Analysis of Roosevelt's "First Fireside Chat"

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First Fireside Chat

On March 12, 1933, a worried nation gathered around their radio sets, hearts low and faith shattered as a result of the ripple of terror pulsing through our nation during the Great Depression. Our economy appeared to be on a jarring, seemingly unstoppable course towards liquidation after the market crash of 1929, hysteric Americans trampling one another in attempt to collect their deposited money from banks—money which these banks did not have. Promising prompt, vigorous action to ratify the situation, the optimistic presidential-hopeful Roosevelt won the Election of 1932 by a landslide; America was ready for change. Immediately after his election, Roosevelt began fulfilling the promise through formulated policies designed to ease the economic hardships Americans were feeling in order to put our country back on sound footing. However, in order for his radical program, the “New Deal” to be successful, it required unwavering confidence in the Federal Reserve System, a tough conception as the public’s impression of our economy was less then stellar. In order to bolster America’s morale and faith, Roosevelt began a series of informal speeches over the radio as he explained his recipe for success in clear and concise—but never condescending—terms, hoping to rally support once again for our banks. Coined the “Fireside Chat”, Roosevelt attempted to sway the American public to trust in our banking system by explaining his logical zealous banking legislation in a personal fashion; touching language instills a sense of optimism and unity while imagery breaks down the complexity of banking mechanics to where the majority of Americans can understand. In the words of Roosevelt, “Together we cannot fail”.

Undermining his program is the “cooperation of the public”, and persuasion of the people is a driving force guiding his speech. Roosevelt’s voice, already familiar due to his many years of public service and recent presidential campaign, took on an...
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