Eric Rauchway Bloomberg.com Mar 21, 2013
On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president for the first time, promising an “adequate but sound” currency. The next day, a Sunday, he closed the nation’s banks. “We are now off the gold standard,” he privately declared to a group of advisers. Goldbugs in the president’s circle immediately began prophesying doom. One of his aides, Lewis Douglas, proclaimed “the end of Western civilization.”
How Roosevelt took this fateful step has been the subject of debate among historians, many of whom believe that the president flailed his way through his first weeks in office, and only gradually came to the decision to take the country off gold that April. But the evidence suggests that Roosevelt intended to do so from Day One for very specific reasons, although he delayed letting the rest of the country in on his plans.
Minutes after FDR had made his unsettling private disclosure, a secretary told him that reporters were clamoring to know if the U.S. had left the gold standard. “Tell them to ask a banker,” Roosevelt said. He clearly did not yet wish to say the truth publicly. First, he needed depositors to return the gold they had withdrawn in panic in the weeks preceding his inauguration.
By Tuesday, Americans had begun to bring gold in large quantities back to the banks. Perhaps they were shamed by the president’s identifying hoarding as the source of the panic, or maybe they feared prosecution under new penalties, including a tax on hoarding, then being discussed in Washington as ways of ensuring that gold came back to the Treasury. The Federal Reserve announced that it had the names of those who had taken out gold… >>MORE(Bloomberg.com)
Hear Franklin D Roosevelt Fireside Banking Chat March 12, 1933