Franklin D. Roosevelt

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How did public and political expectations shape Roosevelt's decisions in the First Hundred Days?

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Roosevelt became president in 1932, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in history together with the one we are living now. The measures taken by his predecessor, Hoover, had proven ineffectual so the new president had to face political and public pressure to act quickly to try and reverse the dire situation of American economy. The nation felt the need of a strong and effectual leader to guide itself out of economic and social stagnation. The first one hundred days of Roosevelt's presidency were therefore devoted to the launch of the New Deal, particularly of its welfare and financial proposal, and the measure to restore the confidence of the country in its own means. Not surprisingly Roosevelt made this restoration of confidence one of the main points of his inaugural speech famously stating that "the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror".

The public pressure to put under control the banking and financial system was met with the Emergency Banking Act (1933) and the Truth in Securities Act (1933), although some historians claim that the Emergency Banking Act was a fundamentally conservative law that preserved the status quo more than anything else. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) tried to meet the farmers' demands of having their purchasing power restored. The Civilian Conservation Corps (1933) became a way to create jobs in public works which was also the idea of the larger plan of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

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