On This Day in History, March 7: Roosevelt’s Bank ‘Holiday’ Over
Brooklynites breathed a sigh of relief on March 7, 1933, when they saw this headline in the 4-Star Extra of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
REOPENED BANKS MEET VITAL NEEDS
President Roosevelt had proclaimed a national “Bank Holiday” to begin nationwide on March 6 to save the faltering banking system. This is what the Eagle reported on March 7:
“‘Gaiety is often the reckless ripple over the depths of despair’ someone once wrote, but that certainly does not explain the astonishing psychology shown by the nation in the face of what might have been a great economic cataclysm — the banking moratorium.
“Instead of the 120,000,000 being sent into still greater depths of despair and drawing the shroud of gloom and fear still closer about the head of the nation, it has had just the opposite effect.
“If what was heard on every side in Brooklyn and Manhattan, in office, bank, club and speakeasy, yesterday, is a criterion of what the nation as a whole is thinking, then the suspension of all banking activities is being hailed as the dawn of a new era, the true arrival of the ‘new deal.’
“From the optimism which was radiated in the faces and speeches of the employer and the employee, the professional man and the laborer, then the call of President Roosevelt for ‘action and action now’ and his immediate delivery of the same in the form of the financial moratorium [bank closings] is being interpreted as a promise that a new day has been born.
“… But since the clarion call for action by the new President echoed into every home Saturday [March 5], the national spirit has become electrified. Not since the Armistice [Nov. 11, 1918] has there been the sudden right-about-face from pessimism to optimism.
“… The sweeping relaxation of the terms of President Roosevelt’s moratorium proclamation, which closed all banks, is made in the obvious hope that sufficient cash can be got into circulation to avoid the use of scrip.”
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