Friday, April 10, 2009

So Mr. President, What Did You Do During Your Term In Office? (7)

Topic: The Hoover Administration-Year 1932 #1

Franklin D. Roosevelt is Elected President of the U.S. Defeating Herbert Hoover.

Although there is great discontent in the country and in the Republican Party as well, President Herbert Hoover easily manages to win the nomination at the Chicago convention in mid-June. The Republicans blame the nation's troubles on events in Europe, promise that prosperity is "just around the corner," and considerably ease their former policy of supporting strict Prohibition. The Democrats have a more difficult time selecting their candidate when they meet in Chicago later in June, but on the fourth ballot they nominate Franklin D. Roosevelt, the reform-minded governor of New York. The Democratic platform calls for a variety of direct measures, including an expanded public works program, to combat the economic ills that the country is esxperiencing. In addition the Democrats call for the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the immediate legalization of beer. Roosevelt, in his acceptance speech, promises a "new deal" for all Americans.

The campaign is turbulent, with the Democrats accusing Republicans of inaction, while the Republicans warn that, if the Democrats win, "grass will grow in the streets of 100 cities." Radio is becoming an increasingly important factor in the campaign, as both candidates are heard by millions. Roosevelt's vibrant voice and warm personality, and his appeal to the "forgotten man," come over the air far better than Hoover's serious monotone.

On November 8 Roosevelt is elected President by a plurality somewhat larger that that by which Hoover defeated Alfred E. Smith in 1928, and with 57.4 percent of the popular vote. In addition the Democrats win decisive control over the Congress by capturing more than 70 percent of the House and more than 60 per cent of the Senate. As soon as he is elected. Roosevelt selects hsi advisors, many of them from academic circles, and therefore nicknamed the "brain trust." They include Cordell Hull, Secretary of State; Homer S. Cummings, Attorney General; Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior and the first woman Cabinet member, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.

January 3-6 1932
The Reverend James R. Cox leads a group of 18,000 unemployed men from Pittsburgh to Washington, where they meet with members of Congress and President Hoover. They do not pretend to represent the 13,000,000 in the country who are out of work.

January 22, 1932
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) comes into existence with a capital of $500,000,000 and authority to borrow an additional $1,500,000,000 by issuing tax-exempt bonds. Its purpose is to prop up the faltering monetary system by making loans to banks, insurance companies, farm mortgage association, building and loan associations, and other businesses. President Hoover selects Charles G. Dawes, a noted economist and Vice President under Coolidge, to run the agency.

To be continued: The Hoover Administration 1932 #2

Sources For Information: The American Presidents by David C. Whitney; Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (1996), The New York Public Library American History Desk Reference; A Stonesong Press Book (1997) The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Macmillan Company (1952); The Bicentennial Almanac Edited by Calvin D. Linton, Ph.D. Publishers, Thomas Nelson Inc. (1975) The Presidents of the United States Vol 2, A.S. Barnes & Co. (1973)


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