Miller Center

Presidential Key Events

Franklin Roosevelt

 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/04/1933: Roosevelt is inaugurated as the thirty-second Pres…
Roosevelt is inaugurated as the thirty-second President of the United States. He also appoints Francis Perkins as secretary of labor, making her the first woman hold a cabinet post. March 04, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/05/1933: Roosevelt declares a four-day “bank holiday” in or…
Roosevelt declares a four-day “bank holiday” in order to stop the panic “run” on the nation's banks. He also summons Congress to a special session on March 9. March 05, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/06/1933: First lady Eleanor Roosevelt holds the first First…
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt holds the first First Lady press conference where only female reporters are invited to attend. March 06, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/09/1933: Congress meets beginning what is later known as Ro…
Congress meets beginning what is later known as Roosevelt's “Hundred Days.” During this period, Congress enacts many of the principal programs of FDR's “New Deal.” It passes the Emergency Banking Act on March 9, allowing banks to reopen as soon as they can prove they are solvent; within three days, more than 1,000 banks will reopen, helping to raise the nation's confidence almost overnight. March 09, 1933 - June 16, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/12/1933: FDR delivers his first “fireside chat” radio addre…
FDR delivers his first “fireside chat” radio address to the nation. March 12, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/31/1933: Congress passes the Reforestation Relief Act, whic…
Congress passes the Reforestation Relief Act, which provides for the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC offers immediate work to some 250,000 young men (ages 18-25) through a national reforestation program; by its conclusion in 1941, it will have employed more than 2 million young men. March 31, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/19/1933: FDR, by presidential proclamation, takes the Unite…
FDR, by presidential proclamation, takes the United States off the gold standard. While the value of the dollar declines internationally, the policy also allows more money to become available to Americans, stimulating the economy. April 19, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/12/1933: With unemployment hovering at around 14 million, C…
With unemployment hovering at around 14 million, Congress passes the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA). It provides immediate grants to states for relief project, unlike Hoover's earlier proposals, which only provided loans. The legislature also passes the Agricultural Adjustment Act, establishing the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which restricts the production of certain crops and pays farmers not to till their land. Roosevelt hopes that the AAA will reduce agricultural production, raise prices, and aid suffering farmers. May 12, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/18/1933: Congress passes the Tennessee Valley Act, establis…
Congress passes the Tennessee Valley Act, establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), to control flooding in the Tennessee River Valley and provide for rural electrification in the seven states comprising the region. The goal is to raise the social and economic standards of the residents of this relatively remote section of the country; critics view the TVA as dangerously socialistic, while admirers will view it as one of the nation's most successful social projects. May 18, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/27/1933: Congress passes the Federal Securities Act, requir…
Congress passes the Federal Securities Act, requiring all issues of stocks and bonds to be registered and approved by the federal government. May 27, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/16/1933: On this, the final day of FDR’s “Hundred Days,” Co…
On this, the final day of FDR's “Hundred Days,” Congress passes a number of bills. The most important of these is the National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA), the centerpiece of Roosevelt's efforts to revive American industry. It establishes two of the early key agencies of the New Deal: the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The PWA focuses on providing jobs through the construction of roads, public buildings, and other projects, while the NRA's goal is to stimulate competition to aid both consumers and producers. In addition to the NIRA, Congress passes the Banking Act of 1933, which establishes the Federal Bank Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Farm Credit Act. June 16, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/27/1933: The London Economic Conference meets to discuss th…
The London Economic Conference meets to discuss the international depression, but accomplishes little, mainly because the United States disagrees with most other nations on the correct course of action. Most countries stress the need for currency stabilization, while the United States focuses on stimulating trade. July 27, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/05/1933: FDR establishes the National Labor Board, with Sen…
FDR establishes the National Labor Board, with Senator Robert Wagner of New York as its head. The NLB is created to enforce the right of organized labor to bargain collectively. Its existence marks a sharp change in the federal government's stance toward labor. August 05, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/13/1933: The American Federation of Labor votes to boycott …
