The Presidency: First Act in a Long Drama

Assessing a new President after 100 days on the job is a journalistic celebration born out of respect for Franklin Roosevelt and nurtured by nostalgia for the old-fashioned kind of crisis that produced an unusual sense of national unity. The by now traditional assessment is also a tribute to Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who helped raise the 100 days to legend.

"In this period," wrote Schlesinger in The Coming of the New Deal, "Franklin Roosevelt sent 15 messages to Congress, guided 15 major laws to enactment, delivered ten speeches, held press conferences and Cabinet meetings twice a week,...

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