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Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat
Student Worksheet
FDR’s first ten days in office had been marked by a flurry of emergency measures designed to
curb the downward spiral of the U.S. banking system and to put the nation as a whole back on a
firmer economic footing. One of those measures was the bank holiday, which closed all the
banks for five days so that the government could examine their financial health. By March 15 th,
many banks had been certified as sound enough to be reopened and the stock market had risen
significantly above its mid-February low. FDR had been president for only two months when he
gave this radio address to the nation.
Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats
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Answer the following questions about the primary source in COMPLETE SENTENCES! Answer
all parts of the question.
1. What do you think FDR hoped to accomplish by holding these fireside chats? Why do
you think he called them “fireside chats” instead of radio addresses or speeches?
2. Who would have been likely to listen to the fireside chats? How might have they
benefited by listening to them?
3. Roosevelt said, “The country was dying by inches.” How does he justify this opinion?
4. In part 5 of the chat, why do you think Roosevelt spent so much time talking about
Congress before focusing on his economic recovery plan?
5. Part 7 discusses the Civilian Conservation Corps. Here Roosevelt states, “we are killing
two birds with one stone” because the CCC will be both “enhancing the value of our
natural resources” and “giving opportunity of employment to one quarter of a million of
the unemployed.” Do you think these two goals were equal in importance? Why or
why not?
6. In part 8 he refers to “incident benefits” of the TVA reaching the entire nation. Was
Roosevelt just trying to convince everyone that a local project was in the national
interest? Were there specific benefits that the TVA would provide for the country as a
7. In part 18, Roosevelt states, “We cannot ballyhoo ourselves back to prosperity.” What
does he mean by this?
8. In part 29, FDR says, “…the domestic situation is inevitably and deeply tied with the
conditions in all the other nations of the world.” Why do you think he thought it was
important to make this point?
9. Part 22 suggests a broader concern than economic recovery. “We are working toward a
definite goal, which is to prevent the return of conditions which came very close to
destroying what we call modern civilization.” What “conditions” do you think he is
referring to here? Based on your knowledge of the era, do you think most Americans
would have agreed with the president that this was the goal of the New Deal?
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