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This Day In Market History: FDR's First Fireside Chat

This Day In Market History: FDR's First Fireside Chat

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On Sunday, March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first fireside chat broadcast during the lowest point of The Great Depression.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 was trading at 8.87.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began Jan. 5. In the same month, United States Congress recognized The Philippines Independence. On March 15, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 15.3 percent, the largest one-day gain in history up to that point.

Fireside Chats

On March 12, FDR addressed the nation in his first ever “fireside chat” broadcast in which he addressed the state of U.S. banking.

A week prior, FDR had ordered a “Bank Holiday” in which he closed the nation’s banks and froze all transactions in order to prevent mass withdrawals. The banks reopened March 13.

Roosevelt’s fireside chats were aimed at boosting confidence in his leadership and were eventually used to build support for his New Deal initiatives to bolster the U.S. economy, reduce unemployment, stabilize the banking system and raise wages. The chats ran from 1933-1944.

By addressing the American people directly, these broadcasts marked a historic shift in the way in which Presidents communicated with the public.

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