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Analysis of the Election of 1932

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Analysis of the Election of 1932
The Election of 1932 was a major turning point in the history and development of United States politics. Republican President, Herbert Hoover, led the nation with a hands-off approach. He believed in letting problems fix themselves. This method, while initially successful, led to his downfall when nothing was done about the regulation of the stock market, which in turn crashed, causing the Great Depression. This failure resulted in Hoover struggling to gain support during the election. His opponent, former friend and partner, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made promises of a “New Deal” that would fix the problems Hoover helped to create. A brutal competition broke out between the two candidates. The used information from their past together as weapons. In letting his personal life become part of the campaign, Roosevelt was successful at gaining the support of most of the nation, and as a result won the election. This was the first time a Democrat had been elected President since 1916. The Election of 1932 demonstrated a shift in beliefs of the role that the United States federal government should play.
In 1921, Herbert Hoover was appointed Secretary of Commerce by President Warren Harding. Commerce was considered a minor Cabinet post with limited responsibility. Unhappy with this, Hoover demanded authority to coordinate economic affairs throughout the government. He created many sub-departments that oversaw and regulated things such as manufacturing statistics, the census, radio, and even air travel. Sometimes Hoover would take control of responsibilities of other department that he felt weren’t carrying out their tasks responsibly. The complete revamp of the depth of Commerce caused Hoover to become a well known political figure of our nation, even overshadowing President Warren Harding. During his time as Secretary of Commerce, Hoover focused on projects for eliminating the amount waste from industrial facilities and increasing the efficiency of the business world. He heavily promoted international trade, opening overseas offices and helping out businesses. Hoover also led the “Own Your Own Home” campaign which worked with groups like the Home Modernizing Bureau, as well as many different bankers and the savings and loan industry to promote long-term home mortgages. In doing so, the number of homes being constructed skyrocketed. Another accomplishment of Hoover’s was earning the Secretary of Commerce the power to regulate radio broadcasts. This movement eventually led to the Radio Act of 1927, which allowed the government to abolish radio stations that were deemed “non-useful” to the public. This act shaped the radio into what it is today by allowing a Commission to administer radio licences and regulate broadcasts. After six successful years as Secretary of Commerce, Hoover decided it was time to run for President during the Election of 1928.
Herbert Hoover was selected as representative for the Republican Party, with Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas as his running mate. President Calvin Coolidge was resistant to let Hoover be his successor, but ultimately accepted it as he did not want to create a split in the Republican Party. Herbert Hoover campaigned for efficiency and prosperity. Hoover promised improvement in conditions for farmers, reform the immigration laws, and also maintain the nations isolationist foreign policy. This was a policy in which the nation abstained from political and economical relations with other countries. His opponent, Democratic Governor of New York, Alfred E. Smith, shared the same promises as Hoover, but drastically differed in one area. Smith was strongly against prohibition, while Hoover gave it some support, referring to it as an experiment, suggesting that it wasn’t permanent. Thanks to Hoover’s popularity among the population from his time as Secretary of Commerce, as well as the booming economy and a split in the Democratic party, he was guaranteed a landslide victory in the election. Hoover won over 58% of the popular vote and 83% of the Electoral vote, while Alfred E. Smith only obtaining 40% of the popular vote and a mere 16% of the Electoral vote. Hoover had proceeded in cracking the “Solid South”, a group of Southern states ruled by the Democratic party, by winning the votes from the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, and Virginia, breaking the Democratic strongholds.
Once in office, Hoover started establishing his policies at press conferences. He directed the Department of Interior to improve conditions for Native Americans living on government owned reservations, and won passage of the Border Canyon Project Act. Winning the passage of the Border Canyon Project mandated the construction of a massive dam.This dam is referred to today as the Hoover Dam. Hoover also appointed a commission to set aside nearly two million acres of government owned land in the national forest reserve, as well as appointing several committees to solve current social problems. Hoover’s stance on poverty was portrayed in this quote “given the chance to go forward with the policies of the last eight years, we shall soon with the help of god, be in sight of the day poverty will be abolished from this nation”. Within months of this statement being made, the stock market crashed,, starting the Great Depression. Hoover was a firm believer in the concept that too much government intervention would undermine long-term self-reliance and individuality, which he felt was very important in order for the nation to have a successful future. With the Great Depression worsening, Hoover’s ideals were put to the test. By 1932 16% of the nation’s workforce was unemployed. Hoover enforced many policies in order to stop the quickly unstabilizing nation from further despair. He authorized the Mexican Repatriation program, which was a mass forced migration of Mexicans into Mexico that took place between 1929 and 1939. By the end of it, around two million people were forced to return to Mexico, and it is believed that around half of them were US citizens. In 1930, while the world was entering a global Great Depression, Hoover reluctantly signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, an act that allowed the legislation to raise taxes on many imported items. The hope was that more American-made products would be purchased, raising revenue for the federal government and the protection of farmers from foreign competition.. Unfortunately, the depression had globally spread, and many nations raised taxes on imports from the US, resulting in the US having to contract imported goods, making the Depression even worse.
