Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York

By Bernard Bellush | Go to book overview

VI
"TO PREVENT STARVATION
AND DISTRESS"

Franklin d. roosevelt became Governor with complete faith in the continued stability of the nation's economy. He agreed with most journals and public officials that the American people were enjoying the highest standard of living in the history of the world. Those who did not wander into the stifling slums of New York's urban centers and rural areas generally concluded that people were employed, well fed, well clothed, and well housed. Overlooked by too many were thousands of depressing hovels and developing unemployment. 1 New York's lower East Side, the birthplace of Al Smith, was scarred by thousands of old-law tenements with windowless bedrooms and either yard toilets or a single bathroom to a floor of apartments, a bathroom which usually lacked a bathtub or other facilities. 2 But the new Governor would not give much thought to the economics of the nation until after the stock market collapse and the default of Republican leadership.

Two days after Roosevelt's inauguration the chief economist of the Industrial Conference Board informed advertisers that the prosperity talk they were hearing was pure propaganda, and warned them of increasing inflation. He foresaw major problems ahead, citing a real depression in basic industries despite gains from investments. 3

A few weeks later the stock market began a significant decline. At the close of the trading day on February 7, stocks dropped

-126-

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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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