When did the first 100 days become a benchmark?
The concept of being judged on 100 days is believed to be rooted in French history, not American. The “Cent Jours” (Hundred Days) refers to the period of 1815 between Napoleon Bonaparte’s return to Paris from exile on the island of Elba and his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo at the hands of the Anglo-allied army led by the Duke of Wellington, ending the Napoleonic Wars.
It wasn’t until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933 that the first 100-day standard became something to emulate for any subsequent commander in chief. Inheriting the worst depression in our nation’s history, with a quarter of the workforce unemployed and two million citizens homeless, the near collapse of the farming and industrial sectors, and banks closing left, right, and center, Roosevelt had to take decisive actions, which is exactly what he did.