Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York

By Bernard Bellush | Go to book overview

XIII
IN RETROSPECT

Despite the contentions of many historians, and of the great mass of America's citizenry, the seeds of the New Deal were first planted by a graduate of Tammany Hall and the Fulton fish market, the four-time Governor, Alfred E. Smith. It blossomed forth, however, under the affirmative and confident guidance of a Harvard product, a pragmatist who had devoted his political career to becoming President of the United States.

By his pragmatic tendencies, his willingness to experiment in times of crisis, and his belief that a nation must be prepared for changes in order to preserve and extend its finest features, Roosevelt clearly indicated his role as a liberal on the American political scene.

Viewing, in retrospect, the Smith adminstrations which preceded Roosevelt in Albany, one can readily see the foundations for Roosevelt's four years as Governor. In housing, education, budgeting, welfare legislation, parks, and water power, Roosevelt carried on the work initiated by the Happy Warrior.

Faced with the task of preserving and extending the gains of the Smith administrations, Roosevelt responded to the challenges of recalcitrant, obstructionist Republican majorites in the legislature by appealing directly to the citizenry for their support. Roosevelt's fireside chats, for example, were familiar to New Yorkers long before March 4, 1933.

The critical depression which began during Roosevelt's first year as Governor saw him respond with an open-minded, pragmatic approach to the many developing problems. This trait was particularly evident in the field of economics. Although

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Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • A New Governor 3
  • Upstairs in Albany" 37
  • Rebellion Behind Bars 58
  • Parity for the Farmer 76
  • Secure Our Savings" 103
  • To Prevent Starvation and Distress" 126
  • A Battle on Two Fronts 150
  • In Quest of Security" 175
  • I Stand Fairly Well with Labor" 191
  • Power Belongs to the People" 208
  • A Reasonable Return" 243
  • Honest Graft" 269
  • In Retrospect 282
  • Notes 287
  • Index 329
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