I. FDR: A Politician in a Wheelchair
In 1932, voters still had not seen any economic improvement, and they wanted a new president.
was nominated again without much vigor and true enthusiasm, and he
campaigned saying that his policies prevented the Great Depression from being worse than it was.
The Democrats nominated
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
, a tall, handsome man who was the fifth
cousin of famous Theodore Roosevelt and had followed in his footsteps.
FDR was suave and conciliatory while TR was pugnacious and confrontational.
FDR had been stricken with polio in 1921, and during this time, his wife,
, became his
Franklin also lost a friend in 1932 when he and
both sought the Democratic nomination.
Eleanor was to become the most active First Lady ever.
II. Presidential Hopefuls of 1932
In the campaign, Roosevelt seized the opportunity to prove that he was not an invalid, and his
campaign also featured an attack on Hoover’s spending (ironically, he would spend even more during his
The Democrats found expression in the airy tune “Happy Days Are Here Again,” and clearly, the
Democrats had the advantage in this race.
III. Hoover's Humiliation in 1932
Hoover had been swept into the presidential office in 1928, but in 1932, he was swept out with
equal force, as he was defeated 472 to 59.
Noteworthy was the transition of the Black vote from the Republican to the Democratic Party.
During the lame-duck period, Hoover tried to initiate some of Roosevelt’s plans, but was met by
stubbornness and resistance.
Hooverites would later accuse FDR of letting the depression worsen so that he could emerge as an
even more shining savior.
IV. FDR and the Three R’s: Relief, Recovery, and Reform
On Inauguration Day, FDR asserted, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
He called for a nationwide bank holiday to eliminate paranoid bank withdrawals, and then he
commenced with his
The Democratic-controlled Congress was willing to do as FDR said, and the first
FDR’s administration were filled with more legislative activity than ever before.
Many of the
reforms had been adopted by European nations a decade before.
V. Roosevelt Manages the Money
The Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933 was passed first. FDR declared a one week “
” just so everyone would calm down and stop running on the banks.
Then, Roosevelt settled down for the first of his thirty famous “
” with America.