Who Was the First U.S. President to Appear on Television?

Julia | 07 - 07 - 2021

Who Was the First American President to Appear on Television?

The first president to appear on TV was none other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States (commonly known as FDR.) FDR first appeared on black and white television on April 30, 1939. He was at the opening ceremony of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and he also gave a speech. 

This occasion marked the introduction of the television set to the American public, as well as the start of regular broadcasts in the radio era. However, it was also the first use of a medium that would become common in American politics over the next several decades.

Since TV was just a newborn baby at the time, it was only broadcasted to a few households in the New York area. When a television camera broadcast Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, he had no idea how powerful and important the medium would play in politics in the decades to come.

When Does Roosevelt First Appear on Television?
  • A. 1937
  • B. 1938
  • C. 1939
  • D. 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt – First President to Be on TV

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) served as President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. FDR was a famous politician who made history by winning a record four presidential elections. In this regard, he is the only US president to have served more than two terms in office.

He was a pivotal figure in twentieth-century world events. The most significant events in his history are his leadership of the American people throughout the Great Depression and World War II. He was also a dominant leader of the Democrats who formed the New Deal Coalition, which restructured American politics into the Fifth Party System.

Furthermore, he is remembered as the man who defined American liberalism in the twentieth century, which earns him high marks among academics. Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, FDR is regarded as one of the three greatest and most successful presidents in American history. 

As much as FDR made television history, it would be remiss not to mention his successor, President Harry Truman, who served from 1884 to 1972. Harry Truman must be mentioned because, in October 1947, he became the first US president to deliver a televised presidential address from The White House.

Following his first presidential address, all of Truman’s speeches were televised live on national television. His inauguration ceremony in 1949 was even televised. As if that wasn’t enough TV history for one man, he is also remembered as the president who pioneered the White House Telecast and made the first paid television advertisement.

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