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1936 Democratic Party presidential primaries

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Democratic Party presidential primaries, 1936

← 1932 March 10 to May 19, 1936 1940 →
 
FDR in 1933.jpg
Breck 3295488946 211613c77c o.jpg
Candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt Henry Skillman Breckinridge
Home state New York New York
Contests won 37 1
Popular vote 4,814,978 136,407
Percentage 92.9% 2.6%

1936DemocraticPresidentialPrimaries.svg
Results map by state.

Previous Democratic nominee

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Democratic nominee

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The 1936 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1936 U.S. presidential election.[1] Incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1936 Democratic National Convention held from June 23 to June 27, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Transcription

⇒ >> DAVID FERRIERO:  Good afternoon and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater. I'm David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States and I'm pleased you could join us whether you're here physically in our theater or joining us on Facebook or YouTube. Before we hear from Terry Golway about his new book "Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance that Created the Modern Democratic Party" I'd like to tell you about two other programs coming up here next month in the William G. McGowan Theater on Thursday January tenth at noon we'll here from Brad Meltezer "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington" he'll tell us about the time when members of George Washington's bodyguards plotted with the New York Governor William Tryon to launch a deadly plot against the commanding general.  Then on Thursday January 17th. At 7:00 join us for World War I Armistice Tribute Concert. A Special concert in honor of the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day, musicians from the United States Army Band, Pershing's Own will perform works by six well-known composers active in post-World War I France. Check out our website at archives.gov or sign up on the table outside to get email updates, you'll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities. And another way to get more involved with the National Archives so to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The foundation supports all of our education and outreach activities. One of the satisfying things about attending these author lectures is seeing the tangible results of countless hours of research and primary documents.  Especially those in the custody of the National Archives and our presidential libraries. Those of us who work here know that our records contain innumerable stories but it takes dedicated story tellers to share them with the wider world. Sam Roberts reviewing "Frank and Al" in The New York Times stated "'Frank & Al' is the latest of Mr. Golway's several captivating books on New York politics. He delivers once again, with a timely narrative on the centennial of Smith's first election as governor." the stories as I said begin in the records and since this is is a National Archives mission to preserve them and make them accessible to those who need them.  It's gratifying to read an author's thanks to the work of our archival staff for helping him or her navigate the boxes of records. In the acknowledgments section of "Frank and Al." Terry Golway thanked by name several members of the Roosevelt presidential library staff and I'm sure what makes them fill with pride is his statement "The bulk of my research took place in one of my favorite places on earth, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum and Library in Hyde Park, New York." thousands of researchers come through our research rooms each year and we hope most of them consider the various National Archives locations their favorite places also.     Now it's time to hear from Mr. Golway and learn about the special relationship between "Frank and Al."  Terry Golway is a senior editor of Politico States responsible for New York state political coverage out of Albany. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years and the author of more than a dozen books including "Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics" and "Washington's General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution" he was a member of the New York Times editorial board. City editor of the New York Observer and a columnist for the Irish Echo. He hold as PhD in U.S. history from Rutgers and has taught at the New School New York University and Kane University. Mr. Golway is a frequent guest on documentary films and television news shows in the United States and Ireland, please welcome Terry Golway. [ APPLAUSE ] >> TERRY GOLWAY: Thank you David. And thankk all of you for coming out this afternoon and -- and thanks always to archivists without whom I could do nothing and my colleagues could do nothing. You know, I -- I wear two hats I -- I'm a historian and a journalist.  And as a journalist I often deal deal with people whose job is to prevent me from getting information.  As a historian, I deal with people who love to give me information. And the archivists I've dealt with both here and at the FDR library and other places have been fabulous. So thanks to them without whom I certainly would not be standing here today. Last time I was here about three or four years ago I was introduced as a history professor. Today I'm introduced a journalist. Which means that even at my age, careere advancement and upward mobility is possible.     [ LAUGHTER ] >> TERRY GOLWAY:  I'm delighted we're here to talk about "Frank and Al" and I mentioned to one of my friends on Staten Island where I grew up I was doing a book called Frank and Al, he said you mean the pizza place in Bensenhurst? No. Frank is, believe it or not is Franklin Roosevelt. Not many people called FDR Frank. I can't imagine Eleanor doing so or any of his Harvard classmates, but Al Smith did.  And so did most of the sort of rough and tumble politicians at Tammany Hall. He was Frank. I don't need to tell you much about Franklin Roosevelt, you know his story. You may not know as much about Al Smith, however, and mores is the pity. Smith was one of the dominant figures in the Democratic party in the 1920s, he was a four-time governor of New York at the time when the terms were two year, he was a three-time candidate for the United States presidency and in 1928 he became the first Roman Catholic, the first non-Protestant the first non-WASP to win a major party's nomination, there was a direct line between Al Smith, John Kennedy, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I would argue. In the sense that he was somebody from as what was described in 1928 as a minority group, that being an Irish Catholic. If Smith is remembered at all today except from nerds like me. He's remembered for this. The Al Smith dinner.     Oh look. [ LAUGHTER ]     >> TERRY GOLWAY:  They were having such fun back then.     [ LAUGHTER ] >> Those were the days.  But that is needless to say the Al Smith dinner which occurs every year in New York.     But every four years generally the presidential candidates come and tell jokes about each other and laugh and pretend that they don't like each other.     So Al Smith, Al was born on the Lower East Side. When he died in 1944, The New York Times said that never in American history has a street urchin like Al Smith risen to national prominence.  I'm sure Al would have taken that as a compliment. Indeed he loved his city.     