The American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products to protest the Nazi party's antagonism towards organized labor in Germany. The next day, Germany withdraws from the Disarmament Conference in Geneva and announces that it will terminate membership in the League of Nations in two years' time. October 13, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/08/1933: FDR, by executive order, establishes the Civil Wor…
FDR, by executive order, establishes the Civil Works Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the CWA hopes to provide work for 4 million unemployed Americans. November 08, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/16/1933: After meeting with Soviet commissar for foreign af…
After meeting with Soviet commissar for foreign affairs Maxim Litvinov at the White House, Roosevelt announces that the United States will establish diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. November 16, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/05/1933: Utah becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the …
Utah becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Twenty-First Amendment, officially ending the “noble experiment” of prohibition in the United States. December 05, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/06/1933: Federal Judge John M. Woolsey lifts the ban on Jam…
Federal Judge John M. Woolsey lifts the ban on James Joyce's Ulysses, a major decision against the censorship of books. December 06, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/30/1934: Congress passes the Gold Reserve Act, allowing the…
Congress passes the Gold Reserve Act, allowing the President to fix the value of the U.S. dollar at between 50 to 60 cents in terms of gold. The next day, FDR signs the Farm Mortgage Refinancing Act, establishing the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation, designed to help farmers pay their mortgages by granting them easier terms of credit. Both efforts illustrate the federal government's increasing control over the nation's currency. January 30, 1934 - January 31, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/02/1934: By executive order, FDR establishes the Export-Imp…
By executive order, FDR establishes the Export-Import Bank to encourage commerce between the United States and foreign nations, especially Latin America. February 02, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/15/1934: In a show of confidence in the…
In a show of confidence in the nation's economic recovery, Henry Ford restores his $5 per day minimum wage to 47,000 of his 70,000 workers. March 15, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/24/1934: Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act, guarante…
Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act, guaranteeing Philippine independence ten years after the Philippine legislature meets the terms of the act. Independence does not come formally until July 4, 1946. March 24, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/12/1934: The Senate establishes a committee to investigate …
The Senate establishes a committee to investigate the extent to which manufacturers of munitions influenced and profited from U.S. involvement in the Great War. Known as the Nye Hearings, for committee chairman Gerald Nye of North Dakota, the findings reinforce the isolationist-neutralist beliefs of many Americans who view international war as profiting only the business elite. April 12, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/28/1934: FDR signs the Home Owners Loan Act, a bill designe…
FDR signs the Home Owners Loan Act, a bill designed to promote home construction. April 28, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/10/1934: A severe dust storm hits the central and southern …
A severe dust storm hits the central and southern plains, blowing an estimated 300,000,000 tons of topsoil from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Colorado as far east as the Atlantic Ocean. It is only one of a number of such storms ravaging a region which becomes known as “the Dust Bowl.” In large part, the conditions are due to the improper plowing and farming practices used to squeeze yields and profits out of the land during the Depression. Many inhabitants, some of whom are known as “Okies” and “Arkies,” pack up their belongings and move to California. May 10, 1934 - May 11, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/29/1934: The United States and Cuba sign a treaty releasing…
The United States and Cuba sign a treaty releasing Cuba from the Platt Amendment, which had made Cuba a U.S. protectorate following the Spanish-American War in 1903. May 29, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/06/1934: FDR signs the Securities Exchange Act, creating th…
FDR signs the Securities Exchange Act, creating the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which will license stock exchanges and determine the legality of certain speculative market practices. The following day, Congress will pass the Corporate Bankruptcy Act, allowing corporations facing bankruptcy to reorganize if two-thirds of its creditors agree. Efforts at both prevention and prescription, the bills address some of the factors which led to the severity of the Great Depression. June 06, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/12/1934: Congress passes the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act…
Congress passes the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act, allowing the President to cut tariffs by as much as 50 percent--without the consent of the Senate--for those nations granting the U.S. most-favored-nation trading status. June 12, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/19/1934: Congress passes the Communications Act, creating t…
