The Fireside Chats

On this day in 1933, newly-minted President Franklin Roosevelt delivers the first of many “fireside chats.” These addresses broadcast to a nation savaged by economic calamity helped quell irrationality, and in this writer’s humble estimation played a key role in FDR’s mission to keep the US tacking a relative center course.

Without studied leadership and brilliant staffing, the US very well could have taken a cue from authoritarian regimes to the extreme right or left, and these speeches presage those of Winston Churchill during the darkest hours of the Battle of Britain.

And so in this vein, the President told a shaken populace “Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system; and it is up to you to support and make it work. It is your problem, my friends, your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.”

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