1932 Republican Convention - History

1932 Republican Convention - History

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1932 republican Convention

Chicago, IL

June 14 to 16, 1932

Nominated: Herbert Hoover of California for President

Nominated: Charles Curtis of Kansas for Vice President

While the Republicans who met in Chicago in June were not enthusiastic about renominated Hoover, there were no credible challengers and he was renominated without opposition. The Republican platform praised Hoover and pledged to maintain a balance budget.

Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention (1932)

Many primary documents relate to multiple themes in American history and government and are curated by different editors for particular collections. In the dropdown menu, we provide links to variant excerpts of the document, with study questions relevant to particular themes.

Related Resources


Franklin Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, was not the only candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1932 the 1928 nominee, Al Smith, was also a contender, as was House Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas. Roosevelt was the clear frontrunner, with more pledged delegates than the other two combined, but party rules mandated that the successful candidate win two-thirds of the delegates. As a result, the first three ballots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago yielded no winner. Finally the Roosevelt team reached an agreement with Garner – if he would instruct his delegates to vote for Roosevelt, Garner would be Roosevelt’s pick for vice president. The next ballot, predictably, went for the Governor of New York.

Breaking long-established precedent, Roosevelt chose to be present in Chicago when the nomination was offered to him. In his acceptance speech he insisted that it should be the role of the Democratic Party “to break foolish traditions.” He also, in the speech’s most memorable line, promised “a new deal for the American people.”

Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago,” July 2, 1932. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=75174.

I appreciate your willingness after these six arduous days to remain here, for I know well the sleepless hours which you and I have had. I regret that I am late, but I have no control over the winds of Heaven and could only be thankful for my Navy training.

The appearance before a National Convention of its nominee for President, to be formally notified of his selection, is unprecedented and unusual, but these are unprecedented and unusual times. I have started out on the tasks that lie ahead by breaking the absurd traditions that the candidate should remain in professed ignorance of what has happened for weeks until he is formally notified of that event many weeks later.

My friends, may this be the symbol of my intention to be honest and to avoid all hypocrisy or sham, to avoid all silly shutting of the eyes to the truth in this campaign. You have nominated me and I know it, and I am here to thank you for the honor.

Let it also be symbolic that in so doing I broke traditions. Let it be from now on the task of our Party to break foolish traditions. We will break foolish traditions and leave it to the Republican leadership, far more skilled in that art, to break promises.

Let us now and here highly resolve to resume the country’s interrupted march along the path of real progress, of real justice, of real equality for all of our citizens, great and small. Our indomitable leader in that interrupted march is no longer with us, but there still survives today his spirit. Many of his captains, thank God, are still with us, to give us wise counsel. Let us feel that in everything we do there still lives with us, if not the body, the great indomitable, unquenchable, progressive soul of our Commander-in-Chief, Woodrow Wilson.

I have many things on which I want to make my position clear at the earliest possible moment in this campaign. That admirable document, the platform which you have adopted, is clear. I accept it 100 percent.

And you can accept my pledge that I will leave no doubt or ambiguity on where I stand on any question of moment in this campaign.

As we enter this new battle, let us keep always present with us some of the ideals of the Party: The fact that the Democratic Party by tradition and by the continuing logic of history, past and present, is the bearer of liberalism and of progress and at the same time of safety to our institutions. And if this appeal fails, remember well, my friends, that a resentment against the failure of Republican leadership – and note well that in this campaign I shall not use the word “Republican Party,” but I shall use, day in and day out, the words, “Republican leadership” – the failure of Republican leaders to solve our troubles may degenerate into unreasoning radicalism.

The great social phenomenon of this depression, unlike others before it, is that it has produced but a few of the disorderly manifestations that too often attend upon such times.

Wild radicalism has made few converts, and the greatest tribute that I can pay to my countrymen is that in these days of crushing want there persists an orderly and hopeful spirit on the part of the millions of our people who have suffered so much. To fail to offer them a new chance is not only to betray their hopes but to misunderstand their patience.

To meet by reaction that danger of radicalism is to invite disaster. Reaction is no barrier to the radical. It is a challenge, a provocation. The way to meet that danger is to offer a workable program of reconstruction, and the party to offer it is the party with clean hands.

This, and this only, is a proper protection against blind reaction on the one hand and an improvised, hit-or-miss, irresponsible opportunism on the other.

There are two ways of viewing the Government’s duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776.

But it is not and never will be the theory of the Democratic Party. This is no time for fear, for reaction or for timidity. Here and now I invite those nominal Republicans who find that their conscience cannot be squared with the groping and the failure of their party leaders to join hands with us here and now, in equal measure, I warn those nominal Democrats who squint at the future with their faces turned toward the past, and who feel no responsibility to the demands of the new time, that they are out of step with their Party.

Yes, the people of this country want a genuine choice this year, not a choice between two names for the same reactionary doctrine. Ours must be a party of liberal thought, of planned action, of enlightened international outlook, and of the greatest good to the greatest number of our citizens.