This is not his apartment building those are not his relatives but that sort of is is a general sense of the Lower East Side that Al Smith would have grown up in. He would have rubbed shoulders with people of all nationalities and all ethnicities by then, by the time of his birth, the Lower East Side was transforming from an Irish bastion to a Jewish bastion, as you can tell by looking at the photograph, that was his world and he loved it. He went to a Catholic school. St.James school on the Lower East Side and he didn't finish grade school. He dropped out two months before he was to graduate from eighth grade when father died.  Which back then was a tragedy. I mean it's a tragedy any time.  But it's is a special hardship in the 1880s when there are no social safety net and his mother was left a widow with two children to support and Smith to help support the family dropped out of school, took a series of jobs, the most famous of which was a job at the Fulton fish market which is no longer there in New York City but was a landmark and was his formative experience as a young man.  When he went to the New York legislature he would identify himself as an FF man. FFM man. People would say, what's that.    Fulton fish market and with the college graduates.     Right? So that was his form of experience as a teenager he loved to act. He, for a period of time he considered acting as a profession and if you were to ever see him on YouTube on the stage you would see he never lost his sense of timing and acting ability but he embraced the city.  And one of the things I find interesting is as a historian of the Irish American experience in particular, was that Al Smith was the grandson of Irish immigrants who never knew what it was like to live in city. The Irish like many other immigrants afterwards were poor peasants coming from agricultural backgrounds and stayed in the city and made the city theirs. And Al Smith often said, that the greatest blessing of his life was to be born in the great metropolis as he called New York.  So that was sort of there's Al that's what he's, that's his background. There's where Franklin Roosevelt was born. He was born in Hyde Park in slightly different circumstances he was born in a house that had a name Springwood Al Smith's had a name too tenement. [ LAUGHTER ]     >> TERRY GOLWAY:  But that's where he was born to a father who was on his second marriage. His father was a Harvard graduate and President of several railroads, obviously a very privileged background and Franklin Roosevelt, by any stretch of the imagination, American aristocracy. And this gets to the heart of what I am talking about when I mention this unlikely alliance between these two New York Democrats who dominant national politics for the better part of 20 years in the 1920s and 30s and there's a lot of about bridges in my book. I don't pretend to be -- yes, I do.     I do pretend to be a writer as well as a historian and one of the images that will -- you will see throughout the book when you go out and buy five copies is I write a lot about the -- the fact that these two men serve as bridges between two rival parts of the democratic party. But -- and nicely for me, bridges also play a part in their narrative, you can't read more than two paragraphs about Al Smith without realizing he was born in shadow of the Brooklyn bridge and one of the great technological marvels of the late 19th century and his house was literally under the anchorage of the Brooklyn bridge and he writes in his autobiography about watching this bridge being built and how envious he felt of the people stringing the cables which means he was a brave young boy and not as dramatically, but one of the things I noticed in doing my research at the FDR library is that there was a bridge being built during FDR's childhood too.     This doesn't look like much but it's still there.  It was the longest railway bridge in the world at the time. It goes from the Poughkeepsie to Ulster County to Highland and if you were to go to the FDR Library looked south there it is. He saw this being built and I sort of took this as a symbol of who Smith and Roosevelt were and -- and the job that they performed for the democratic party and for the United States.  In their childhood in the 1880s and '90s and into the 20th century there were three factions of the the democratic party really. There were the Roosevelt type of democrat, the elites and the protoprogressives and you know who were interested in, in good government and reform.  And -- and you know thought of government as from the top down.     There were the sort of populist and the emerging populists who come to the floor in 1896 with Williams Jennings Bryant and then the urban Pols, the machine Pols and these three groups didn't speak to each other.     There was a gulf that needed to be bridged.  And in New York in particular of course the idea. It was really two factions, right?  The Roosevelt progressives and there were the Smith sort of urban politicians because obviously the populace were not active up in the north.     The person who in my mind personifies the democratic party of the gilded age is Grover Cleveland, another governor of New York famous if at all for serving two non-consecutive terms but he was sort of a proto-typical liaise fair free trade and not a tariff man and he -- he was Franklin Roosevelt's father favorite democrat. And he was what a good democrat should be.     Grover Cleveland as governor of New York in 1883.     Declined New York City's request for money to help put up the statue of liberty.     Because he felt it was not a good use of public dollars and Bill DeBlasio thinks Andrew Cuomo gives him a hard time.  But that was the sort democrat that Roosevelt's father loved. Right? And they were in, they were instinctively opposed to the Al Smith sort of ethnic kind of democrat. So those are the two sides of the divide I think question see these gentlemen bridge. Smith is elected to the New York assembly in 1903, he's chosen by a mentor of his named Tom Foley who was, like Smith, left without a father at a young age. He sort of took Smith under his wing because he gave a good speech because he had an been an actor. And thought here's somebody we could send at to the New York assembly as a member of Tammany Hall the infamous, or in my view underrated, political machine in New York. And Smith was happy to have a job that paid $1,500 a year and took it. He immediately was discouraged he was not a natural and felt overwhelmed by the presence of being in the room with so many college graduates. Tom Foley for whom Foley's square is named in Manhattan, Foley told him just shut up and vote and that's how a freshman gets along in Albany then and possibly now. But Smith grew very disillusioned, at one point he says - I never knew there were so many laws - he turns to his other colleague from Manhattan and says whoever thought we could be assemblymen and ready he to give it up. Until Foley talks him into staying after two years in Albany he says okay and writes in his autobiography I decided that I was, I wasn't going to let this beat me I didn't want to admit there was something I couldn't do.  So after say, 1906, and after two one-year terms Smith becomes the guy you see on the floor of the assembly reading legislation.     In fact he famously read all 1,000 plus pages of the state appropriations bill.  