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FDR shortly after giving one of his famous fireside chats
The fireside chats were a series of thirty evening radio speeches given by United Statesmarker President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944.

Origin of radio address

According to Roosevelt’s principal speechwriter Judge Clinton Sorrel, he first used "fireside chats" in 1929 during his first term as Governor of New York. Roosevelt faced a conservative Republican legislature so during each legislative session he would occasionally address the citizens of New York directly in the camelback room. He appealed to them for help getting his agenda passed. Letters would pour in following each of these "chats," which helped pressure legislators to pass measures Roosevelt had proposed. He began making the informal addresses as President on March 12, 1933, during the Great Depression.

Chronological list of Presidential fireside chats

  1. On the Bank Crisis - Sunday, March 12, 1933
  2. Outlining the New Deal Program - Sunday, May 7, 1933
  3. On the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program - Monday, July 24, 1933
  4. On the Currency Situation - Sunday, October 22, 1933
  5. Review of the Achievements of the Seventy-third Congress - Thursday, June 28, 1934
  6. On Moving Forward to Greater Freedom and Greater Security - Sunday, September 30, 1934
  7. On the Works Relief Program - Sunday, April 28, 1935
  8. On Drought Conditions - Sunday, September 6, 1936
  9. On the Reorganization of the Judiciary - Tuesday, March 9, 1937
  10. On Legislation to be Recommended to the Extraordinary Session of the Congress - Tuesday, October 12, 1937
  11. On the Unemployment Census - Sunday, November 14, 1937
  12. On Economic Conditions - Thursday, April 14, 1938
  13. On Party Primaries - Friday, June 24, 1938
  14. On the European War - Sunday, September 3, 1939
  15. On National Defense - Sunday, May 26, 1940
  16. On National Security - Sunday, December 29, 1940
  17. Announcing Unlimited National Emergency - Tuesday, May 27, 1941 (the longest fireside chat)
  18. On Maintaining Freedom of the Seas - Thursday, September 11, 1941
  19. On the Declaration of War with Japan - Tuesday, December 9, 1941
  20. On Progress of the War - Monday, February 23, 1942
  21. On Our National Economic Policy - Tuesday, April 28, 1942
  22. On Inflation and Progress of the War - Monday, September 7, 1942
  23. Report on the Home Front - Monday, October 12, 1942
  24. On the Coal Crisis - Sunday, May 2, 1943
  25. On Progress of War and Plans for Peace - Wednesday, July 28, 1943
  26. Opening Third War Loan Drive - Wednesday, September 8, 1943
  27. On Tehran and Cairo Conferences - Friday, December 24, 1943
  28. State of the Union Message to Congress - Tuesday, January 11, 1944
  29. On the Fall of Rome - Monday, June 5, 1944
  30. Opening Fifth War Loan Drive - Monday, June 12, 1944


Rhetorical Manner

Sometimes beginning his talks with "Good evening, friends", Roosevelt urged listeners to have faith in the banks and to support his New Deal measures. The "fireside chats" were considered enormously successful and attracted more listeners than the most popular radio shows during the "Golden Age of Radio." Roosevelt continued his broadcasts into the 1940s, as Americans turned their attention to World War II.Roosevelt's first fireside chat was March 12, 1933, which marked the beginning of a series of 30 radio broadcasts to the American people reassuring them the nation was going to recover and shared his hopes and plans for the country. The chats ranged from fifteen to forty-five minutes and eighty percent of the words used were in the one thousand most commonly used words in the English dictionary.

Weekly address

Every US President since Roosevelt has delivered a regular address. Presidents Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush delivered weekly Saturday radio broadcasts, while President Barack Obama introduced providing his address in audio and video forms, both of which are available online via YouTube. It has long become customary for the President's Weekly Radio Address to be followed an hour later (on the radio) by a 'response' (not always a topical response) by a member of the opposing political party (the respondent from the opposing party changes each week, while the president is the same for 4 or 8 years).

References

  1. What Were The "Fireside Chats"?
  2. President Obama's Weekly Video Address from the White House website
Mankowski, Diana, and Raissa Jose. "FDR's Fireside Chats." The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 18 Apr. 2009.

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