After four years of economic collapse and multiple attempts to fixing said collapse, it was time again for elections, this time, the Election of 1932. Herbert Hoover was reluctantly chosen by the Republican Party to run again for a second term. “Despite his seemingly disastrous first term, Hoover felt obligated to run again to vindicate himself and his policies. Republicans also felt his nomination was necessary, not because of their belief in his policies or the President in general, but because denying his re-nomination would be admitting failure”(FDR Election Support 1932 1). The Democrats chose an experienced politician from New York, who had served as a New York Senator and the Governor of New York. This man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. President Hoover and Governor Roosevelt actually had a history together dating back fifteen years “These are two men who had been friends since 1917, they had worked together in the Woodrow Wilson administration, they had considered running as a Hoover/Roosevelt ticket for the Democrats in 1920, except that Hoover decided that he was really a Republican and went for them and Roosevelt went for vice president that year on the Democratic ticket. Then they sort of drifted apart, and in 1928 Roosevelt became governor of New York, Hoover became president and then they became rivals in 1932.”(Election of 1932: Photographs of FDR 1). No longer friends, these opponents engaged in a long and strenuous campaigning process to see who would win the election. Hoover intended to only make one or two major speeches, and leave the rest to his campaigning party, but soon realized how big of a threat Roosevelt really was to him. Hoover agreed to tour the country giving speeches, but was met with an extremely hostile crowd. At several times angered citizens attempted to kill Hoover, being stopped by the Secret Service. Due to the problems and chaos created while Hoover was in office, it seemed that he had no way of being reelected “In the three years leading up to the presidential election of 1932, there was little to assist Herbert Hoover’s re-election to office. The country was in turmoil and desperate for a way out of economic and social trouble. The Great Depression had wrecked the economy, and the damage was compounded by the ill-conceived attempts of Hoover’s administration to help control the downward slide. By the time Americans went to the polls in their thirty-seventh presidential election, industrial production was at a low ebb, unemployment was widespread, and the farmers of the country were facing ruin. By 1932, millions of people across the country were condemning Hoover and the Republican Party.”(FDR Election Support, 1932 1). Meanwhile, Roosevelt was able to use Hoover’s errors to help in his campaign. He expressed his beliefs on how he felt Hoover personally caused the Great Depression by not taking action, and that with his “New Deal” the government could control of the situation and fix the economy, restoring the nation. The “New Deal” was a plan to enact a series of domestic programs in the United States directed at combating the Great Depression. Roosevelt and the “New Deal focused on the “3 R’s”: Relief, Recovery and Reform. Relief for the thousands of poor citizens, recovery of the economy to normal levels, and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat of the Depression. Roosevelt Campaigned vigorously, even though he was paralyzed from the waist down by polio twelve years earlier. It seemed like it would be a sweeping victory for Roosevelt over Hoover, and it was. The results of the Election of 1932 were Roosevelt winning with a landslide 57% of the votes, while Hoover was only able to manage 39%. Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced Herbert C. Hoover as President, becoming the 32 President of the United States, and the first Democratic one in sixteen years.
The Election of 1932 taught very important lessons to the government and its members. President Hoover’s hands free method may have worked well under normal circumstances, but unfortunately his term wasn’t served under normal circumstances. He didn’t adapt to the situation at hand soon enough, and as a result the nation fell into the Great Depression. Roosevelt, along with his plan to have the government take action instead of “letting problems solve themselves” was exactly what the nation wanted, and more importantly, needed. Hoover’s mistakes lost him the support of a nation that at one time, liked him so much they chose him to be their President. Roosevelt saw Hoover’s errors and learned from them, created a plan and making promises that made the nation feel hopeful for its future “The United States presidential election of 1932 took place as the effects of the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression were being felt intensely across the country. President Herbert Hoover's popularity was falling as voters felt he was unable to reverse the economic collapse, or deal with prohibition. Franklin D. Roosevelt used what he called Hoover's failure to deal with these problems as a platform for his own election, promising reform in his policy called the New Deal. Roosevelt won by a landslide, and this "critical election" marked the collapse of the Fourth Party System or Progressive Era. The voters soon were realigned into the Fifth Party System, dominated by Roosevelt's New Deal Coalition.”(United States Presidential Election 1). The Election of 1932 demonstrated a shift in the nations beliefs of what kind of a role its federal government should play.