And it got to the point where all of the these college educated lawyers would go to Al Smith because he knew more about New York state law than anybody else. He was self-made. He taught himself. How not to be just to a politician but to be a legislator, two different things two different skill sets. And by 1911, Al Smith is named by another one of his mentors, Charlie Murphy the head of Tammany Hall as the majority leader and chair of the Ways and Means committee in the state assembly along with the young President of the state Senator of the state Senate named Robert Wagner. Who of course goes on to become the great architect of New Deal legislation so those two, Al Smith and Robert Wagner, a German immigrant, become the leaders of the New York state legislature in 1911. They are both Tammany men and both become two of the greatest politicians in New York state history and, arguably, Wagner one of the great Senators of the 20th century. Tammany men. Oops, uh-oh.     There we go. This guy on the other hand, was elected in 1910 to the New York Senate as an adamant foe of Tammany Hall. He was from Duchess county in up state his district represented farmers and rural people and he campaigned for the first time in 1910 after being a lawyer and not very dissatisfied with and went to Harvard and then Columbia law school. Didn't really like the law, he was bored by it, and his colleagues thought he was a failure as a lawyer. One day he took some of the other junior associates aside and said that some day he'd like to be a member of the New York legislature and after that then assistant secretary of the Navy and then maybe governor of New York and once you were governor of New York in the early 20th century the next natural step and one of Roosevelt's friends realized that he was of course telling the story of Teddy Roosevelt and basically saying he was going to follow in his cousin and wife's uncle's footsteps and nobody thought it was impossible and nobody thought it was insane. But 1910 he finally gets an opportunity to run for state Senate in Duchess and Putnam and Columbia counties in New York and campaigns against everything Al Smith would stand for.     He's against these people from the cities.  He's against machine, he's sort of for temperance, this is before prohibition but temperance is part of the conversation.     So he's campaigning as a good government progressive.  An democratic Roosevelt. And that's why he won. There's no great magic and he was a fabulous retail campaigner but he won because the Democratic party had found its own Roosevelt. In 1910 Teddy Roosevelt had been out of office for only two years, his term ended on March 4th 1909. he was still a tremendous figure in the democratic party, a Republican, and now the democrats have their own Roosevelt and the two of them meet in Albany in 1911. Luckily for us Al Smith was able to preserve his memory of the first time he met Franklin Roosevelt, it was in January of 1911, Franklin Roosevelt was causing havoc in the New York legislature because he was holding up the appointment     Of the United States Senator, back then this was this last time that legislators appointed U.S. Senators. After this they were elected by popular vote. So Tammany was trying to put a Tammany guy there. Roosevelt was trying to hold it up. So Wagner and Smith the new leaders of the legislature walk over to Franklin Roosevelt's townhouse. Right across the street from this building. Where he was paying $400 a month in rent. His salary was $1,500 a year but he was a Roosevelt and didn't worry about paying the bills and there's this fabulous scene that Smith describes and we only have Smith's word for it where Smith, Wagner's going across to be the emissary and say to Roosevelt what do you want?  What do you need to stop this? And Smith says I'll come along and they knock on Roosevelt's door. And expecting to see certainly Senator Roosevelt and maybe Eleanor they certainly weren't expecting to see a butler at the door.     And the butler as Al Smith tells it. The butler says Ah.     Senator Roosevelt is expecting Senator Wagner.     And sort of looks at the askance at this guy with derby and I'm imagining this but -- I never saw Al Smith without a cigar so I imagine he had a cigar and probably had a a suit that was maybe a little too loud for the Patricians and Smith says he looked at the butler and said that's all right I'm coming in.  And in they came. That was my Al Smith imitation and the last time I'll try it. [ LAUGHTER ]     >> TERRY GOLWAY:  It's not bad. So from from all I've read about it.     No one said what they talked about. Right?  It was the first meeting and he came away from that meeting later on and told Francis Perkins who goes ton become very famous herself and tells her Franklin Roosevelt will not succeed in politics because he doesn't understand how to get things done. That's his first impression.     Well 1911, is a historic year not just in New York and not just for this meeting but it's is a historic year in American history because it's year of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, one of the great catastrophes of the early 20th century which caused a social revolution not just in New York but in America itself. 146 workers trapped on the 8th and 9th floors of the Ash building which is still there in Greenwich village and many jump to their deaths and others just burn on the factory floor and it led to a great investigation in New York. Led by Robert Wagner and Al Smith.  Two Tammany men working with good government groups to figure out how to make sure this tragedy never happens again. As a result of Smith and Wagner's investigation in New York in 191 and 1913 begins to lead the nation in passing not just fireproofing rules, not just rules about sprinklers and exits but also things like stronger worker's compensation, a 54 hour work bill for women and children. Men could work 100 hours, they didn't care. Child labor regulations, one day off for every seven worked.     Franklin Roosevelt was was a sponsor of that bill and the beginning of minimum wage and pensions, and this is probably the most poignant from Al Smith's perspective. State pensions for widows with children In other words, women like his mother. Right?  That was passed in 1915 not 1913. Roosevelt who is a freshman senator, who is then reelected in 1912 played absolutely no role in all these great social reforms except for sponsoring the one day in seven bill and the that's because the clergy in Hyde Park said it would be nice if workers could get off and go to services. Okay I'll sign that bill.  Later on when he is running for President he posits himself as sort of in the middle of the great social change happening in Albany, he was nowhere to be seen. Francis Perkins and others had described him as looking down this nose at the 54 hour bill and wouldn't lift a finger to help Perkins or Smith or Wagner pass an of this legislation. However he did a fair amount of in his time in 1912 was spent trying to get is a private road project for a millionaire in the Adirondacks put in the state budget and built by the taxpayers and his law firm actually engaged with the millionaire who said. If you do this for me and if you get the road built by the state to my country house, there will be more work coming to the law firm.  So that's how he spent most of his time. I say this because this is the man who opposed patronage and opposed Tammany Hall's dirty politics but yet he spent most of time on private business while a he was a Senator. He left Albany, Franklin Roosevelt, 1913.     Right?  To go become an assistant secretary of the Navy for Woodrow Wilson and when he left Albany nobody shed a tear. He had made have few friends there and made a lot of enemies mostly because he held himself above politics that was his persona.  Right? At one point there was a bill before the legislature to build a bridge in Duchess County near his house for $9,000 it had been approved by Al Smith and the assembly and Roosevelt takes to the floor and says why is there a bridge being built in my district for $9,000. This is an unnecessary expense to which the Senator in the seat in front of him. Big Tim Sullivan from the Bowery turns around and says -     Frank, you got to get your head examined. The bridge was never built.     