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Obama’s 100 days in office

By Gabriel Schneider
Published: May 2009

In 1933, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as President of the United States, the country was in utter turmoil; banks failed across the board, unemployment soared and industry as a whole collapsed.
Today, although bread lines aren’t exactly lining street corners, America is facing a strikingly similar situation to that of the 1930s.

In Obama’s victory speech at Grant Park, he struck a chord in the American people by deliberately referencing the Great Depression: “When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

With his prose came a sense of stability; a sense that the country has already made it through hard times before, and can do it again.

FDR accomplished an unprecedented amount of reform in his presidency. As part of his acclaimed New Deal, he created more than a dozen major pieces of legislature in his first hundred days as president.

In Obama’s hundred days, his ambitions have been almost equally as impressive. He passed the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, signed into law the Ledbetter law which requires equal pay for women, and has broken from the Bush administration on a number of international policies including climate change.

FDR was also able to communicate with the average person through his “fireside chats. Like Obama today, FDR inspired the average citizen and was able to communicate his hopes for a better future.

In Obama’s hundred days as president, the country has gotten a taste of his work as Commander in Chief.

There are some truly striking similarities between the two presidents. For one, Both Obama and FDR took advantage of the economic emergencies at hand to pass massive spending bills. With little time to reflect upon, let alone read the entire $787 billion “stimulus package, congress passed the bill in fear of immediate economic turmoil. This strategy was taken from the successful “emergency banking bill of the Roosevelt administration, which was passed in roughly 30 minutes.

Both presidents have also stretched the limits on the powers of the presidency. Obama, like FDR, can work a crowd and inspire the average person. Furthermore, as FDR used his powder for reform, Obama has also already provided strong leadership that will bring the country in a new direction.

Obama described such an ability to change in his speech following his presidential victory: “For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

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