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  • Ever since Franklin D Roosevelt coined the term in the 1930s, the first hundred days

  • in office have become a yardstick to measure the accomplishments of U.S. presidents and

  • political leaders around the world. But how effective is the 100-day mark in judging their success?

  • The first 100 days is just a tiny fraction of a four-year U.S. presidential term, but

  • the idea that a lot can be achieved in a short period originated long before President Roosevelt. "So help me God."

  • Exiled French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's escape from the island of Elba in 1815, return

  • to power in Paris, and subsequent defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, all in a period of

  • under four months, is known as 'Les cent jours'.

  • However, it wasn't until the 20th century when FDR was elected president of the United

  • States that the term became a political catchphrase.

  • Roosevelt was elected at a time when the country faced severe challenges during the Great Depression.

  • With unemployment at record levels, the urgent economic situation allowed FDR to achieve

  • a remarkable amount in the first hundred days of his presidency.

  • When he took office in 1933, the banks were on the verge of failure. In less than a week,

  • Roosevelt convinced Congress to pass the Emergency Banking Act that effectively stabilized the

  • financial system. While the bill was prepared during the previous administration, Roosevelt

  • managed to roll out 14 other major pieces of legislation in his first 100 days, including

  • a series of reforms that were part of his New Deal economic program. He also coined

  • the term 'fireside chat' by speaking directly to the public through radio broadcasts.

  • "I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days."

  • Roosevelt's leadership style, along with the extraordinary speed of reform, cemented

  • his popularity, setting the hundred-day benchmark by which all future presidents would be measured.

  • In his first 100 days, Roosevelt passed 76 bills into law, 23 more than his successor

  • Harry Truman. Since then, no president has succeeded in passing more than 30, the closest

  • being Donald Trump, who was responsible for 28 acts.

  • In addition to his legislative success, FDR issued 99 executive orders, a vast number

  • compared to subsequent presidents.

  • As impressive as FDR's achievements were, political historians argue that the unique

  • circumstances of the Great Depression made the speed and scale of his impact possible.

  • The sense of urgency created by the country's economic freefall muted most political opposition.

  • More recent presidents faced an increasingly partisan political landscape and a congress

  • with stronger subcommittees, which added a new layer of decision-making to the legislative

  • process. Even though American politics has seen significant changes since the Great Depression,

  • political analysts argue that the first hundred days is still a 'presidential honeymoon'

  • during which they wield extra influence.

  • According to data from the second half of the 20th century, U.S. presidents fared better

  • with congress earlier rather than later in their inaugural year. With the exception of

  • Lyndon Johnson and George H. W. Bush, bills that were supported by presidents passed more

  • often than those considered later in their tenure.

  • The percentage of votes from congress in favor of the president's position on bills, motions

  • and amendments during that time were on average significantly higher in the first hundred

  • days than the rest of the year.

  • One reason for this, according to political analysts, is that U.S. presidents tend to

  • be strategic in their support for bills likely to pass congress, partly accounting for the

  • perception of early-term success.

  • There's also an argument that political leaders are most effective right after their

  • election victory when public opinion is demonstrably on their side, which may strengthen their

  • hand when dealing with other lawmakers. However, the honeymoon period can be short, as was

  • the case for French President Emmanuel Macron. Only a third of French people were satisfied

  • with his presidency after a hundred days, 10% lower even compared to his predecessor

  • Francois Hollande, the most unpopular French president in polling history.

  • In the private sector, a leader's actions at the start of a new job may also have a

  • lasting impact. A survey of 143 human resources executives found that more than 70% agreed

  • or strongly agreed thatsuccess or failure during the transition period is a strong predictor

  • of overall success or failure in the job.” According to some business experts, poor decisions

  • can have an adverse effect on leaders' future working relationships, whereas early wins

  • build trust in their vision.

  • For politicians, early wins often mean passing laws, but is that the best indicator of a

  • strong start to a leader's tenure?

  • While Ronald Reagan only enacted nine laws in his first hundred days, his fiercest critics

  • commended him for effectively communicating goals which would define his presidency during

  • the first hundred days.

  • Conversely, John F Kennedy passed 26 laws in his first hundred days in office, but the

  • period was marred by the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion 87 days into his presidency.

  • The failed military action at the height of the Cold War was intended to overthrow Cuban

  • dictator Fidel Castro but instead, heightened tensions with the U.S.S.R. and culminated

  • in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • In fact, Kennedy tried to lower expectations for his first 100 days during his inauguration

  • speech, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished

  • in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration.”

  • Despite the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, JFK's accomplishments have been deemed favorable

  • in comparison with his immediate predecessors Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman.

  • Although the first 100 days is an arbitrary deadline, part of its continued relevance

  • is in politicians' use of pre-election promises to hook voters.

  • While on the campaign trail, Trump unveiled a 100-day action plan calledContract with

  • the American Voter,” but as the deadline for its completion approached the following

  • year, he called the 100 days a 'ridiculous standard'

  • The first 100 days catchphrase has caught on internationally too.

  • Imran Khan, successfully campaigned to become Prime Minister of Pakistan on a '100 Days

  • Agenda' in the country's general election in 2018, although he failed to make significant

  • headway on his promises.

  • In the U.K., Boris Johnson's Conservative Party also published a 100-day plan in the

  • week before the 2019 general election. Although Johnson managed to fulfill most of these promises,

  • his rosy outlook for 2020 was swiftly derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The first hundred days may be an effective political campaign slogan,

  • but is it a benchmark that matters?

  • For every U.S. president, the ghost of Roosevelt looms large, although his achievements occured

  • in unique circumstances. History has also shown that a leader's early actions do not

  • necessarily make or break their presidency and plans can quickly be overturned by events

  • beyond their control. But a successful first hundred days can build momentum, personal

  • credibility and political capital, which any politician would be grateful for.

  • Hi guys, thanks for watching our video. We'd love for you to subscribe to the channel but

  • before you do that, are there any political leaders that I haven't mentioned in the

  • video that have had a remarkable first hundred days, whether good or bad? Comment below the

  • video to let us know and we'll see you next time.

Ever since Franklin D Roosevelt coined the term in the 1930s, the first hundred days

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Do the first hundred days matter? | CNBC Explains

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    Summer posted on 2021/01/20
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