So the biggest theme of Robert Alter's book is ACTION. Alter is spot-on when he declares that action was more important to Roosevelt than policy substance: Activism that attacked the Depression's symptoms was as effective politically as finding a cure. Given that our economic slowdown is at its EXTREMES (stock market, consumer sentiment, debt levels, credit crunch, bank health, etc) that time period is our only comparison from a historical perspective.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Some speeches live forever, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural address, carried to tens of millions of Americans by radio at the lowest depths of the Great Depression, remains among them. Eight days later, FDR delivered his first "fireside chat." When a special session of Congress adjourned after exactly 100 days, major programs for economic regulation, relief, reform and recovery were in place. Hope and optimism had been restored.
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