FDR: Presidential Leadership

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By the time Franklin Roosevelt assumed the presidency, the American economy was in a state of shock. The New York Stock Exchange was shut down, more than five thousand banks had failed, soup kitchens were working overtime, and the jobless rate in some cities ran as high as 80 percent.

In the dark days of the Great Depression, not only was American capitalism imperiled, but American Democracy itself was in doubt. In his new book, journalist and author Jonathan Altar writes of FDR's first hundred days — from his inaugural speech, to his fireside chats, to his bank bail-out and the birth of social security. It was a New Deal of hope and leadership for a nation that had lost both.

Hear Jonathan Alter talk about FDR's Defining Moment.


Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist and author of "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor of the Atlantic Monthly

This program aired on June 26, 2006.


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