Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York

By Bernard Bellush | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

When I began this work, I hoped to analyze a few major contributions of a public servant during four tumultuous years as Governor of the Empire State. It was my early impression that Frankin D. Roosevelt was not a great Governor, not to be placed in the same category with his predecessor, Alfred E. Smith. I originally believed, as many do today, that Governor Roosevelt did not exhibit any unusual executive or administrative abilities, or possess a social or economic program which would have suggested the bold leadership of his presidential administrations. As late as January, 1932, the renowned journalist Walter Lippmann characterized Roosevelt as lacking a firm grasp of public affairs and being without strong convictions. He is, said Lippmann, "an amiable man with many philanthropic impulses, but he is not the dangerous enemy of anything . . . for F.D.R. is no crusader. He is no tribune of the people. He is no enemy of entrenched privilege. He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President." 1

After much labor in Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal files at. Hyde Park, and in the official records of New York State, I have strengthened my original conclusion that Roosevelt did not make the same crusading impact on New York's social, economic, and political history that Al Smith made.

There are those historians who still contend that Roosevelt did not have a program when he became President of the United States, other than the reform program which he had inherited from Al Smith. As proof they cite some of Roosevelt's glittering generalities during the 1932 presidential race. Too often, American voters appear satisfied with candidates who

-xi-

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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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