Now it is inevitable – and the choice is that of the times – it is inevitable that the main issue of this campaign should revolve about the clear fact of our economic condition, a depression so deep that it is without precedent in modern history. It will not do merely to state, as do Republican leaders to explain their broken promises of continued inaction, that the depression is worldwide. That was not their explanation of the apparent prosperity of 1928. The people will not forget the claim made by them then that prosperity was only a domestic product manufactured by a Republican President and a Republican Congress. If they claim paternity for the one they cannot deny paternity for the other.

I cannot take up all the problems today. I want to touch on a few that are vital. Let us look a little at the recent history and the simple economics, the kind of economics that you and I and the average man and woman talk.

In the years before 1929 we know that this country had completed a vast cycle of building and inflation for ten years we expanded on the theory of repairing the wastes of the War, but actually expanding far beyond that, and also beyond our natural and normal growth. Now it is worth remembering, and the cold figures of finance prove it, that during that time there was little or no drop in the prices that the consumer had to pay, although those same figures proved that the cost of production fell very greatly corporate profit resulting from this period was enormous at the same time little of that profit was devoted to the reduction of prices. The consumer was forgotten. Very little of it went into increased wages the worker was forgotten, and by no means an adequate proportion was even paid out in dividends – the stockholder was forgotten.

And, incidentally, very little of it was taken by taxation to the beneficent Government of those years.

What was the result? Enormous corporate surpluses piled up – the most stupendous in history. Where, under the spell of delirious speculation, did those surpluses go? Let us talk economics that the figures prove and that we can understand. Why, they went chiefly in two directions: first, into new and unnecessary plants which now stand stark and idle and second, into the call-money 1 market of Wall Street, either directly by the corporations, or indirectly through the banks. Those are the facts. Why blink at them?

Then came the crash. You know the story. Surpluses invested in unnecessary plants became idle. Men lost their jobs purchasing power dried up banks became frightened and started calling loans. Those who had money were afraid to part with it. Credit contracted. Industry stopped. Commerce declined, and unemployment mounted.

Translate that into human terms. See how the events of the past three years have come home to specific groups of people: first, the group dependent on industry second, the group dependent on agriculture third, and made up in large part of members of the first two groups, the people who are called “small investors and depositors.” In fact, the strongest possible tie between the first two groups, agriculture and industry, is the fact that the savings and to a degree the security of both are tied together in that third group – the credit structure of the Nation.

Never in history have the interests of all the people been so united in a single economic problem. Picture to yourself, for instance, the great groups of property owned by millions of our citizens, represented by credits issued in the form of bonds and mortgages – Government bonds of all kinds, Federal, State, county, municipal bonds of industrial companies, of utility companies mortgages on real estate in farms and cities, and finally the vast investments of the Nation in the railroads. What is the measure of the security of each of those groups? We know well that in our complicated, interrelated credit structure if any one of these credit groups collapses they may all collapse. Danger to one is danger to all.

How, I ask, has the present Administration in Washington treated the interrelationship of these credit groups? The answer is clear: It has not recognized that interrelationship existed at all. Why, the Nation asks, has Washington failed to understand that all of these groups, each and every one, the top of the pyramid and the bottom of the pyramid, must be considered together, that each and every one of them is dependent on every other each and every one of them affecting the whole financial fabric?

Statesmanship and vision, my friends, require relief to all at the same time. . . .

At last our eyes are open. At last the American people are ready to acknowledge that Republican leadership was wrong and that the Democracy is right.

My program, of which I can only touch on these points, is based upon this simple moral principle: the welfare and the soundness of a Nation depend first upon what the great mass of the people wish and need and second, whether or not they are getting it.

What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it and with work, a reasonable measure of security – security for themselves and for their wives and children. Work and security – these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the spiritual values, the true goal toward which our efforts of reconstruction should lead. These are the values that this program is intended to gain these are the values we have failed to achieve by the leadership we now have.

Our Republican leaders tell us economic laws – sacred, inviolable, unchangeable – cause panics which no one could prevent. But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. Yes, when – not if – when we get the chance, the Federal Government will assume bold leadership in distress relief. For years Washington has alternated between putting its head in the sand and saying there is no large number of destitute people in our midst who need food and clothing, and then saying the States should take care of them, if there are. Instead of planning two and a half years ago to do what they are now trying to do, they kept putting it off from day to day, week to week, and month to month, until the conscience of America demanded action.

I say that while primary responsibility for relief rests with localities now, as ever, yet the Federal Government has always had and still has a continuing responsibility for the broader public welfare. It will soon fulfill that responsibility. . . .

One word more: Out of every crisis, every tribulation, every disaster, mankind rises with some share of greater knowledge, of higher decency, of purer purpose. Today we shall have come through a period of loose thinking, descending morals, an era of selfishness, among individual men and women and among Nations. Blame not Governments alone for this. Blame ourselves in equal share. Let us be frank in acknowledgment of the truth that many amongst us have made obeisance to Mammon, 2 that the profits of speculation, the easy road without toil, have lured us from the old barricades. To return to higher standards we must abandon the false prophets and seek new leaders of our own choosing.

