - and, understandably, Roosevelt's intervention hugely aided his reputation and popularity.
Roosevelt's "New Deal" next set about to provide money and relief for the poorest citizens, and to stabilise the nation's economy so that it could withstand panics again in the future. In his first 100 days, he submitted a huge number of bills to Congress, mainly aimed at providing relief to the poor, all of which passed.
These included the creation of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
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