Student Activity

FDR's Fireside Chats

The Power of Words: FDR's Fireside Chats

Activity One: Listening to the Fireside Chats

Listen to FDR's First Fireside Chat and answer the questions found below.

  • What were the key elements of the bank holiday FDR announced?
  • Name 2-3 specific examples of how FDR explains the banking system.
  • Give 2-3 examples of simple yet powerful imagery and language used by FDR.
  • Describe the overall effectiveness of the speech.
  • Do you believe this speech would have been effective in 1933? Why or why not?

Read FDR's Second Fireside Chat and answer the questions found below.

  • What are 2-3 major problems that FDR addresses in this Fireside Chat?
  • List 2-3 different programs that FDR proposes in this Fireside Chat?
  • Which parts of the speech might have been more effective to a 1933 audience if they heard it over the radio rather than read the text as you are doing here? Use your experience of listening to FDR’s First Fireside Chat to inform your conclusion.

Debate with your classmates, as instructed by your teacher, whether you think FDR's message would have been more effectively communicated by radio or written word in 1933, and explain why this would have been the case. You are encouraged to draw connections to your experiences listening to political speeches during your lifetime.