So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your
Term In Office? 1933
The Roosevelt Administration: After the Inauguration
February 15, 1933
On February 15, 1933 there was an attempt to assassinate President-elect
Roosevelt, while he was sitting in an open car in Miami, Florida. Although six
shots were directed at him, thanks to the intervention of a bystander, Mrs.
William F. Cross, the President-elect was not injured. Several others in the
party including Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago were hit by the shots.
March 5, 1933
President Roosevelt calls Congress to convene on March 9 in special session. At
the same time, using the 1917 Trading With The Enemy Act, he declares a
nationwide bank holiday effective March 6 through March 9, closing virtually
every financial institution in the country, including the Federal Reserve.
Roosevelt also proclaims an embargo on the export of gold, silver, and currency.
March 6, 1933
Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicgo dies of wounds received during the attempted
assassination of the President on Feb. 15.
March 9, 1933
Congress meets and immediately passes the Emergency Banking Relief Act, which
gives the Treasury Department power to control various transactions in currency,
credit, and bullion. It also makes it illegal, effective May 1, to own or export
gold, and empowers the Treasury Department to regulate the reopening of the
March 12, 1933
President Roosevelt addresses the nation in the first of his radio "fireside
chats." Addressing his listeners as "My friends," he explains the purpose of the
national bank holiday and the measures being taken to deal with the financial
The Banking Act was signed in 1933.
March 13-27, 1933
Banks start to reopen, and within two weeks over 75 per cent of all banks, with
well over 90 percent of the nation's banking assets, are operating. During the
same period about $1,000,000,000 is re-deposited and gold is returned to the
March 20, 1933
President Roosevelt signs the Economy Act, which reduces salaries by up to 15%
to save about $100,000,000 a year, and reduces veterans' benefits by a total of
$400,000,000 a year.
March 22, 1933
The President signs into law a measure to legalize, effective April 17, beer and
wine with a maximum alcoholic content of 3.2 percent by weight. The measure also
places a tax of $5 per barrel (31 gallons), which quickly brings in much needed
March 31, 1933
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is established to provide employment for
young men between the ages of 18 and 25 in various projects aimed at conserving
or improving the country's natural resources, such as reforestation, soil
erosion and flood control, fire prevention, road building, and park and
recreational area improvement.
April 19, 1933
President Roosevelt announces that the United States is going off the gold
standard and will no longer redeem currency for gold.
May 1, 1933
The final day for returning illegally held gold to the U.S. Treasury arrives,
with an estimated $700,000,000 in gold still in private hands.
May 12, 1933
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) is established and Harry
Hopkins of New York is made administrator of the program, which is to distribute
$500,000,000 through grants to state and local agencies to relieve the poor and
May 12, 1933
The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) was passed to bring the farmers more
purchasing power and limit their production of agricultural surpluses. This goal
was to be accomplished by paying farmers a subsidy when they reduce their
production of rice, cotton, tobacco, wheat, corn, dairy products, and hogs.
May 18, 1933
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was created to develop the hydroelectric
resources of the destitute Tennessee valley. This was established to run the
Muscle Shoals power and nitrate plants on the Tennessee River, built by the
Government during the World War. The TVA was also authorized to build additional
dams and power plants, develop rural electrification, plan for flood and erosion
control, build recreation areas, and help with reforestation.
May 27, 1933
Congress passes the Federal Securities Act, which instructs the Federal Trade
Commission to police all new stock and bond issues.
June 5, 1933
In joint resolution, Congress supports President Roosevelt's earlier
proclamation and takes the country off the gold standard by making all
Government and private obligations payable in "lawful money."
June 13, 1933
The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) is set u p with a capital of
$200,000,000 and authority to raise ten times that amount by issuing bonds. The
money is to be used to help nonfarm homeowners escape from high mortgage
payments by refinancing all obligations on the home into one long-term,
June 16, 1933
The Banking Act of 1933 (The Glass-Steagall Act) is passed, setting up the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which guarantees individual
accounts in banks up to $5,000.
June 16, 1933
The Farm Credit Act becomes law, to assist farmers with loans for production and
marketing and for providing refinancing of farm mortgages at favorable terms.
The act is administered by the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), set up earlier
in the year to handle all Federal legislation pertaining to farm credit.
June 16, 1933
The National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), is passed with the purpose of
improving business activity and providing jobs. Specifically the act sets up
codes of fair practice concerning working conditions, wages, and business
practices. These codes are to be enforced by the National Recovery
Administration (NRA). Another section of the NIRA gives workers the right to
"organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own
choosing." Title II of the NIRA sets up the Public Works Administration (PWA),
with the purpose of stimulating the economy through the construction of huge
public works projects that require large numbers of workers, such as dams, port
facilities, sewage plants, roads, airports, bridges, and hospitals.
August 1, 1933
The Blue Eagle, the sign that a company has agreed to abide by the NRA's codes
of business and wages, appears in windows of all types of establishments.
August 5, 1933
President Roosevelt sets up the National Labor Board (NLB) headed by Senator
Robert F. Wagner to enforce the collective-bargaining provisions of the National
Labor Relations Act.
August 17, 1933
Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins announces that employment has reached the
level of Oct. 1931 and payrolls are running $29,000,000 a week higher than in
March. Over 1,000,000 workers have found jobs during the past four months.
August 23, 1933
The Government's plan to take 6,000,000 hogs off the market goes into effect in
Chicago as the first 30,000 are slaughtered. The animals are to be made into
fertilizer or possible for sausage for distribution to those on relief. By
purchasing only younger hogs (under 100 pounds) and those about to bear, the
Agricultural Adjustment Administration hopes the effort will have a long-term
upward effect on prices.
November 8, 1933
The Civil Works Administration (CWA) is set up to create jobs for 4,000,000
workers. Most of the jobs are to be for relatively unskilled workers, who will
be paid only the minimum wage.
November 16, 1933
The United States and the Soviet Union establish full diplomatic relations.
December 24, 1933
Under a decree issued by President Roosevelt, civil rights are restored to 1,500
men who served jail sentences for their opposition to the World War.
So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? March 4, 1933
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The above information is compiled from my collection of books: The
American Presidents by David C. Whitney; Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
(1996), The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference; A Stonesong
Press Book (1997) The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Macmillan Company (1952); The
Bicentennial Almanac Edited by Calvin D. Linton, Ph.D. Publishers, Thomas Nelson
Inc. (1975) The Presidents of the United States Vol 2, A.S. Barnes & Co. (1973)
: Roosevelt in Retrospect, A Profile in History by John Gunther; Harper &
Brothers, Publishers, (1950): Society and Thought in America: Volume II by
Harvey Wish, Publishers: David McKay Company, Inc.1952