Congress passes the Communications Act, creating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate radio, telegraph, and telephone communications. The FCC replaces the much narrower focused Federal Radio Commission, established in 1927 under Coolidge. June 19, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/28/1934: In his continued efforts to rejuvenate the economy…
In his continued efforts to rejuvenate the economy, FDR signs two bills into law. The Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act places a moratorium on all farm mortgage foreclosures; the National Housing Act creates the Federal Housing Administration, designed to further stimulate homebuilding. June 28, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/16/1934: Organized labor calls for a “general strike”—the …
Organized labor calls for a “general strike”--the first ever in U.S. history--after 12,000 members of the International Longshoremen's Association have already walked out in San Francisco. Numerous strikes will occur across the nation during the summer. July 16, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/22/1934: John Dillinger, listed as “Public Enemy No. 1” by …
John Dillinger, listed as “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI, is shot and killed by federal agents outside a Chicago theater. July 22, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/06/1934: In midterm elections, the Democrats gain spots in …
In midterm elections, the Democrats gain spots in both the House and the Senate, picking up nine seats in each body. The gains serve as a public endorsement of FDR's New Deal programs. November 06, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/29/1934: Japan denounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 192…
Japan denounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930; it will declare its complete withdrawal from each by December 1936. December 29, 1934

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/04/1935: In his third State of the Union Address, FDR effec…
In his third State of the Union Address, FDR effectively announces the beginning of a second stage of his New Deal. This new phase will focus on long-term gains such as a system of social security--for the aged, the unemployed, the ill--and for improved housing and tax reform. In general, Roosevelt seeks to move away from purely relief programs toward more sustained measures for the nation's most vulnerable citizens. January 04, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/29/1935: Continuing to shun formal involvement in internati…
Continuing to shun formal involvement in international organizations, the Senate rejects American participation in the World Court by a vote of 52 to 36. January 29, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/08/1935: Congress passes the Emergency Relief Appropriation…
Congress passes the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The bill authorizes nearly $5 billion to establish federal programs in line with FDR's goals. The first of these, the Resettlement Administration (RA), will be created less than a month later and will help rural, and some urban, families relocate to more productive regions of the country. April 08, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/27/1935: Congress establishes the Soil Conservation Service…
Congress establishes the Soil Conservation Service within the Department of Agriculture to promote better use of farmlands and to prevent a recurrence of the “Dust Bowl” of the previous spring. April 27, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/06/1935: With funds from the Emergency Relief Appropriation…
With funds from the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, FDR issues an executive order establishing the Works Progress Administration (WPA); the new agency falls under the direction of Harry Hopkins, ex-head of the CWA. Perhaps the best known and most successful of Roosevelt's New Deal programs, the WPA provides work and income for millions of Americans through the construction and repair of roads, bridges, public schools, post offices, parks and airfields. The WPA will also establish projects to employ artists and scholars. Critics view it as the symbol of federal waste and inefficiency under the Roosevelt administration. May 06, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/11/1935: Continuing the new phase of programs, FDR establis…
Continuing the new phase of programs, FDR establishes the Rural Electrification Administration to provide loans for the construction of power plants and lines to those regions that private companies deemed unprofitable. Public utilities will come under federal regulation following the passage of the Public Utilities Act in August. May 11, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/27/1935: The Supreme Court rules in Schechter Poultry Co…
The Supreme Court rules in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States that the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 is unconstitutional. The decision is an obvious setback for FDR and his New Deal programs. The National Recovery Administration, established under the NIRA, will be officially terminated at the end of the year. May 27, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/05/1935: In a major victory for organized labor, Roosevelt …