Or at least it wasn't built at the time. So that's -- that's sort of the background for the two of them Smith and Roosevelt during their Albany years. Smith goes on to win the governorship in 1918 with the endorsement of Franklin Roosevelt. Now, how did that happen?  Roosevelt was adamantly opposed to any Tammany candidates. Smith was the Tammany candidate in 1918. But somewhere along the line, somewhere between 1913 and 1918, Franklin Roosevelt I think realized that if you can't beat them, you may as well join them.  And I think part of that was a result of his being beaten by Tammany Hall in 1914 he tried to run for the United States Senate in the first popular election in New York and was roundly defeated by Tammany's candidate you can see the correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and his great loyal aide Louie Howe where the two of them say well, maybe we should start doing business with these people. And I think that's where this, that's really where the story of Frank Al begins. Roosevelt endorses Smith for governor in 1918, he becomes the first Catholic to be elected governor. Elected governor of New York state and now a correspondence which is wonderfully preserved at the FDR library of correspondence begins between the two of them. Two people who just didn't like each other in the beginning and now they're starting to invite each other to functions, and sort of perfunctory stuff to a, leading in 1920 to a formalization of a treaty between the two of them. In 1920 Al Smith was favorite son candidate for President. Which meant, for those who don't remember, contested conventions favored sons were often place holders, their names were placed in nomination and then the back room dealing began. We haven't seen that since -- the '20s.  So Smith's name was placed in nomination just sort of as an honor and he needed somebody to second his nomination and he says, Franklin Roosevelt and Roosevelt was delighted to do it and when Roosevelt himself was nominated for vice president in 1920 he needed someone to second his nomination and Al Smith did it.     This is the pattern we're about to see throughout the 1920s of Smith and Roosevelt supporting help each other in their various candidacies. Needless so say both of them lost, it was a a great Republican landslide where in 1920 Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge swpet the nation. Al Smith, himself, lost as governor of New York in this great Republican landslide and two letters exchanged between Roosevelt and Smith right after the election.     Smith writes to Roosevelt.  You know maybe it's for the better.     You know.  The -- the country's in a different mood.  Maybe it's just as well that we lost. And Roosevelt writes back and says, no, no look the two of us will probably never run for office again, however, we know New York better than anyone.  So I -- let's the two of us get together and rebuild the democratic party in New York. And that was the plan until several months after that letter was sent Franklin Roosevelt, of course, came down with polio and was basically now regarded by nearly everyone as a political has-been a tragic, terrible but this guy has no future.     Right?  And there is Franklin Roosevelt. Sometime later on his crutches at Hyde Park with Al Smith and John Davis who is the 1924 democratic presidential candidate and the fellow on the left remains unknown.     But -- after Smith lost in 1920, Roosevelt in his -- in the middle of his recovery.     Begins a letter writing campaign in 1922 to get Smith to run for re-election again because governor were running every two years back then, there is this whole public campaign that is orchestrated by Franklin Roosevelt to get Al Smith back in the game and it succeeds.     Smith does -- is convinced by Roosevelt to do that.     I think he probably would have done it anyway.     But Roosevelt has the public role of convincing Smith to get back in and he runs and wins again in 1922. As governor, he -- I wouldn't say that he brings Smith into his inner circle but he rather he brings Roosevelt in to his inner circle     But rather he gives Roosevelt a role at a time when he can't, he can't move his legs and everybody else thinks he's finished. Smith appoints him to commissions and has other roles for him to play.  And in my view, you know I thy do think this part of the Roosevelt biography is underplayed in many Roosevelt biographies, the role that Smith played in keeping Roosevelt in the game in New York.  As as a favor, out of pity. Shrewdly.     As the token Protestant. Maybe all of those things there's no question that Smith played the role in keeping Roosevelt active in the 1920s.     Two women who played a role in this relationship too, very prominent women.     On the left is Bell Moscowitz on the right is is Francis Perkins. Belle Moscowitz was, Al Smith said she had the had the greatest political brain of anyone he had ever met. He didn't say any woman. He didn't say of a woman but anybody he had ever met and she was a civic reformer who say saw in Al Smith possibility for progressive liberal policy making even though he was from Tammany.     Even though he was you know from the streets.     And Moscowitz becomes basically the most powerful woman in New York in the 1920s at a time when New York was clearly the most powerful state in the union. Francis Perkins is given a job by Smith as industrial commissioner she is the highest ranking woman office holder I believe in the country in 1920s if not certainly one of them. And the two of them become Smith's conscience for as his governorship goes on he's out in favor of public ownership of hydro power and building enormous parks in New York State and prison reform, housing reform.     All of these social reforms many of which Smith would have, you know, been close to his heart any way but I would argue these two women were constantly pushing him to the left as it were. Not that he really had to be pushed that much. So by 1924, Smith is compiling this magnificent records as governor and decides to run for President again only this time he means it this is the crux of the relationship in 1924.     This is it is at the New York -- it's at Madison Square Garden the convention.     And it is where the Democrats and arguably the country as a whole had two and a half week shouting match with each other about culture.     About immigration, about what it means to be an American.  On one side was Al Smith, who was wet. Which meant he opposed prohibition he was a voice of the cities he was the voice for immigrants, on the other side was William Gibbs MacAdoo, Woodrow Wilson's son-in-law he was very friendly with Franklin Roosevelt. They were the two antagonists in the convention and to me the and the key moment comes when Franklin Roosevelt who would have, you would think, sided with William Gibbs MacAdoo his old buddy from Washington during the Wilson years decides not only to stay with Smith, but he becomes Al Smith's presidential campaign manager and delivers the famous happy warrior speech at that convention.  This, that picture is of Franklin Roosevelt making one of the most remarkable comebacks in American political history. Right. No one has seen him since he contracted polio and there he is standing at the podium gripping it so hard that sweat is poring off his shirt because the one thing he was afraid of.     He had practiced walking with a crutch. With two crutches.     With the one thing he was afraid of was that the podium wouldn't support his weight.     And he delivers this wonderful speech where he calls Al Smith the happy warrior and becomes the great success story of the 1924 democratic convention. H e is now a star in the making.  