Never before in modern history have the essential differences between the two major American parties stood out in such striking contrast as they do today. Republican leaders not only have failed in material things, they have failed in national vision, because in disaster they have held out no hope, they have pointed out no path for the people below to climb back to places of security and of safety in our American life.

Throughout the Nation, men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government of the last years, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth.

On the farms, in the large metropolitan areas, in the smaller cities and in the villages, millions of our citizens cherish the hope that their old standards of living and of thought have not gone forever. Those millions cannot and shall not hope in vain.

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. Let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new order of competence and of courage. This is more than a political campaign it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people.

Study Questions

A. What does Roosevelt regard as symbolic about his decision to travel to Chicago personally to accept his party’s nomination? How does he distinguish his own liberalism from both radicalism and reaction? What does Roosevelt see as the cause of the Depression? On what grounds does he criticize Hoover’s handling of the crisis?

1932 Republican Convention - History

Chicago&aposs first presidential nominating convention, the Republican National Convention of 1860, was held in the “ Wigwam, ” a temporary two-story wooden structure. Last-minute backroom deals, plus a successful scheme to pack the galleries with holders of counterfeit tickets, brought unexpected victory to Abraham Lincoln.

Democrats convened for the first time in Chicago in 1864, when they nominated General George B. McClellan and passed an antiwar platform. Republicans returned to Chicago in 1868 to unanimously nominate, at the Crosby Opera House, the victorious general Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1880, Republicans convened in the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building on Michigan Avenue to nominate former speaker of the House of Representatives James A. Garfield, on the thirty-sixth ballot. Four years later, Chicago hosted its first double convention in the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building. Republicans nominated James G. Blaine, of Maine, secretary of state for the assassinated Garfield, on the fourth ballot. Democrats nominated New York governor Grover Cleveland, who became president. In 1888, Republicans met in the still-unfinished Civic Auditorium to nominate Senator Benjamin Harrison, of Indiana, on the eighth ballot. He lost the popular vote in the general election but beat President Cleveland in the Electoral College. In 1892, Democrats met in a temporary “Wigwam” in Lake Park to nominate Cleveland for a third time. He regained the presidency.

Warren G. Harding in Chicago, 1920
The 1896 Democratic convention, held in Chicago&aposs first Coliseum on 63rd Street, was the most unpredictable of the nineteenth century, next to Lincoln&aposs. William Jennings Bryan, just 36 years old, captured the hearts of delegates with his spellbinding “Cross of Gold” speech and won the nomination on the fifth ballot. He lost a dramatic election to business-oriented William McKinley.

In 1904, the Republicans gathered in the second Coliseum on South Wabash, to unanimously nominate President Theodore Roosevelt, who had assumed office after McKinley&aposs assassination. In 1908, Republicans returned to the Coliseum to nominate Roosevelt&aposs handpicked successor, William Howard Taft. Roosevelt challenged Taft in 1912, winning almost all the primaries, but was rebuffed by Republican leaders. Fearing violence from Roosevelt supporters, hundreds of Chicago police were on hand, and barbed wire was strung beneath the bunting of the podium. Roosevelt refused to drop out, and two months later the Progressive Party nominated him in the same building. New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson won in November. In 1916, the Republicans returned to the Coliseum, again rejected Roosevelt, and nominated Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes on the third ballot.

Democratic National Convention, 1932
In 1920, the Republicans met again at the Coliseum. The convention was mired in a stalemate until a “senatorial cabal,” meeting in “smoke-filled” rooms 408–10 of the Blackstone Hotel, selected Senator Warren G. Harding. The delegates ratified him on the tenth ballot.

Chicago hosted another double convention in 1932. First, Republicans glumly gathered in the new Chicago Stadium during the depths of Great Depression to renominate President Herbert C. Hoover. Two weeks later, Democrats gathered in the same hall and selected Franklin D. Roosevelt over Al Smith on the fourth ballot. Roosevelt flew to Chicago to deliver the first-ever convention acceptance speech. In 1940 and 1944, Roosevelt was renominated for his third and fourth terms in the Stadium. Republicans challenged him in 1944 with New York governor Thomas E. Dewey, also nominated in the Stadium.

Protesters Gather in Grant Park, 1968
Republicans gathered in the Stockyards International Amphitheatre in July 1952 to nominate General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the first ballot. The first national television audience was treated to a fistfight between delegates for Eisenhower and those for Robert Taft. Democrats convened in the same hall to nominate Illinois governor Adlai E. Stevenson II and returned four years later to give Stevenson a rematch with President Eisenhower. Republicans made their final appearance in Chicago in 1960, nominating Vice President Richard M. Nixon. After Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley&aposs legendary role in swinging that year&aposs close national election to John F. Kennedy, Republicans have declined to return to the city of their first presidential triumph.

The Democratic convention of 1968 was held at the Amphitheatre in the midst of the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War. When the party endorsed a prowar platform, violence between thousands of antiwar protestors and Chicago police broke out on Michigan Avenue in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. The events reached a national television and international audience and caused turmoil on the convention floor. The conflicts inside and out of the convention were contributing factors to Hubert Humphrey&aposs narrow defeat in November to Richard M. Nixon.

