After 84 Years, FDR's First 100 Days Remain a Benchmark

4/28/2017 - Professor of History Eric Rauchway in the Huffington Post.

Americans didn’t talk about the first 100 days of their first 31 presidents. But the frantic reforms implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the spring of 1933 set a new standard for leadership that his successors would struggle to live up to. When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy laid out his agenda in 1961, his plea for patience reflected heightened public expectations established by FDR: “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, not in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.”

“Much of what was pushed through in the first 100 days were things for which there was pent-up demand within the Democratic electorate,” notes Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis and author of The Money Makersa study of Roosevelt’s economic program. “There was farm relief, labor relief, there were some early steps at public works. … But other stuff was just forced on him by the extreme circumstance of the moment.”

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

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