However, the convention itself. Many historians argue was a bloody disaster, it went on for 103 ballots and two and a half weeks and people were screaming at each other about all sorts of things but the two things to keep in mind, if it were a delegation unto itself, the largest delegation at the 1924 democratic convention would have been the KKK. The Klan had infiltrated at least 12 state delegations including Indiana and several others in the north. During the convention, there was a clan rally in Perth Amboy New Jersey, not far from New York, where three crosses were burned and people paid a dime to throw baseballs at Al Smith in Effigy. Recently if you go on -- on the web you'll see there's picture of hooded clansmen and a commentator whose name I will not mention.     Said they were marching to the convention in 1924.     No they they weren't but there's on element of truth.  The imperial wizard of the KKK set up campaign headquarters in New York and they supported William Gibbs MacAdoo who had been born in Georgia in 1863. And MacAdoo would not disown the clan that was one of the big issues. During this convention Al Smith decided two things one he was never going to give in to a candidate supported by the Ku Klux Klan and the other is he forced the democratic convention to vote on a resolution, actually a plank, in the platform condemning the Klan by name. Everybody including Roosevelt said don't do this. It's only going to split the convention, settle for a compromise we condemn secret societies, Smith would have none of it. It went to a vote and failed by a single vote. So 1924 the democratic party failed to condemn the KKK by name and then as the clan rallied behind MacAdoo Smith told Roosevelt - I'll stay here until Christmas I won't allow the Klan to win.     Roosevelt said okay boss. And the two of them.  The two of them held back the forces of the KKK for two and a half weeks until exhausted and without any more money left they settled on a compromise John Davis went down to defeat Calvin Coolidge. Again most historians interpret that convention as a catastrophe and I say it's a victory. A victory of the new America of the 20th century over the forces of old America and Frankin Roosevelt is on an unexpected side there. Right?  He's with the.     He's with the guys and women from the cities.  He's with the immigrants. He's with the Catholics and Jews. Right?     And that, again I see as the beginning of the new Democratic party.  As opposed to the one from the gilded age. Right?     Smith did not get the nomination. He ran for governor again in 1924.     Having failed to be President and his, his opponent in 1924 for governor was Theodor Roosevelt junior. I think at some point in Franklin Roosevelt's life he you must've said enough with the Roosevelts already.     I can't get away with them.  But good on him because Eleanor Roosevelt who's now Franklin's legs, right?  Is sort of now the public face of the Roosevelt family and her first involvement as a public figure is campaigning for Al Smith against her cousin Teddy junior.  And throughout this entire time, even as we get sort of the of between to the bad times between Franklin, Frank and Al Eleanor Roosevelt loved Al Smith and in 1928 I'm jumping ahead, in 1928 when Smith does run for President and loses, but Franklin Roosevelt wins for governor Eleanor Roosevelt is asked. How is -- you must be happy and your husband won as governor. And Eleanor said It doesn't matter if the top of the ticket lost. The top of the ticket being Al Smith.     She was a great believer in Smith and at a time later on in their lives when Al Smith didn't deserve Eleanor's graciousness. She provided it anyway.     Again, another important part of the story.     So Smith is -- runs again in 1928 he wins the nomination for the presidency on the first ballot. The Democrats make history by nominating a non WASP, a non Protestant for the presidency and again Franklin Roosevelt is his campaign manager and Franklin gives the reprise of the happy warrior speech and it's great history is made and then Smith goes out on the campaign trail and as a historian, sort of I think I can say, without fear of contradiction although you can contradict me later if you want.     That the 1928 presidency. 1928 campaign was one of the ugliest in American history. And there's no shortage on that list mind you. Smith was perceived to be loyal to the pope.  Not loyal to America. This is a pamphlet showing him kissing the ring of a cardinal who had visited Chicago, he is an Italian cardinal and there was a photograph of Smith greeting that cardinal so that, that cartoon was, was one of thousands which suggested that Al Smith was not American. As a Catholic he couldn't possibly be American because his loyalty was to the cardinals, to the pope.     To Italy.  And not to the United States.  The Klan, of course, got involved. Here's a recruitment sheet asking Protestants to come to the fairgrounds in Illinois to hear an official of the knights of the Ku Klux Klan to discuss the unfitness of Al Smith. Smith campaigned in Oklahoma and as he did as he went through the plains there were crosses burning along his, the path of his rail car. When Francis Perkins went to campaign for Al Smith in Independence, Missouri the meeting was broken up by anti-Catholic bigots much to the chagrin of the guy who organized the rally.  Harry Truman. >> And that's what people saw. Perkins went back to New York and said Smith is going to lose because, people told me that they knew for sure that the house that the pope had bought so he would move to New York, Maryland.  Wherever where when Al Smith was elected and in North Carolina and elsewhere there was talk that Al Smith's Tammany friends were disenfranchising white people.  So cast a vote for Hoover to punish them and the Tammany system because part of the critique of Smith was not just about ethnicity it was about race.     You know -- there were several pamphlets showing a prominent Tammany official who's African-American in Tammany hall's office area with a white woman at the desk and why while I couldn't find it in online.     I found it in the past. That said this is Al Smith's America and this should boil the blood of every Anglo Saxon this is how Tammany will rule the United States.     Frederick Morton, a Harvard graduate, and African American who was on the civil service commission in New York city standing next to a white woman. That was the threat Al Smith posed to the United States.  So needless to say Smith lost. But -- running for governor.     Running for President he had to find somebody to run for governor and he asked Franklin Roosevelt to do it. Roosevelt was not ready to run for governor, he was still recovering and everybody knew 1928 was going to be a good year for Republicans and therefore a bad year for Democrats, but Smith did the one thing that some politicians maybe they still do it today but he got to Roosevelt by simply asking for a personal favor. That's what did it.     Roosevelt was hiding from him. Roosevelt was down in Warm Springs and knew that Smith needed someone to replace him and there was only one phone in Warm Springs and he told the person who answered that phone, I'm not here. I'm never here and so he wasn't and then -- Smith got Eleanor to call.  And he was going to take the call from Eleanor.     And he did. And Smith got on the phone and said.     You have to do this for me.  I have to win New York if I'm going win the presidency.     It's your time.  And Roosevelt did it against every instinct he had. Louie Howell told them this was a catastrophe. He had lost for the United States Senate , he had lost Vice-President in 1920 - three time loser. So -- guess what?     