Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't Know Much About the First 100 Days: Then and Now

Today's guest blogger is Kenneth C. Davis, author of the bestselling America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation. Here, he gives us a historical perspective on the "First 100 Days" of our presidents.

As a yardstick of Presidential accomplishment, the “First 100 Days” is surely a faulty measure. Lincoln’s first one hundred days were miserable, and included the beginning of the Civil War.

But ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed sixteen pieces of major legislation and fundamentally altered the American political landscape during one hundred days back in 1933, the bar has been set very high for Presidents.

With the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt remade American government between March 9 and July 16, 1933, with a special session of Congress that closed the nation’s banks for a “holiday,” rammed through laws that created entirely new federal agencies, and radically altered the American economy. He even amended the Prohibition laws so Americans could have a beer. (Full repeal of Prohibition came a bit later.)

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