The Election of 1932
"1932 Presidential Election." 1932 Presidential Election. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

This secondary source provides a map of the Republican and Democratic states during the election of 1932. It was published between 1999 and 2013. Coming from the University of California, Santa Barbara, this information is not biased. They are just gathering and compiling factual data from the Election of 1932 and releasing it to the public. Athearn, Robert G. The Roosevelt Era. Vol. 14. New York: Dell Pub., 1963. Print. The American Heritage.

Press, Petra. The 1930s. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 1999. Print.
This book is a secondary source. It is a collection of various factual information from the 1930s, including pictures, with part of it explaining the Election of 1932. It was published in 1999 by Petra Press, who has released many books on the history of the United States. It is a book of different facts, so it is not biased.

Leip, D. "1932 Presidential General Election Results." 1932 Presidential General Election Results.
N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
This secondary source provides a map of the Republican and Democratic states during the election of 1932, as well as the percentage of popular votes for the all of the candidates running for office. It was published in 2012. The website, is an organization dedicated to providing the public with information on all of the US elections with only factual information, so it is not biased. The author of the website is Dave Leip.

Leuchtenburg, W. E. "Miller Center." American President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
Campaigns and Elections. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov.2013.
This secondary source provides summary of the Election of 1932 as well as some time after it. It was published in 2013 by the University of Virginia. Throughout the article the author expresses personal opinions on FDR and Herbert C. Hoover, so this article is biased. The author is Professor William E. Leuchtenburg, who has written several books on FDR.

Ritchie, D. "Teaching History.org, Home of the National History Education Clearinghouse." The
Election of 1932: Photographs of FDR. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

This website includes both primary and secondary sources. It includes photos from the time of the election, as well as a recent article. It was published between 2010 and 2013. The author is Donald A. Ritchie, a historian of the US Senate who has written several books on FDR and various high school text books. The author re-accounts factual information, but includes personal opinions on certain matters, so this source has some biases.

Taylor, N. "Seattle Newspapers' Support for FDR during the 1932 Election." FDR Election
Support, 1932. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
This website includes both primary and secondary sources. It includes a newspaper article from the time of the election, as well as a recent article. It was published on 2009. The author is Nicholas Taylor, from the University of Washington. The author expresses personal opinions on the different political parties and newspaper companies, so this article is biased.

"United States Presidential Election, 1932." United States Presidential Election, 1932.
N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

This is a secondary source that provides a map of the Republican and Democratic states during the election of 1932, as well as detailed information on the candidates, statistics, and general information on the election. The publication date is unknown. The information originally came from Wikipedia, but was fact checked and compiled by Princeton University. That being said this information is not biased. "View Movie." FDR 1932 Campaign and Election : FDR Presidential Library : Free Download
& Streaming : Internet Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. This website, a primary source, includes a video clip from the 1933 film “The Fighting President”. It discusses the events that occurred in FDR’s life from 1920 up to him being elected President. The date of publication of the webpage is unknown. The website, Internet Archive, is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting books, music, and movies. The video only discussed factual info without expressing personal beliefs, so it is not biased.

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