Propaganda and democracy: a study of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as the 32nd President of the United States of America during one of the most tumultuous periods of the country’s history between March 4, 1933 and April 12, 1945. Throughout this time he was a very popular president and was noted for his skillful use of the radio to circumvent his critics, most of whom were writing in the newspapers, by reaching out directly to the public. One of the most famous examples of his mastery of the radio was his Fireside Chats through which he addressed his constituents in an informal manner to rally support for his policies. This thesis argues that President Roosevelt’s radio propaganda, when examined alongside the arguments of some of his critics, indicates that Roosevelt aimed to use his policies and propaganda to preserve the public’s faith in democracy in times of crisis even though he did not always uphold democratic principles.