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March 4, 1933


FDR Innaugurated in Washington

News Stories Editorials Advertising Charlottesville: A Safe Haven

On this day The Daily Progress spread a large banner headline across the front page, describing the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the thirty-second President of the United States. The Associated Press stories on the front page, as well as other stories on subsequent pages, focused on the proposed foreign policy of FDR and said little about his domestic plans for the nation. Next to a picture of the newly-elected Roosevelt, a headline claimed, "DECLARES HE WILL ASK POWERS OF WAR TIMES IF EMERGENCY DEMANDS." An additional story, the only story to focus on domestic events, took note of the fact that the new congress would be called together sooner than was previously expected for unknown reasons.

Following the election of FDR on March 3, The Daily Progress devoted sufficient time and space to their guarded opinions on the "dawn" of Roosevelt's New Deal plan in subsequent days. The editorials commended him for his "earnestness, courage and confidence," but sounded more skeptical of the chances he would be taking with his drastic new, but at this stage vague, economic policies. In the March 4 editorial, "As Dawn Breaks on the 'New Deal,'" the editors were not overly optimistic about the liberal policies being laid out by Roosevelt; the editorial chastised that, "The dawn of the 'new deal'. . . breaks suspiciously nonetheless. The gay, rejoicing throngs which crowd the streets of Washington are not yet through with their merrymaking as the stern business of revivifying the government of a great country begins." The editors demonstrated that they were well aware that, on a national level, Roosevelt faced a difficult task of pulling the nation out of its economic slump, but they remained skeptical of his policies. But still, they made no mention of any particular relevance of his policies to the local Charlottesville area.

Amid the excitement over Roosevelt's inauguration, the advertising in The Daily Progress remained relatively static, with a slight increase in the number of banks which began placing advertisements in the newspaper. In the days surrounding the inauguration banks like the National Bank & Trust Company in Charlottesville increased their advertising. Their March 5, 1933 advertisement encouraged citizens of Charlottesville to save their money with them for safe-keeping; the ad stated that "This bank has carried its depositors, customers and stockholders through a great and unprecedented period of depression. It has safeguarded more money of its depositors, the business of its customers and the interest of its stockholders." Encouraging bank advertisements like this one appeared to increase just after Roosevelt's inauguration and the high-priced goods advertising continued to fill the pages as well.

The time period surrounding Roosevelt's inauguration seemed at first to be a national celebration of a new president. The New York Times also placed an obvious emphasis on the inauguration of the president and his rumored new policies that were supposed to affect the nation, as well as his emphatic foreign policy. While The Daily Progress showed outward support of the President and his foreign policy, their editorials seemed to demonstrate an underlying suspicion of what his democratic domestic policies might be like. As advertising continued to show no strain or doubt in the economy, the local Charlottesville banks -- in increasing their advertising campaigns encouraging local citizens to safely invest with them -- seemed to sense that there was a national economic crisis on the rise, but that it would not affect the local community. The combination of these factors showed that, while the people of Charlottesville did not yet feel that a national economic crunch was on the rise, the local merchants, banks and the editorial staff of the newspaper sensed what was to come. And they set about, in advance, assuring the local citizens that the problems that might come would avoid them and allow them to live normal lives. But at this stage in Charlottesville, there did not appear to be any overt sense of an impending national economic crisis.

Inside This Edition: Reporting on Key Dates in the Depression

October 29, 1929: Stock Market Crash March 4, 1933: FDR Innaugurated March 5, 1933: FDR declares 'bank holiday' March 9, 1933: Emergency Banking Bill passed May 12, 1933: Federal Emergency Relief Act passed December 5, 1933: Repeal of Prohibition
May 6, 1935: WPA established August 14, 1935 Social Security Act passed November 3, 1936: FDR re-elected February 3, 1937: National Guard prepared to strike workers in Flint, Michigan September 16, 1940: Selective Service Act passed December 7, 1941: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor


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