Twenty-eight years passed before another presidential convention came to Chicago. Democrats renominated President William J. Clinton at the United Center in 1996. While nominating and seconding speeches were but a sentence long at Chicago&aposs first presidential nominating convention, they lasted all night 136 years later.

See also

The 1932 United States presidential election was the 37th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1932. The election took place against the backdrop of the Great Depression. Incumbent Republican President Herbert Hoover was defeated in a landslide by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Governor of New York and the vice presidential nominee of the 1920 presidential election. Roosevelt was the first Democrat in 80 years to win an outright majority in the popular and electoral votes, the last one being Franklin Pierce in 1852. Hoover was the last elected incumbent president to lose reelection until Jimmy Carter lost 48 years later. The election marked the effective end of the Fourth Party System, which had been dominated by Republicans.

The 1988 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 18 to 21, 1988, to select candidates for the 1988 presidential election. At the convention Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts was nominated for president and Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas for vice president. The chair of the convention was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright.

The 1988 Republican National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana from August 15 to August 18, 1988. It was the second time that a major party held its convention in one of the five states known as the Deep South, coming on the heels of the 1988 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of the impetus for holding the convention in the Superdome came from the Louisiana Republican National Committeewoman Virginia Martinez of New Orleans, who lobbied on behalf of her adopted home city as the convention site as a member of the RNC Executive Committee.

The 1976 Republican National Convention was a United States political convention of the Republican Party that met from August 16 to August 19, 1976, to select the party's nominee for President. Held in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, the convention nominated President Gerald Ford for a full term, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California Governor Ronald Reagan. The convention also nominated Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for vice president, instead of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who did not seek nomination for a full term. The keynote address was delivered by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker. Other notable speakers included Minnesota Representative Al Quie, retired Lieutenant Colonel and former Vietnam prisoner of war Raymond Schrump, former Texas Governor John Connally, Providence, Rhode Island mayor Vincent Cianci and Michigan Senator Robert P. Griffin. It is the last national convention by either of the two major parties to feature a seriously contested nomination between candidates.

The 1952 Republican National Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois from July 7 to 11, 1952, and nominated the popular general and war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower of New York, nicknamed "Ike," for president and the anti-communist crusading Senator from California, Richard M. Nixon, for vice president.

The 2000 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 31 to August 3, 2000. The 2000 delegates assembled at the convention nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush for president and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard B. "Dick" Cheney for vice president.

The 1964 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States took place in the Cow Palace, Daly City, California, from July 13 to July 16, 1964. Before 1964, there had been only one national Republican convention on the West Coast, the 1956 Republican National Convention, which also took place in the Cow Palace. Many believed that a convention at San Francisco indicated the rising power of the Republican party in the west.

The 1908 Republican National Convention was held in Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois on June 16 to June 19, 1908. It convened to nominate successors to President Theodore Roosevelt and Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks.

The 1928 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at Convention Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, from June 12 to June 15, 1928.

The 1968 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida, from August 5 to August 8, 1968, to select the party's nominee in the general election. It nominated former Vice President Richard M. Nixon for president and Maryland Governor Spiro T. Agnew for vice president. It was the fourth time Nixon had been nominated on the Republican ticket as either its vice presidential or presidential candidate (1960).

The 1980 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party nominated President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale for reelection. The convention was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City from August 11 to August 14, 1980.

The 1980 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, from July 14 to July 17, 1980. The Republican National Convention nominated former Governor Ronald W. Reagan of California for president and former Representative George H. W. Bush of Texas for vice president.

The 1956 Democratic National Convention nominated former Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois for president and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee for vice president. It was held in the International Amphitheatre on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois August 13–August 17, 1956. Unsuccessful candidates for the presidential nomination included Governor W. Averell Harriman of New York, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, and Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri.

The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois from July 21 to July 26, 1952, which was the same arena the Republicans had gathered in a few weeks earlier for their national convention from July 7 to July 11, 1952. Four major candidates sought the presidential nomination: U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Governor Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and Averell Harriman of New York.

The 1960 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in Chicago, Illinois, from July 25 to July 28, 1960, at the International Amphitheatre. It was the 14th and most recent time overall that Chicago hosted the Republican National Convention, more times than any other city.

The 1932 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois June 27 – July 2, 1932. The convention resulted in the nomination of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York for president and Speaker of the House John N. Garner from Texas for vice president. Beulah Rebecca Hooks Hannah Tingley was a member of the Democratic National Committee and Chair of the Democratic Party of Florida. She seconded the nomination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, becoming the second woman to address a Democratic National Convention.

The 1944 Democratic National Convention was held at the Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois from July 19 to July 21, 1944. The convention resulted in the nomination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented fourth term. Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri was nominated for vice president. Including Roosevelt's nomination for the vice-presidency in 1920, it was the fifth time Roosevelt had been nominated on a national ticket. The keynote address was given by Governor Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma, in which he "gave tribute to Roosevelt's war leadership and new deal policies."

The 1944 Republican National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, from June 26 to 28, 1944. It nominated Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York for president and Governor John Bricker of Ohio for vice president.

