In the spring of 1932 it became apparent that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had been Governor of New York since 19281, might very well be the nominee of the Democratic Party for the Presidency in the election of that year. It was not yet certain; there were other contenders, some of them formidable; and there was still to be felt the strength of a stop-Roosevelt movement among all of them. But there was no doubt that he was the leading and logical candidate. The situation was one of growing tension because, as the depression, which had spread and deepened month by month since 1929, made itself felt politically, it became more and more likely that the Democrats might win. The Democratic nomination had not been so valuable in a long time or so worth contending for. Alfred E. Smith, who had run and lost in 1928, seemed to feel that the party owed him this better opportunity. And, egged on by a coterie of close associates, he not only offered himself as the candidate but actively organized the stop-Roosevelt movement.
For this reason, particularly, as well as for others, it was by no means a foregone conclusion to the dispassionate observer that the____________________