FDR won by 25,000 votes in a highly unlikely year for a Democrat to win.  Roosevelt managed to pull it off and of course immediately became a star of the democratic party.  And this is the moment where it shifts the power dynamic shifts Franklin Roosevelt is now the new star of the party and Franklin Roosevelt the sort of lightweight, at least in Al Smith's view of people around him is now you know, a force to be reckoned with and Al Smith is a loser and I think, you know, that is where things begin to change.  Roosevelt also refuses and for the most part. Runs a fifth term as Al, you know, of Al Smith's fifth term but doesn't hire two of Smith's most important advisers, Belle Moscowitz and Robert Moses and Smith begged Roosevelt to keep them on.     I think it was very naive of him to think that because it's impossible I think to imagine that you're the new governor and you're going keep on the chief of staff?  You know which is basically what Moscowitz was and Moses too. So the bitterness is beginning to show.     Mind you, there's not.  There's no difference on policy here.  Roosevelt ran in 1928 as governor on the same issues that Smith ran on.     Public ownership of hydro power. Housing, he wants to expand a bank that Smith established to build low income housing, basically Al Smith's program. But as those of us in politics know and those who follow politics only a little.  Always forget. Personalities can sometimes count more than policy and that was beginning to happen here.  But -- Smith and Roosevelt at least kept kept a good public face on it. This is the Al Smith on the 86th floor of the empire state building showing up off the building to Governor Roosevelt who's hanging on precariously. It's a long fall from there. After Smith lost for President he was the President of the empire state building that was sort of his new job and Roosevelt was willing to help him promote it. But in 1932, Roosevelt is the odds on favorite to win the presidency to win the nomination for -- from the democratic party and then out of nowhere Al Smith announces in February of 1932, right before the New Hampshire primary he's a candidate against Franklin Roosevelt for the presidency in 1932. Sort of a Shakespearian drama now breaks out in the democratic party where old friends have to choose between Frank and Al and if you look at the cast of characters of New York politics of the 1920s you're talking about Robert Wagner and Francis Perkins and James Farley and Ed Flynn the last two chairs of the democratic national committee during the New Deal and afterwards.Belle Mascowitz as I said, Perkins Jimmy Walker, there is a whole host of names you would recognize. A lineup that would put the '27 Yankees to shame and now they've always been with both of them and now they have to decide Frank or Al and some go with Frank and some with Al, most dramatically at the 1932 democratic convention in Chicago Roosevelt is investigating mayor Jimmy Walker to the point where it is possible he'll remove him and the Smith people are trying to stall so they are calling a roll call ballot and they come to Jimmy Walker's name mind you he's being investigated and Walker is nowhere to be found so they continue the ballot and the out of nowhere Walker appears and raises his hand, demands the floor and he says he casts one vote for Al Smith. In other words in against the guy who's investigating him which was again one of the more dramatic moments of that convention. Needless to say Roosevelt won that convention on the fourth ballot but it was thought after three that Al Smith had stopped Roosevelt.  And Roosevelt's people went into a bit of a panic and then two people who I mentioned before Ed Flynn from the Bronx and James Farley from Rocklynn county both got their start in politics from Al Smith and now they're working for Franklin Roosevelt and they call William Randolph Hearst the publisher who is one of Smith's bitter enemies and they cut a deal. California, and Texas, go to Roosevelt.  And John Garner gets the vice presidency say.     You think they these things are made on Merits.     Right? But that was the deal that cut the heart out of Al Smith and not only did Roosevelt do a deal with his worst enemy Hearst I haven't mentioned him because we have get out of here at a certain time.  But the fact it was done by two men that started with Al it just must've hurt to the -- such a hurt to the heart. To the point that although Smith reconciled again with Roosevelt's campaign form in Massachusetts when they thought Massachusetts might actually go to Herbert Hoover why they thought that is beyond me, that I don't know. They didn't have polling like today I suppose.  Smith supports part of the New Deal but suspicious of the centralization of the power in the city rather than the capitals which is where he thought most decisions are made and then in 1936 or '35 Al Smith announces with great fanfare that he's joining the liberty league which is the anti-Roosevelt organization of conservative democrats and Republicans who are not just opposed to the New Deal, they hate the New Deal. They are determined to roll back the new deal and their prized convert is Al Smith and at this, the picture shows Smith getting ready to deliver this fulminating speech against the New Deal where he basically says you have to choose between the red flag of communism or the red, white and blue of the United States.  And what's astonishing about Eleanor Roosevelt is that the night before Smith or rather a couple of days before Smith was scheduled to give this speech in Washington. Eleanor writes and everybody know, it's going to be a big speech by Al Smith against Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor writes to Al calling him governor. Governor I hear you're going to be in Washington. We'd like you to stay at the White House. And -- I can only imagine what Smith must have been thinking.  That -- I'm about to double cross this woman's husband. In the most public way.  And here she is, inviting me to dinner and a sleepover at the White House. And there is an exchange of letters where Smith backs down I want you the understand this is nothing personal.  Right? I -- admire your -- I admire Frank, I like Frank.  But I have to do it. I have to do what I have to do.     And then I would encourage if you have interest in the topic, although I probably bored you to death. If you were ever to hear that speech, it is a fulminating rant of I think a man who has lost his moorings and you know, he campaigned for Alf Landon in 1936 and Wendell Wilkie in 1940. He was very bitter about Roosevelt. In the meantime, of course, Roosevelt is doing things like signing the Social Security bill which is what this is.  Right. To our left is Senator Robert Wagner. Al Smith's old roommate and friend from Albany and behind him is Francis Perkins Al Smith's old friend from Albany missing from that picture is Al Smith. Sadly.     And at one point.  Roosevelt told Francis Perkins I'll never understand what happened with Al everything we've done in the New Deal.  Al Smith did before me in New York. I can't quite -- I spent years thinking about it I don't know what it was except to say that maybe Shakespearean instead of reading the letters maybe I should read more Shakespeare. it's a tragedy involving bitterness and hurt feelings and power dynamics and -- and all of these other things, that, that just can't be explained in a letter. But -- to, to wrap up quickly, there is redemption in the end.  We like stories with redementive endings in 1941 when the war is breaking out. In the 1930s, even though Roosevelt, even though Smith opposed Roosevelt he starts giving speeches after 1938 supporting Roosevelt's position on aiding the allies, before the war and then, and then once war breaks out.  