In a major victory for organized labor, Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act, creating the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB ensures the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively. July 05, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/14/1935: FDR signs the Social Security Act, which establish…
FDR signs the Social Security Act, which establishes the Social Security Board (SSB), one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation in the country's history. The act guarantees pensions to Americans over the age of 65, establishes a system of unemployment insurance, and assists states in aiding dependent children, the blind, and the aged who do not already qualify for Social Security. August 14, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/30/1935: Congress passes the Revenue Act, increasing taxes …
Congress passes the Revenue Act, increasing taxes on inheritances and gifts, as well as on higher incomes and corporations. The bill reverses long-standing revenue laws that had favored America's wealthiest elite. August 30, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/31/1935: FDR signs the Neutrality Act, forbidding the shipm…
FDR signs the Neutrality Act, forbidding the shipment of arms and munitions to belligerents during a state of war. Just more than a month later, the bill is put into effect when Roosevelt announces that “a state of war unhappily exists” between Ethiopia and Italy. While the League of Nations declares Italy the aggressor, it is unable to muster meaningful intervention. August 31, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/08/1935: Senator Huey Long of Louisiana falls to an assassi…
Senator Huey Long of Louisiana falls to an assassin's bullet. Although Long never found a national constituency for his populist politics, he enjoyed wide regional political power, enabling him to push for various national reforms. September 08, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/09/1935: Illustrating the growing divide within organized l…
Illustrating the growing divide within organized labor, John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, becomes chairman of the newly formed Committee for Industrial Organization within the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Within two years, this faction will be expelled, changing its name to the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) after mounting continued challenges to the AFL's more conservative leadership and goals. November 09, 1935

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/06/1936: In U.S. v. Butler, the Supreme Court rules …
In U.S. v. Butler, the Supreme Court rules the Agricultural Adjustment Act to be unconstitutional. The dissenting justices accuse the majority of ruling on personal belief since the AAA enjoyed wide public support. Within two months, Congress will pass the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, providing services similar to that of the AAA through slightly different means. January 06, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/24/1936: Ending a more than decade-long battle, Congress pa…
Ending a more than decade-long battle, Congress passes the Adjusted Compensation Act over Roosevelt's veto. The bill provides immediate cash redemption of the bonus certificates first issued to veterans in 1924. The certificates were due to mature in 1944 but, due to the recent economic downturn--dubbed the “Roosevelt Recession”--Congress finally gathered enough support to override FDR's veto. January 24, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/09/1936: Ethiopia succumbs to Italy after its capital falls…
Ethiopia succumbs to Italy after its capital falls and Emperor Haile Selassie flees. The inability of democratic nations to counter fascist aggression encourages Mussolini and Hitler to pursue further gains. May 09, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/1936: The various political parties meet to nominate pre…
The various political parties meet to nominate presidential candidates for the upcoming election. In Cleveland, the Republicans nominate Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon for President, with Frank Knox of Illinois as his running mate. The Union Party, a splinter party from the Republicans hoping to continue in the populist tradition of Huey Long, nominates William Lemke, a Republican representative from North Dakota. In Philadelphia, the Democrats re-nominate Roosevelt and Garner for a second term. June 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/17/1936: Units of the Spanish Army in Morocco proclaim a re…
Units of the Spanish Army in Morocco proclaim a revolution against the government in Madrid, headed by the leftist Popular Front that has been unable to consolidate its control over Spain. General Francisco Franco emerges as the leader of this reactionary force in a conflict that will foreshadow World War II in terms of weapons, tactics, and ideologies. Again, the United States and other countries announce their neutrality in the conflict. July 17, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/1936: At the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Hitler’s…
At the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Hitler's hope to use the games to demonstrate his country's national and racial superiority is dashed as African American Jesse Owens steals the spotlight, winning a historic four gold medals in track and field. August 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/1936: The presidential campaigns heat up, with Roosevelt…
The presidential campaigns heat up, with Roosevelt being criticized from multiple sides for his New Deal policies. Nearly 80 percent of American newspapers endorse the Republican candidate Alf Landon, with many predicting a heavy defeat for the incumbent. September 1936 - November 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/03/1936: Roosevelt wins reelection to the presidency in stu…
