Presidential Elections

Inaugurations and the First One Hundred Days

Why are the first one hundred days a significant benchmark for the president?

Since the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, historians and political commentators have used a president’s first one hundred days in office as a first benchmark for judging his performance. When Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address, America was in the depths of the Great Depression, with an unemployment rate of twenty-five percent, a severe banking crisis, and a populace that was fearful of its future. President Roosevelt took immediate action with Congress on his New Deal program. By the end of his first one hundred days, Congress had passed fifteen bills, and Roosevelt was well on his way to enacting his program of social recovery. Although the first one hundred days is a contrived timeline, observers use this time frame not only to discuss how a president has performed out of the starting gate, but also as a gauge of how he will do for the rest of his administration.


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