And Roosevelt notices and starts sending telegrams to Smith thanking him for his support and they are very formal. Dear governor and dear Mr. President." Thank you for this.  Until one point Roosevelt says to Perkins the first woman cabinet secretary of labor. I really miss Al.     Can you get a message to Al saying I'd love for him to stop by some time and Perkins says, are you sure, yeah.  So I believe it was late '41 and maybe early '42 Roosevelt invites Al Smith back to the White House. Graciousness again.  Absolute graciousness and in the subsequent year and a half when there are lots of things going on in world.  Thing like world war II Al Smith comes by for a visit at the White House to talk politics and catch up on old times three or four times and at one point Roosevelt's White House puts out the word that they would like Al Smith to run for governor again in 1942 in New York. because Herbert Lehman is leaving the job and he doesn't do it obviously. When Smith is in his dying days his wife Katie died first and he got a heart felt letter from Franklin Roosevelt.     Handwritten and Smith himself dies in the fall of 1944 right before his death a corsage arrives from Franklin and Eleanor and while there's some correspondence showing that while Roosevelt was at a meeting with Winston Churchill he kept tabs on Smith's health and when he died I think they were at the Qeubec conference.  They wound up friends again and the bitterness seemed to fade. Right before he died in '44. Somebody asked Al Smith what do you think of Franklin Roosevelt this is a politically incorrect question to ask and the people who were with Smith were like (gasping) and Smith with his actor's timing paused for a second and said he's the kindest man who ever lived.     Pauses and says, just don't ever get in his way.     [ LAUGHTER ] Thank you very much.     [ APPLAUSE ] So I'm told that you can subject me to any inquisition you'd like.  There are microphones yonder.     And if I don't have an answer you can be sure I'll make it up.  Hi.     I believe the democratic convention for many years had a two-thirds rule at least for the presidential nomination. That's correct.     >> Does did that apply to the platform? That's the first part and the second part is how do we explain the apparent decrease in the power of the Klan between 1924 and '28. How did they let the Smith get elected in 1928 or get the nomination in 1928? >> TERRY GOLWAY:  All good question, the platform committee was a simple majority but you're right.  One of the reasons why the conventions went on for so long you needed a a two-thirds majority and Roosevelt went into '32 where far more votes than smith but didn't get the two-thirds. Right.     In terms of of the Klan's power. Books have been written about the decline of the Klan from their height its power in 1925, think that is when they marched down in Washington in their hoods and nighties right.  To the point where 1928 they were a non-factor. I think some of it was they withdrew from public life because it had been a failure but obviously they didn't go away.     We know from American history that the Klan became active again.  But you know, again, they -- they reinvented themselves or they went back to their roots, after the '20s and '30s and began a campaign of terrorism against African-American, but in the '20s they saw the threat to their power as the Catholics and Jews in the cities of the north and they lost that battle. You know the numbers weren't with them. I mean that's not a -- that's not perhaps a saith factory explanation. What is for sure I would argue is that Smith with Roosevelt's help shamed them out of a public presence in the democratic party. They were a private presence and I think perhaps their absence the absence of any opposition to Al Smith in 1928 could be attributed to I think simple politics in the sense that Smith and Roosevelt built up a power base between '24 and '28 but also who was going to beat Herbert Hoover, that was part of it. If the Klan wanted to support somebody in 1928 they didn't have anybody.     I mean Smith almost got it the nomination by default.Because after all the '20s were the jazz age and prosperity was going to keep going and going.  Yes. Hi. Thank you for your speech I'm Mu Yung I just think -- for running a public office should be first in their minds should be for the nation and for the public.  So whenever they have issues difference, so -- and I just wonder how they do they divide into two parties? What I mean, whatever, which party they want to be, they always have in mind they want to work for the nation.  And work for the people. So how can there be two different parties become so angry about each other? Now, now we have Trump and democratic party.     Just think about drop everything little things and then brim out of sight I just wondered.  Is what does history tell us is from when they become divided? >> TERRY GOLWAY:  Well I mean the way that the founders hoped that there would not be factions and they were hoping there's nothing about political parties in the Constitution. And some of the founders you know warned against factions. But that -- and, you know the beginning of the Republri there was the Federalist and Thomas everson invented the Democratic Puerto oppose -- and the point to democracy you give choices to people and that -- that begins to develop at an early age in our Republic some say we don't have enough choice, if you're in the United Kingzom you have more choice, one of the reasons for anger is because of you know personality, you know Al Smith and Franklin radio Roosevelt didn't disagree on much.  But Smith came too really despise him. And I think it was simply because he felt that he Franklin Roosevelt had what Al Smith should've had. And that will make you angry. >> Hi.     >> I have a question for you Terry. >> TERRY GOLWAY:  Last question.     >> Would have Al Smith have one in '32?     >> TERRY GOLWAY:  That is a good question.  And you know, I don't know.  I mean, obviously you know the backdrop is the depression.     Herbert Hoover or as an announcer once called him.     Hebert Hebber.  Something like that. But Herbert Hoover was immensely unpopular.     I hate to put it in this phrase as an average Catholic.     Was the country ready for the Catholic in 1932.     It was barely ready in 196 0. I think he would have lost.     I think that there's no way he's getting the south and no democrat can win in 1932 without the south. The solid south south was the home of the Klan they were in favor of prohibition. And I -- in 1928.     Smith got three southern states.  He did not win New York.     Which also broke his heart. Al Smith lost his home state in 1928.  Only two Presidents that I know ofen won while losing their home state.     Woodrow Wilson and the current incumbent lost New York.     But anyway, Smith lost New York. Broke his heart.     I think he would have lost and Herbert Hoover would have found another lease on life if Smith had won in the way it's a moot point because smooth Smith going into the convention never had enough strength. The only thing he could do is block Roosevelt. Again to add to the layers of Shakespearian drama here, even when he knew he was going to lose, he wanted desperately to prevent Franklin Roosevelt from becoming President. Yeah.  I mean, it's very sad that part of his life and I think that is one of the reasons why many historians have not given him his due. Because they remember the Franklin Roosevelt at the liberty league and they forget the Franklin Roosevelt of 1924 and that's the thought I'll leave you with. Thank you very much.     [ APPLAUSE ] >> Folks there is a book signing one level up.

