Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Appeal to Working Class Americans through the Domestic Fireside Chats

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jeanne Petit, Hope College

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Between 1933 and 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a series of thirty radio addresses that have come to be known as “The Fireside Chats.” This study examines how Roosevelt used the domestic fireside chats given between March 12, 1933 and June 24, 1938 to appeal directly to working class Americans who were struggling to get by during the greatest domestic crisis in American history, the Great Depression. The research shows how the working class had become an ostracized segment of the American population both economically and politically in the years prior to the onset of the Depression. Roosevelt recognized that the working class represented a valuable portion of his constituency and employed a number of strategies to reconnect with workers. A careful analysis of the domestic fireside chats shows how Roosevelt tailored them to meet the needs and interests of a working class audience. Roosevelt worked to reconnect this ostracized social class and create a more unified American people in order to combat the hardships of the Depression.

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