Roosevelt wins reelection to the presidency in stunning fashion, gaining 523 electoral votes (27,750,000 popular) to Landon's 8 (16,680,000 popular). The Union Party candidate, William Lemke, garners just under 900,000 popular votes, while Communist Party candidate Earl Browder wins only 80,000. The overwhelming public support for FDR's New Deal is mirrored in the congressional elections as the Democrats retain their majorities in both houses of Congress. November 03, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/08/1936: The NAACP wins its case, Gibbs v. Board of Educ…
The NAACP wins its case, Gibbs v. Board of Education, against the state of Maryland, ensuring that white and black teachers are paid equally. December 08, 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/20/1937: FDR is inaugurated for his second term. In his Ina…
FDR is inaugurated for his second term. In his Inaugural Address, he promises to continue his fight to return the nation to economic health, stating, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” January 20, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/05/1937: Emboldened by his sweeping electoral victory, FDR …
Emboldened by his sweeping electoral victory, FDR sends his “court packing” scheme to Congress. He does so in a bill calling for the reorganization of the federal judiciary system, allegedly to make it more efficient at all levels. Frustrated by recent Supreme Court decisions against some of his New Deal policies, the bill calls for adding as many as six justices to the Court should any of the current members over age seventy--namely those that oppose his programs--refuse to retire. Within a month, Congress will pass the Supreme Court Retirement Act, a compromise of sorts, which permits justices to retire at seventy with full pay. The move fails to prompt any immediate resignations, and FDR takes a lot of criticism for the ploy, losing many long-time supporters. February 05, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/01/1937: In a surprising victory for organized labor, CIO h…
In a surprising victory for organized labor, CIO head John L. Lewis and the chairman of the board of U.S. Steel jointly announce that the U.S. Steel Corp. will recognize the United Steel Workers as the legitimate bargaining authority for its work force. The other major steel companies will follow suit, though they will do so over the course of several years. March 01, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/26/1937: William H. Hastie becomes the first black federal …
William H. Hastie becomes the first black federal judge. March 26, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/29/1937: Overturning its 1923 ruling in…
Overturning its 1923 ruling in Adkins v. Children's Hospital, the Supreme Court, in Coast Hotel v. Parrish, upholds the constitutionality of a minimum wage law for women. March 29, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/12/1937: By a narrow 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court finds …
By a narrow 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court finds the National Labor Relations Act to be constitutional. Along with a decision the following month which upholds the legality of the Social Security Act, these rulings help to deflate some of the antagonism between the Court and FDR. April 12, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/01/1937: FDR signs the third Neutrality Act, extending for …
FDR signs the third Neutrality Act, extending for another year the prohibitions against exporting arms and munitions to belligerents. Unlike the previous acts, this one also requires belligerents to pay with cash for certain non-military goods purchased in the United States and to provide for transport in their own ships, giving the act its name, “the cash-and-carry law.” May 01, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/06/1937: The German dirigible Hindenburg explodes ou…
The German dirigible Hindenburg explodes outside Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing thirty-six. May 06, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/22/1937: Boxer Joe Louis becomes World Heavyweight Champion…
Boxer Joe Louis becomes World Heavyweight Champion after knocking out James J. Braddock in the eighth round. He is second African American to win the title and will remain the champ until he retires in 1949. June 22, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/02/1937: World-famous American aviator Amelia Earhart vanis…
World-famous American aviator Amelia Earhart vanishes over the Pacific Ocean during her round-the-world flight after radio contact with her comes to a sudden stop. No trace her or her plane is ever found. July 02, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/22/1937: Congress passes the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenancy Ac…
Congress passes the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenancy Act, establishing the Farm Securities Administration (FSA), which provides low-interest loans to struggling farmers. July 22, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/12/1937: FDR appoints liberal Hugo L. Black of Alabama to t…
FDR appoints liberal Hugo L. Black of Alabama to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Willis Van Devanter. As a senator, Black was a strong supporter of the New Deal, although his membership in the Klu Klux Klan during his youth generates a good deal of controversy. August 12, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/02/1937: Congress passes the National Housing Act. The bill…
