The Fireside Conversations Literary Review
The Great Depression was a time of great turmoil in the United States. Many Americans were without a job and did not have enough resources to take care of their families. The people of the United States were worried that they might never get out of this depression; that was until Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to be President. The people stood behind him and truly believed that he could get them out of this depression.
In the book The Fireside Conversations: America Responds to FDR during the Great Depression, there is a collection of letters that the people of the United States wrote to Roosevelt while he was in office. This collection of letters allows us to
“approach FDR and the New Deal through the eyes of contemporaries who viewed what was transpiring in Washington from outside the centers of power, but who felt its effects at first hand and who responded to their President with gratitude, criticism, and advice” (pg. 4).
Roosevelt was said to be “delighted because the letters indicated an ‘increasing and wholesome reawakening of public interest in the affairs of government” (pg. 5). He felt this was important because the people of the United States deserved to have a say in what they would like to happen in their own country (Levine and Levine, 4, 5).
Roosevelt would use the radio to inform the people of the United States of what was happening in their country. The people of the United States liked listening to him over the radio; the mayor of Richland Center, Wisconsin, said, “An old friend said to me this morning ‘I almost wept during the President’s talk last night, it seemed he was sitting by my side talking in plain simple words to me” (pg.3). His talks on the radio are later termed “Fireside Chats” (Levine and Levine, 3).
FDR introduced the New Deal to the people during one of these chats. The New Deal consisted of several programs that would put the American people back to work, therefore, lessening the amount of people that were unemployed. FDR stated that the New Deal was an “orderly modernization of a system we want to preserve” (pg.220). It also was “trying to save the economic and social systems of the United States” (pg. 62). It did this by developing different programs that focused on different issues that were arising in the United States. Some of the programs that FDR was proposing were “the Emergency Banking Act, which provided rules that the banks had to follow in order to reopen, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which enlisted a quarter of a million unemployed young men, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), to provide public coordination and development of the resources of a large and troubled area of the nation, and many other programs as well”(pg. 63). FDR wanted the American people to also write letters to their state congressmen to tell them to accept these programs so that the country as a whole will benefit (Levine and Levine, 62, 220, 63).
In the letters that...