I. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Patrician in Government
A. The Making of a Politician
Born in 1882, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was raised to strive for the high-minded
doctrines of public service and Christian duty to help the poor and weak.
After a two-year stint in the New York legislature, he ascended to national office when
Woodrow Wilson appointed him assistant secretary of the navy.
During the summer of 1921, Roosevelt was infected with the polio virus, paralyzing both
While visiting a polio therapy facility in Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt courted
southern Democrats and became a rare political creature: a New Yorker from the
Democratic Party's urban and immigrant wing with whom whites from the Democratic
Party's entrenched southern wing felt comfortable.
Roosevelt won New York's 1928 gubernatorial election and used his position to
showcase his leadership and his suitability for a presidential bid.
Roosevelt believed government should intervene to protect citizens from economic
hardships, rather than wait for the laws of supply and demand to improve the economy.
In 1931, Roosevelt created the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration ( TERA ),
the highlight of Roosevelt's efforts to relieve the economic hardships of New Yorkers.
To his supporters, Roosevelt seemed to be a leader determined to use the resources of the
government to attack the economic crisis without deviating from democracy or from
B. The Election of 1932
Democrats convened in Chicago in July 1932 to nominate their presidential candidate;
opposition to Republicans and hunger for office united Democrats, but the party
remained divided by religion, region, culture, and commitment to the status quo.
When Roosevelt accepted the Democratic nomination, he stated his determination to
govern decisively and pledged himself to “a new deal for the American people,” but few
details about what Roosevelt meant by a “new deal” emerged in the presidential
Roosevelt won in a historic landslide; his victory represented the emergence of what
came to be known as the New Deal coalition, attracting support from farmers, factory
workers, immigrants, city folk, African Americans, women, and progressive intellectuals.
II. Launching the New Deal
A. The New Dealers
In order to design and implement the New Deal, Roosevelt needed ideas and people;
Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins, both activists from the social gospel tradition and