Contents

Candidates

Before his assassination, there was a challenge from Louisiana Senator Huey Long. But, due to his untimely death, President Roosevelt faced only one primary opponent other than various favorite sons.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Henry Skillman Breckinridge Upton Sinclair John S. McGroarty
U.S. President from New York (1933–1945)
Assistant Secretary of War
(1913–1916)
Novelist and Journalist from California
Congressman from California
(1935–1939)
4,830,730 votes
136,407 votes
106,068 votes
61,391 votes

Primaries

Franklin
Roosevelt
Henry
Breckinridge
Upton
Sinclair
John
McGroarty
Joseph
Coutremarsh
Uncommitted Others
March 10 New Hampshire
(Primary)
100.00%
(15,752)
- - - - - -
April 7 Wisconsin
(Primary)
99.96%
(401,773)
- - - - - 0.04%
(154)
April 14 Illinois
(Primary)
99.97%
(1,416,411)
- - - - - 0.03%
(446)
Nebraska
(Primary)
100.00%
(139,743)
- - - - - -
April 28 Massachusetts
(Primary)
85.85%
(W) (51,924)
- - - - - 14.15%
(W) (8,556)
Pennsylvania
(Primary)
95.32%
(720,309)
4.68%
(35,351)
- - - - -
May 4 Maryland
(Primary)
83.45%
(100,269)
15.11%
(18,150)
- - - 1.45%
(1,739)
-
May 5 California
(Primary)
82.51%
(790,235)
- 11.08%
(106,068)
6.41%
(61,391)
- - -
South Dakota
(Primary)
100.00%
(48,262)
- - - - - -
May 12 Ohio
(Primary)
93.98%
(514,366)
6.02%
(32,950)
- - - - -
West Virginia
(Primary)
97.25%
(288,799)
- - - 2.75%
(8,162)
- -
May 15 Oregon
(Primary)
99.77%
(88,305)
- - - - - 0.24%
(208)
May 19 New Jersey
(Primary)
18.94%
(W) (11,676)
81.04%
(49,956)
- - - - 0.02%
(14)
June 6 Florida
(Primary)
89.67%
(242,906)
- - - 10.33%
(27,982)
- -
Legend:   1st place
(popular vote)
2nd place
(popular vote)
3rd place
(popular vote)
Candidate has Withdrawn
or Ceased Campaigning
(W) - Votes are Write-In

See also

References

  1. ^ "Guide to U.S. Elections - Google Books". Books.google.com. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
This page was last edited on 14 June 2019, at 11:24
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