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Keep it 100: Do the First 100 Days Really Matter?

By Hallie Balch


When someone holds the Office of the President, possibly the most complicated job in the history of the United States, we expect a lot from them. Political Scientists Thomas Cronin and Michael Genovese point out in their article, Paradoxes of the Presidency, that Americans expect their leader to be someone that is a “common man,” yet also someone that is unlike anyone else, someone that is bold, yet reserved, someone who can unify the nation, but stand for exactly what their party outlines. The paradoxes are countless and even more impossibly, the American people expect changes from the President the very day he takes office. Through the years, the ways with which the success of a president is measured has constantly been in flux; one of the measures often used by the public and especially the media is the 100 day marker. This measure has not always been around, but seems to have come into use with the Presidency of FDR and since its inception, has only caused increased disdain with the presidency and a growing sense of distrust because of the amount of time it takes to accomplish anything of merit as president. This paper explores the creation of the 100 day marker as well as some questions surrounding it such as: what is it about 100 days that the public believes is important for a president to be measured with, why does the gauge show up only after FDR, and is there a better way to measure the success of a president than just 100 days of action? By using a case study of 7 presidents, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, this paper will be able to pinpoint the creation as well as benefits and consequences to having a 100 day marker of success. The conclusion will identify ways that may be more suitable to gauge a president’s success as well as how to avoid falling into the 100 day marker trap

Topics: Communication, Political Science
Publisher: Dominican Scholar
Year: 2018
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Provided by: Dominican Scholar
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