In 1884, the Democrats gathered in Chicago for their National Convention. The Democrats made Governor Grover Cleveland of New York their presidential nominee with the former Governor Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana as the vice presidential nominee.

Watch Historic Footage of Seven Consequential (and Cringeworthy) Convention Moments

It happens every four years: A parade of political theater so piquant, it dominates airwaves and conversations. It’s political convention season, and it kicks off today in Cleveland with the start of this year’s Republican National Convention.

Related Content

While there’s no telling what might happen on the floor of either party gathering, one thing is nearly certain: It will produce memorable and even historic moments, the likes of which have been captured by moving pictures for posterity since the advent of newsreel. Thanks to the newsreel archive British Pathé, which uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films onto its YouTube channel in 2014, many candid moments of conventions past can be easily viewed today.

It's hard not to feel a little vertigo watching these snippets from national conventions from decades ago, from the cheering crowds seen at the Democratic National Convention of�, to a baby being hoisted up at the third-party Progressive Party National Convention in 1948 to the homemade candidate paraphernalia displayed at brokered Republican National Convention of that same year. In celebration of what could be some of 2016’s strangest two weeks, here’s a tour through seven noteworthy—and cringeworthy—moments caught on camera during national conventions.

FDR Ushers in a “New Deal” (Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1932)

1932 was a bleak year in America—as the Great Depression raged, Americans experienced everything from food riots to collapsing banks and bloody strikes. Enter Franklin Delano Roosevelt, New York’s governor. Roosevelt clinched the Democratic nomination with a pledge to undo Herbert Hoover’s disastrous economic policies, breaking tradition in the process.

At the time, presidential candidates were expected to stay home during conventions, but FDR chartered a flight to Chicago and delivered the first-ever acceptance speech given in person. The speech included a term that would stick with FDR for decades: “new deal.” His unconventional move is thought to have built up his reputation as a mover and shaker—and to have assuaged public fears about the fitness of a disabled man (he had suffered from polio and was largely wheelchair-bound) to serve as president.

“Dixiecrats” Revolt (Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, 1948)

Civil rights were a hot topic at the 1948 convention, and controversy over Jim Crow and the rights of black Americans came to a head when Hubert Humphrey delivered a famous speech that exhorted the party to move away from states’ rights arguments and toward what he called “the bright sunshine of human rights.”

Incensed by the Democratic party’s adoption of a civil rights platform, 35 “Dixiecrat” delegates headed by South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond walked out of the convention and held their own anti-convention in Birmingham instead. The States’ Rights Democratic Party convention recommended Thurmond for president and ended up carrying four states and 38 electoral votes with their segregationist platform.

Dan Rather Gets Roughed Up on the Convention Floor (Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1968)

The pressure cooker that was 1968 came to a boil at both party conventions, but the Chicago Democratic convention proved the most violent when protests turned into a full-blown riot marked with bloody battles between protesters and militarized police.

Things got heated on the convention floor, too, when CBS News Correspondent Dan Rather was roughed up by security guards on camera while trying to report on the exit of a Georgia delegate. Rather then told anchor Walter Cronkite he was punched in the stomach, to which Cronkite replied, “I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here.”

A Triumphant Balloon Drop Is Anything But (Democratic National Convention, New York, 1980)

Theatrics are all part of the show at conventions, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Take 1980, when Jimmy Carter waited for balloons to drop in celebration of his nomination for President. (Spoiler alert: They didn’t.) History has a way of repeating itself: In 2004, a producer’s angry tirade was broadcast live when a similar balloon drop fail occurred.

Punk Rock Meets Supreme Court (Republican National Convention, Dallas, 1984)

There’s nothing more punk rock than protesting at a national convention, but many thought that Gregory “Joey” Johnson took things a bit too far when he burned an American flag during a protest outside of the Dallas convention center where Republicans were choosing their next nominee. Johnson, who described his act as “exposing the flag as a symbol of American imperialism,” was arrested and charged $2,000 for desecrating the flag.

The Revolutionary Communist Party Youth Brigade member took his fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 that burning the flag was within his rights. For his part, Johnson was unimpressed: In an interview with People after the verdict, he said that the decision “does not in any way indicate the government is backing off from forcing the flag on people….I’m not going to say truth and justice prevailed here.”

We Read His Lips (Republican National Convention, New Orleans, 1988)

Political conventions are known for their one-liners and soundbites, and nominee George Bush gave one of the most famous in 1988. During a speech in which he compared America’s diverse population to “a thousand points of light,” he uttered an even more famous phrase: “Read my lips: No new taxes.” The soundbite is credited with helping Bush clinch the election—but was turned against him over and over again throughout his presidency.

Rendezvous With a Chair (Republican National Convention, Tampa, 2012)

History of the convention balloon drop

The Republican National Convention came to a close this week with a cascade of balloons -- 125,000 of them -- raining down around the hall at Quicken Loans Arena. It's a tradition that dates back several decades, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.

Balloons fell at the 1932 Republican meeting, when Dwight Eisenhower received his second nomination in 1956 and at convention after convention since.

