The American Promise
Chapter 24 Outline
The New Deal Experiment, 1932-1939
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 his legs.
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
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 capitalism.
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
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 campaign.
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