Washington, 1933. The Great Depression is at its worst. The Roosevelt administration is determined to do something, but feels constrained by conservative opinion.
The interior of the Oval Office.
It is three days after the inauguration. Roosevelt sits behind his desk, surrounded by advisors, including Lew Douglas, Rexford Tugwell, Ray Moley, Louis Howe and James Farley.
Roosevelt states, "We have to stop this bleeding of the banks."
Lew Douglas says, "We could create our own banks."
Roosevelt: "How do you mean?"
Ray Moley, a soft-spoken man who is going genially bald, cuts in, "We could create a national chain of banks. They would be backed by government-issued bonds. People would have a guarantee their savings are secure."
James Farley, fleshy-faced, earnestly expressive, says, "We can't do that. That would be equivalent to nationalizing the current system."
Rexford Tugwell looks at Farley. "So?"
"The people won't have it. Not the businessmen and the professional folk—the 'doctors and accountants and whatnot.' This is a country built on enterprise, not government interference."