CHAPTER I.—THE STAGE IS SET,1919–1929

A FATEFUL WEEK

ON the night of Sunday, March 5, 1933, the pomp and circumstance of Inauguration Day still ringing in his ears, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation closing all the banks of the country and placing an embargo on gold exports. This step, unprecedented in this country in time of peace, was taken by the President under the Trading with the Enemy Act, which was resurrected from the dust-laden archives of dead statutes. It was needed to permit the country to face a financial squall which, after hovering over us for three years, finally struck with terrific and overpowering force at the very moment that a change in the government was taking place.

During the following week, the financial ...

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