Treb Hining has orchestrated every balloon drop for the Republicans since 1988. He spoke with CBS News in 1996.

"Fireworks are great, confetti is wonderful and everything, but balloons - there's something about them that just raises that goose bump and gives you that spirit of mom and apple pie and America," Hining said.

While the drop may seem easy, a lot can go wrong. President Carter's second convention was marred by what one CBS News reporter later dubbed "the horror of 1980" -- a balloon drop malfunction that quickly became the talk of the convention.

"The biggest story in the hall at the moment, the one getting the most attention, is the fact that they cannot get the balloons down from the ceiling," said Dan Rather.

Republican convention 2016

And when they did fall, they poured on some unlucky delegates. A similar snafu occurred at the 2004 convention, when balloons merely trickled out after John Kerry's acceptance speech.

So while the candidates may change with each passing election, when it comes to conventions, it seems balloons are forever.

But perhaps because of their complicated history with balloons, Democrats aren't quite as consistent with it. They didn't follow the tradition in 1984, 1988 or during President Obama's two nominations -- the convention was outside in 2008 and moved inside at the last minute in 2012.

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Republican Party Platform of 1932

We, the representatives of the Republican Party, in convention assembled, renew our pledge to the principles and traditions of our party and dedicate it anew to the service of the nation.

We meet in a period of widespread distress and of an economic depression that has swept the world. The emergency is second only to that of a great war. The human suffering occasioned may well exceed that of a period of actual conflict.

The supremely important problem that challenges our citizens and government alike is to break the back of the depression, to restore the economic life of the nation and to bring encouragement and relief to the thousands of American families that are sorely afflicted.

The people themselves, by their own courage, their own patient and resolute effort in the readjustments of their own affairs, can and will work out the cure. It is our task as a party, by leadership and a wise determination of policy, to assist that recovery.

To that task we pledge all that our party possesses in capacity, leadership, resourcefulness and ability. Republicans, collectively and individually, in nation and State, hereby enlist in a war which will not end until the promise of American life is once more fulfilled.


For nearly three years the world has endured an economic depression of unparalleled extent and severity. The patience and courage of our people have been severely tested, but their faith in themselves, in their institutions and in their future remains unshaken. When victory comes, as it will, this generation will hand on to the next a great heritage unimpaired.

This will be due in large measure to the quality of the leadership that this country has had during this crisis. We have had in the White House a leader—wise, courageous, patient, understanding, resourceful, ever present at his post of duty, tireless in his efforts and unswervingly faithful to American principles and ideals.

At the outset of the depression, when no man could foresee its depth and extent, the President succeeded in averting much distress by securing agreement between industry and labor to maintain wages and by stimulating programs of private and governmental construction. Throughout the depression unemployment has been limited by the systematic use of part-time employment as a substitute for the general discharge of employees. Wage scales have not been reduced except under compelling necessity. As a result there have been fewer strikes and less social disturbance than during any similar period of hard times.

The suffering and want occasioned by the great drought of 1930 were mitigated by the prompt mobilization of the resources of the Red Cross and of the government. During the trying winters of 1930-31 and 1931-32 a nation-wide organization to relieve distress was brought into being under the leadership of the President. By the Spring of 1931 the possibility of a business upturn in the United States was clearly discernible when, suddenly, a train of events was set in motion in Central Europe which moved forward with extraordinary rapidity and violence, threatening the credit structure of the world and eventually dealing a serious blow to this country.

The President foresaw the danger. He sought to avert it by proposing a suspension of intergovernmental debt payments for one year, with the purpose of relieving the pressure at the point of greatest intensity. But the credit machinery of the nations of Central Europe could not withstand the strain, and the forces of disintegration continued to gain momentum until in September

Great Britain was forced to depart from the gold standard. This momentous event, followed by tremendous raid on the dollar, resulted in a series of bank suspensions in this country, and the hoarding of currency on a large scale.

Again the President acted. Under his leadership the National Credit Association came into being. It mobilized our banking resources, saved scores of banks from failure, helped restore confidence and proved of inestimable value in strengthening the credit structure.

By the time the Congress met the character of our problems was clearer than ever. In his message to Congress the President outlined a constructive and definite program which in the main has been carried out other portions may yet be carried out.

The Railroad Credit Corporation was created. The capital of the Federal Land Banks was increased. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation came into being and brought protection to millions of depositors, policy holders and others.

Legislation was enacted enlarging the discount facilities of the Federal Reserve System, and, without reducing the legal reserves of the Federal Reserve Banks, releasing a billion dollars of gold, a formidable protection against raids on the dollar and a greatly enlarged basis for an expansion of credit.

An earlier distribution to depositors in closed banks has been brought about through the action of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Above all, the national credit has been placed in an impregnable position by provision for adequate revenue and a program of drastic curtailment of expenditures. All of these measures were designed to lay a foundation for the resumption of business and increased employment.

But delay and the constant introduction and consideration of new and unsound measures has kept the country in a state of uncertainty and fear, and offset much of the good otherwise accomplished.