Congress passes the National Housing Act. The bill establishes the U.S. Housing Authority, which is charged with administering loans for rural and urban home construction. September 02, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/11/1937: International relations continue to sour as Italy …
International relations continue to sour as Italy withdraws from the League of Nations following criticism of its actions toward Ethiopia. The following day, the Japanese Air Force attacks the U.S. gunboat Panay in China's Yangtze River. FDR had earlier declared American neutrality in the ongoing conflict between China and Japan. Japan apologizes for the incident two days later. December 11, 1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/03/1938: In his State of the Union Address, FDR, while focu…
In his State of the Union Address, FDR, while focusing on the nation's continuing economic and social problems, also cites the necessity to be “adequately strong in self-defense.” By the end of the month, he will submit to Congress a recommendation for increased appropriations to build up the armed forces, especially the Navy. Congress will agree five months later, appropriating more than $1 billion dollars over a ten-year period for the improvement of the U.S. Navy. January 03, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/16/1938: FDR signs the second Agricultural Adjustment Act a…
FDR signs the second Agricultural Adjustment Act as part of a continuing effort to stabilize agricultural prices and farmers' incomes. To these ends, his administration establishes the Federal Crop Insurance Corp, an agency which will accept wheat as payment for crop insurance taken out against the same crops. February 16, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/13/1938: German troops move into Austria, allegedly to brin…
German troops move into Austria, allegedly to bring order to that country. Hitler, however, will fuse Austria to Germany, an act he terms Anschluss, and describes the annexation as a peaceful. March 13, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/18/1938: Mexico nationalizes all oil properties of the Unit…
Mexico nationalizes all oil properties of the United States and other foreign-owned companies. March 18, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/26/1938: The House of Representatives forms the Committee t…
The House of Representatives forms the Committee to Investigate Un- American Activities. Headed by Martin Dies of Texas, its purpose is to investigate all groupsóon both the Right and Left of the political spectrumódeemed un-American. May 26, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/27/1938: Over FDR’s veto, Congress passes the Revenue Act o…
Over FDR's veto, Congress passes the Revenue Act of 1938, reducing corporate income taxes for the purpose of stimulating the economy. May 27, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/22/1938: Congress continues to enact policies enlarging the…
Congress continues to enact policies enlarging the federal government's role in regulating American commerce and industry. It passes the Chandler Act, amending the 1898 Federal Bankruptcy Act, setting forth procedures under Chapter XI by which persons or businesses can avoid liquidation and settle their debts. The Civil Aeronautics Act targets the rapidly expanding civilian air traffic industry by licensing pilots and standardizing the rules, airways, and equipment for flight. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act replaces earlier legislation, introducing stricter regulation of ingredient disclosure, misbranding, and false advertising. June 22, 1938 - June 24, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/25/1938: FDR signs the Fair Labor Stand…
FDR signs the Fair Labor Standards Act; raising the minimum wage and setting the maximum work week at 40 hours, though only for businesses engaged in interstate commerce. June 25, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/27/1938: In a private message to the leaders of Britain, Fr…
In a private message to the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, FDR urges that they find a peaceful settlement to the growing crisis over the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a large number of ethnic Germans who, motivated by Hitler, are asking for autonomy. September 27, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/30/1938: At the Munich Conference, British Prime Minister N…
At the Munich Conference, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Eduard Daladier agree to allow Germany to annex the Sudetenland. Upon his return to England, Chamberlain announces that the Munich Pact guarantees “peace in our time.” While this policy of appeasement will soon be proven futile, many observers agree with Chamberlain; a U.S. poll taken in October shows most Americans approve of the pact. September 30, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/30/1938: Orson Welles’ radio play, “War of the Worlds,” is …
Orson Welles' radio play, “War of the Worlds,” is so convincing that large numbers of listeners take to the highways in panic. October 30, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/14/1938: Hugh Wilson, American ambassador to Germany, is ca…
Hugh Wilson, American ambassador to Germany, is called backed to the United States for “report and consultation” on anti-Jewish activities there. Four days later, the German ambassador to the United States is also recalled. November 14, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/13/1938: The WPA announces that the number of Americans rec…
