United States presidential election, 1932

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The country faced a great economic depression by the time President Herbert Hoover was up for reelection. Although he won the Republican party nomination, he was unpopular in the overall opinions of the people because of the depression. The Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt as their candidate.

Roosevelt proposed a "New Deal" for Americans, a program with emphasis on states' rights, opposition to too powerful central government, opposition to big government which should be cut down to its proper size, opposition to high taxes, unbalanced budgets, and government debts. In preelection speeches, Roosevelt stressed the rights of the states so much so as to urge that public welfare relief, old­ age pensions and unemployment insurance should be administered by the states, and that the federal government would merely aid the states with relief funds and serve as collection agent for social insurance. Above all Roosevelt decried the shocking spending habits of the Republicans and the mounting public debt. He called Herbert Hoover "the greatest spender in history." He said of the Republican party : "It has piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission ... at the expense of the taxpayer." He told the people: "For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that government, federal, state and local,­ costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching."

Roosevelt claimed to be against Big Government saying, "We must merge, we must consolidate subdivisions of government and, like private citizens, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford." Roosevelt repeated over and over during the campaign: "I propose to you that government, big and little, be made solvent and that the example be set by the President of the United States and his cabinet." As governor of New York from 1928 to 1932 Roosevelt inherited from Gov. Al Smith a surplus of $15,000,000 and left it with a deficit of $90,000,000. Toward the end of the 1932 Presidential campaign he cried: "Stop the deficits! Stop the deficits!"

This was the New Deal as it was described to the people in the fall of 1932.

Another thing that smeared Hoover's campaign was when a group of Veterans made a public march. Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur to gently disperse them. However McArthur was far from gentle and several people were badly injured. Hoover bore the blame for it. The voters clearly decided in favor of Roosevelt on election day.


candidates popular vote electoral vote
Franklin Roosevelt 22, 809, 638 472
Herbert Hoover 15, 758, 901 59
Norman Thomas 881, 951 0
William Z. Foster 102, 785 0
William D. Upshaw 81, 869 0
Verne L. Reynolds 33, 276 0
William H. Harvey 53, 425 0

[1]

References

  1. A Pictoral History of the U.S. Presidents, by Clare Gibson, Gramercy Books, 2001, p. 124.
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