The President has recently supplemented his original program to provide for distress, to stimulate the revival of business and employment, and to improve the agricultural situation, he recommended extending the authority of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to enable it:

(a) To make loans to political subdivisions of public bodies or private corporations for the purpose of starting construction of income-producing or self-liquidating projects which will at once increase employment

(b) To make loans upon security of agricultural commodities so as to insure the carrying of normal stocks of those commodities, and thus stabilize their loan value and price levels:

(c) To make loans to the Federal Farm Board to enable extension of loans to farm co-operatives and loans for export of agricultural commodities to quarters unable to purchase them

(d) To loan up to $300,000,000 to such States as are unable to meet the calls made on them by their citizens for distress relief.

The President's program contemplates an attack on a broad front, with far-reaching objectives, but entailing no danger to the budget. The Democratic program, on the other hand, contemplates a heavy expenditure of public funds, a budget unbalanced on a large scale, with a doubtful attainment of at best a strictly limited objective.

We strongly endorse the President's program.

Unemployment and Relief

True to American traditions and principles of government, the administration has regarded the relief problem as one of State and local responsibility. The work of local agencies, public and private has been coordinated and enlarged on a nation-wide scale under the leadership of the President.

Sudden and unforeseen emergencies such as the drought have been met by the Red Cross and the Government. The United States Public Health Service has been of inestimable benefit to stricken areas.

There has been magnificent response and action to relieve distress by citizens, organizations and agencies, public and private throughout the country.

Public Economy

Constructive plans for financial stabilization cannot be completely organized until our national, State and municipal governments not only balance their budgets but curtail their current expenses as well to a level which can be steadily and economically maintained for some years to come.

We urge prompt and drastic reduction of public expenditure and resistance to every appropriation not demonstrably necessary to the performance of government, national or local.

The Republican Party established and will continue to uphold the gold standard and will oppose any measure which will undermine the government's credit or impair the integrity of our national currency. Relief by currency inflation is unsound in principle and dishonest in results. The dollar is impregnable in the marts of the world today and must remain so. An ailing body cannot be cured by quack remedies. This is no time to experiment upon the body politic or financial.

Banks and the Banking System

The efficient functioning of our economic machinery depends in no small measure on the aid rendered to trade and industry by our banking system. There is need of revising the banking laws so as to place our banking structure on a sounder basis generally for all concerned, and for the better protection of the depositing public there should be more stringent supervision and broader powers vested in the supervising authorities. We advocate such a revision.

One of the serious problems affecting our banking system has arisen from the practice of organizing separate corporations by the same interests as banks, but participating in operations which the banks themselves are not permitted legally to undertake. We favor requiring reports of and subjecting to thorough and periodic examination all such affiliates of member banks until adequate information has been acquired on the basis of which this problem may definitely be solved in a permanent manner.

International Conference

We favor the participation by the United States in an international conference to consider matters relating to monetary questions, including the position of silver, exchange problems, and commodity prices, and possible co-operative action concerning them.

Home Loan Discount Bank System

The present Republican administration has initiated legislation for the creation of a system of Federally supervised home loan discount banks, designed to serve the home owners of all parts of the country and to encourage home ownership by making possible long term credits for homes on more stable and more favorable terms.

There has arisen in the last few years a disturbing trend away from home ownership. We believe that everything should be done by Governmental agencies, national State and local, to reverse this tendency to aid home owners by encouraging better methods of home financing and to relieve the present inequitable tax burden on the home. In the field of national legislation we pledge that the measures creating a home loan discount system will be pressed in Congress until adopted.


Farm distress in America has its root in the enormous expansion of agricultural production during the war, the deflation of 1919, 1920 and the dislocation of markets after the war. There followed, under Republican Administrations, a long record of legislation in aid of the co-operative organization of farmers and in providing farm credit. The position of agriculture was gradually improved. In 1928 the Republican Party pledged further measures in aid of agriculture, principally tariff protection for agricultural products and the creation of a Federal Farm Board "clothed with the necessary power to promote the establishment of a farm marketing system of farmer-owned and controlled stabilization corporations."

Almost the first official act of President Hoover was the calling of a special session of Congress to redeem these party pledges. They have been redeemed.

The 1930 tariff act increased the rates on agricultural products by 30 per cent, upon industrial products only 12 per cent. That act equalized, so far as legislation can do so, the protection afforded the farmer with the protection afforded industry, and prevented a vast flood of cheap wool, grain, livestock, dairy and other products from entering the American market.

By the Agricultural Marketing Act, the Federal Farm Board was created and armed with broad powers and ample funds. The object of that act, as stated in its preamble, was:

"To promote the effective merchandising of agricultural commodities in interstate and foreign commerce so that * * * agriculture will be placed on the basis of economic equality with other industries * * * By encouraging the organization of producers into effective association for their own control * * * and by promoting the establishment of a farm marketing system of producer-owned and producer-controlled co-operative associations ."

The Federal Farm Board, created by the agricultural marketing act, has been compelled to conduct its operations during a period in which all commodity prices, industrial as well as agricultural, have fallen to disastrous levels. A period of decreasing demand and of national calamities such as drought and flood has intensified the problem of agriculture.

