The Law That Started the New Deal

TIME

On the evening of Mar. 9, 1933 at 8:30 pm Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Emergency Banking Relief Act into law. Passed just five days after his inauguration, the Act was the first piece of legislation in what would come to be called the New Deal, a series of 15 major bills passed into law during the first 100 days of his presidency.

FDR had taken office amid a banking panic, as Americans who were worried about banks’ ability to safeguard their savings withdrew money more quickly than the banks could handle, which only exacerbated the problem and the panic. Many states had already instituted “banking holidays”—closing banks or restricting activity in an attempt to limit the damage—when Roosevelt declared a four-day national banking holiday that would start Mar. 5. With the banks closed, and the stock exchange having made the decision to follow suit, his administration set to…

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