Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician

By James A. Farley | Go to book overview

V. The 1936 Election

EXPLODING THE LIBERTY LEAGUE. A TRAGIC FIGURE. THE PHILADELPHIA CONVENTION. GOVERNOR LANDON'S WEAKNESS. TAKING THE RAP. ROOSEVELT ON THE STUMP. THE LANDSLIDE BEGINS. ALL BUT MAINE AND VERMONT.

A COMPETENT critic of public affairs, who thought he knew something about United States elections until the 1936 landslide left him breathless, was kind enough later to describe the drive for President Roosevelt's re-election as the "campaign without a mistake." It was a pleasing compliment and necessarily exaggerated as such generalities usually are, because there never was a campaign waged without a mistake and there never will be one.

Yet in looking back upon those stirring days, the campaign takes on a perfect aspect in one sense because the Democratic Party, which less than a decade before had been looked upon as a hopeless minority party, was able to capture forty-six out of forty-eight states in the presidential election and at the same time virtually destroy the grip of the Republican Party both in Congress and in the administration of state affairs.

The size of the plurality was unprecedented and, to a great many people, unbelievable as well. What makes it all the more remarkable was the fact that during his first term of office President Roosevelt had collided head-on in dispute after dispute with the most powerful economic groups in the country, and they had banded together to oppose his re-election. The bankers were against him solidly because they disliked his bank reform program; the financial interests and "Wall Street" were almost frenzied in their opposition; the manufacturing and commercial interests were strongly opposed to him; and last, and perhaps most powerful of all, the big metropolitan newspapers were almost a unit in the fight to bring about his overthrow.

In the light of past history in this country, it would seem as though the combined weight of this money power and propaganda would have been irresistible; on the contrary, it was ineffective

-289-

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Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • I. My Early Life 3
  • Ii. the Pre-Election Campaign of 1932 58
  • Iii. the Birth of the New Deal 155
  • Iv. the Post Office Department 253
  • V. the 1936 Election 289
  • Vi. F.D.R. 328
  • Vii. Looking Forward 356
  • Index 377
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