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ERIC Number: EJ765211
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
The Great Communicator: How FDR's Radio Speeches Shaped American History
Yu, Lumeng
History Teacher, v39 n1 p89-106 Nov 2005
The simultaneous rise in popularity of radio and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR's) political fortune is an interesting historical twist of fate. Radio brought news alive, but left people free to create images in their imaginations. FDR's distinctive voice and jollity flowed into people's homes. His disability was invisible. Radio helped make this possible. Through this means of mass communication, FDR could convey his ideas effectively, sitting in his estate in Hyde Park, New York or in the White House. Because FDR was such a masterful communicator, he was able to use his speeches, broadcast on radio, to shape American history. Evidence of FDR's successful use of radio is widespread. The power of his "Day of Infamy" speech led the nation to unite behind the President's call to war, and his fireside chats gained him support from the people for innovative and controversial social programs. The other was his relationship with the public. As with any successful politician, FDR's power came from the people. Radio provided him with a direct link to his voting public and the next generation of voters. His use of radio helped him win people's hearts. Analysis of FDR's style indicates that he knew exactly what he was doing by minimizing the losses in his radio addresses. Historians have yet to find FDR's true significance in history--saint or manipulator, or somewhere in between. However, in the context of his own time, Franklin Roosevelt indeed used radio as his tool to shape the America people know today. (Contains 26 notes and 14 online resources.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A