The WPA announces that the number of Americans receiving federal relief has dropped to just over 2.1 million, down from nearly 3.2 million the previous year. December 13, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/05/1939: FDR formally submits his budget to Congress, reque…
FDR formally submits his budget to Congress, requesting more than $1.3 billion for defense out of a total of $9 billion. January 05, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/13/1939: Justice Louis Brandeis retires from the Supreme Co…
Justice Louis Brandeis retires from the Supreme Court at age eighty-two. Appointed by President Wilson in 1916, Brandeis was the first Jew to sit on the Court and was generally one of its more liberal justices. February 13, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/27/1939: The Supreme Court declares the sit-down strike, on…
The Supreme Court declares the sit-down strike, one of organized labor's most powerful tactics, unconstitutional. February 27, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/15/1939: The German Army invades Czechoslovakia, five-and-a…
The German Army invades Czechoslovakia, five-and-a-half months after gaining the Sudetenland peacefully through the Munich pact. By the end of March, the entire country will be under German control. March 15, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/01/1939: As the Spanish Civil War effectively comes to an e…
As the Spanish Civil War effectively comes to an end, the United States recognizes the government headed by General Francisco Franco. April 01, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/07/1939: Italy invades the small country of Albania, locate…
Italy invades the small country of Albania, located just across the Adriatic Sea. One week later, FDR writes to both Hitler and Mussolini requesting that they offer a ten-year guarantee of peace in Europe and the Middle East in return for U.S. cooperation in international trade and armament talks. Neither leader acknowledges the offer; in fact, Hitler revokes the German non-aggression pact with Poland and the naval agreement with Britain. April 07, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/28/1939: Transatlantic passenger air service begins a with …
Transatlantic passenger air service begins a with Pan American Airways flight from Long Island, New York, to Lisbon, Portugal. With twenty-tow passengers, the Dixie Clipper makes the trip in just under twenty-four hours. June 28, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/14/1939: FDR works to cement the U.S. alliance with Britain…
FDR works to cement the U.S. alliance with Britain against the looming Fascist-totalitarian threat. Over these two weeks, he will ask Congress to repeal the arms embargo, revise the neutrality law, and end the trade agreement with Japan. July 14, 1939 - July 26, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/23/1939: Germany and the U.S.S.R. sign a non-aggression pac…
Germany and the U.S.S.R. sign a non-aggression pact in Moscow. The world learns of the agreement the next day, creating disruption and dismay in both Communist and non-Communist circles as it seems to reveal Hitler's intentions to move launch war on Poland. August 23, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/01/1939: Germany launches a major invasion of Poland, start…
Germany launches a major invasion of Poland, starting the Second World War. September 01, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/03/1939: France and Britain declare war on Germany. With li…
France and Britain declare war on Germany. With limited domestic support for war, FDR declares U.S. neutrality. September 03, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/28/1939: As an informal part of the non-aggression pact sig…
As an informal part of the non-aggression pact signed a month earlier, Germany and the U.S.S.R. divide up Poland between them; the Russians had invaded the country from the east eleven days earlier. September 28, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/18/1939: FDR declares all American ports and waters closed …
FDR declares all American ports and waters closed to submarines of belligerents. October 18, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/04/1939: FDR signs the Neutrality Act of 1939, repealing th…
FDR signs the Neutrality Act of 1939, repealing the general embargo on arms and allowing the sale of arms to belligerents on a “cash and carry” basis. Ostensibly a neutral plan, it is clearly designed to allow the United States to aid Britain and France while retaining their official stance of neutrality. November 04, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/30/1939: The U.S.S.R. invades Finland, bombing its capital,…
The U.S.S.R. invades Finland, bombing its capital, Helsinki. November 30, 1939

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/1940: The Allies take heavy losses in the Battle of the …
The Allies take heavy losses in the Battle of the Atlantic. Waged largely by German subs, or U-Boats, against the British Navy, the Allies lose about 440,000 tons of shipping during these two months alone. January 1940 - February 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/13/1940: Finland signs an armistice and treaty with the U.S…
Finland signs an armistice and treaty with the U.S.S.R., ending the Russo-Finnish War and ceding territory to the Russians. Importantly, both Germany and the Allies are aware of the heavy casualties the Russians sustained in battling the seemingly overmatched Finns, a factor which will later influence both Hitler's decision to invade the U.S.S.R. as well as the Allies' hesitation in sending aid to the Russians. March 13, 1940

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