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The Hundred Days, Franklin Roosevelt’s first fifteen weeks in office, have become the stuff of legend, a mythic yardstick against which every subsequent American president has felt obliged to measure himself. The renowned historian Anthony J. Badger cuts through decades of politicized history to provide a succinct, balanced, and timely reminder that Roosevelt’s accomplishment was above all else an exercise in exceptional political craftsmanship. Declaring that Americans had “nothing to fear but fear itself,” Roosevelt entered the White House in 1933 confronting 25 percent unemployment, bank closings, and a nationwide crisis in confidence.From March 9 to June 16, FDR sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. From legalizing the sale of beer to providing mortgage relief to millions of Americans, Roosevelt launched the New Deal that conservatives have been working to roll back ever since. Badger emphasizes Roosevelt’s political gifts even as the president and his brain trust of advisers, guided by principles, largely felt their way toward solutions to the nation’s manifold problems. Reintroducing the contingency that marked those fateful days, Badger humanizes Roosevelt and suggests a far more useful yardstick for future presidents: the politics of the possible under the guidance of principle.
About the Author
Anthony J. Badger is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University and Master of Clare College. He is the author of a number of books, including "North Carolina and the New Deal "and "The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940."
“With insight, great judiciousness, and extremely well-ordered pacing, Badger, an expert in American history at Cambridge University, reviews the pieces of legislation and analyzes their effectiveness. An important book in contributing to a complete picture of twentieth-century U.S. history that is clear and accessible.” —Booklist“As the United States heads into a presidential election overloaded with problems for our new leader to solve, FDR’s actions upon taking office in 1933 are instructive. In this eminently readable, smart and judicious account, Tony Badger introduces us to Roosevelt’s historic first hundred days and the innovative policies and personalities that laid the foundation for the New Deal.” —Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America “Anthony Badger has written an elegant and bold synthesis about one of the most important moments in American political history. By demonstrating how President Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic Congress were able to combine a powerful vision of reform and a keen sensibility of political realities, we learn how the First Hundred Days of the New Deal brought together a diverse coalition behind a powerful set of federal policies.” —Julian E. Zelizer, Princeton University
“Lively, compact, and balanced, FDR: The First Hundred Days captures the New Deal’s first burst of legislation, when the President and Congress united behind creative proposals for recovery from the nation’s worse economic collapse and reform of the system that caused it.” —Donald A. Ritchie, author of Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932
“Few historians have written as intelligently about the New Deal as Tony Badger. FDR: The First Hundred Days offers a fast-paced narrative and balanced analysis of Roosevelt’s efforts to lift the United States out of highly desperate times.” —James T. Patterson, author of Congressional Conservatism and the New Deal and Federalism in Transition: The New Deal and the States