Nevertheless, after only a little more than two years' efforts, the Federal Farm Board has many achievements of merit to its credit. It has increased the membership of the co-operative farms marketing associations to coordinate efforts of the local associations. By cooperation with other Federal agencies, it has made available to farm marketing associations a large value of credit, which, in the emergency, would not have otherwise been available. Larger quantities of farm products have been handled co-operatively than ever before in the history of the co-operative movement. Grain crops have been sold by the farmer through his association directly upon the world market.

Due to the 1930 tariff act and the agricultural marketing act, it can truthfully be stated that the prices received by the American farmer for his wheat, corn, rye, barley, oats, flaxseed, cattle, butter and many other products, cruelly low though they are, are higher than the prices received by the farmers of any competing nation for the same products.

The Republican Party has also aided the American farmer by relief of the sufferers in the drought-stricken areas, through loans for rehabilitation and through road building to provide employment, by the development of the inland waterway system, by the perishable product act, by the strengthening of the extension system, and by the appropriation of $125,000,000 to recapitalize the Federal land banks and enable them to extend time to worthy borrowers.

The Republican Party pledges itself to the principle of assistance to co-operative marketing associations, owned and controlled by the farmers themselves, through the provisions of the agricultural marketing act, which will be promptly amended or modified as experience shows to be necessary to accomplish the objects set forth in the preamble of that act.

Tariff and the Marketing Act

The party pledges itself to make such revision of tariff schedules as economic changes require to maintain the parity of protection to agriculture with other industry.

The American farmer is entitled not only to tariff schedules on his products but to protection from substitutes therefor.

We will support any plan which will help to balance production against demand, and thereby raise agricultural prices, provided it is economically sound and administratively workable without burdensome bureaucracy.

The burden of taxation borne by the owners of farm land constitutes one of the major problems of agriculture.

President Hoover has aptly and truly said, "Taxes upon real property are easiest to enforce and are the least flexible of all taxes. The tendency under pressure of need is to continue these taxes unchanged in times of depression, despite the decrease in the owner's income. Decreasing price and decreasing income results in an increasing burden upon property owners * * * which is now becoming almost unbearable. The tax burden upon real estate is wholly out of proportion to that upon other forms of property and income. There is no farm relief more needed today than tax relief."

The time has come for a reconsideration of our tax systems, Federal State and local, with a view to developing a better coordination, reducing duplication and relieving unjust burdens. The Republican Party pledges itself to this end.

More than all else, we point to the fact that, in the administration of executive departments, and in every plan of the President for the coordination of national effort and for strengthening our financial structure, for expanding credit, for rebuilding the rural credit system and laying the foundations for better prices, the President has insisted upon the interest of the American farmer.

The fundamental problem of American agriculture is the control of production to such volume as will balance supply with demand. In the solution of this problem the co-operative organization of farmers to plan production, and the tariff, to hold the home market for American farmers, are vital elements. A third element equally as vital is the control of the acreage of land under cultivation, as an aid to the efforts of the farmer to balance production.

We favor a national policy of land utilization which looks to national needs, such as the administration has already begun to formulate. Such a policy must foster reorganization of taxing units in areas beset by tax delinquency and divert lands that are submarginal for crop production to other uses. The national welfare plainly can be served by the acquisition of submarginal lands for watershed protection, grazing, forestry, public parks and game preserves. We favor such acquisition.

The Tariff

The Republican Party has always been the staunch supporter of the American system of a protective tariff. It believes that the home market, built up under that policy, the greatest and richest market in the world, belongs first to American agriculture, industry and labor. No pretext can justify the surrender of that market to such competition as would destroy our farms, mines and factories, and lower the standard of living which we have established for our workers.

Because many foreign countries have recently abandoned the gold standard, as a result of which the costs of many commodities produced in such countries have, at least for the time being, fallen materially in terms of American currency, adequate tariff protection is today particularly essential to the welfare of the American people.

The Tariff Commission should promptly investigate individual commodities so affected by currency depreciation and report to the President any increase in duties found necessary to equalize domestic with foreign costs of production.

To fix the duties on some thousands of commodities, subject to highly complex conditions, is necessarily a difficult technical task. It is unavoidable that some of the rates established by legislation should, even at the time of their enactment, to be too low or too high. Moreover, a subsequent change in costs or other conditions may render obsolete a rate that was before appropriate. The Republican Party has, therefore, long supported the policy of a flexible tariff, giving power to the President, after investigation by an impartial commission and in accordance with prescribed principles, to modify the rates named by the Congress.

We commend the President's veto of the measure, sponsored by Democratic Congressmen, which would have transferred from the President to Congress the authority to put into effect the findings of the Tariff Commission. Approval of the measure would have returned tariff making to politics and destroyed the progress made during ten years of effort to lift it out of log-rolling methods. We pledge the Republican Party to a policy which will retain the gains made and enlarge the present scope of greater progress.

We favor the extension of the general Republican principle of tariff protection to our natural resource industries, including the products of our farms, forests, mines and oil wells, with compensatory duties on the manufactured and refined products thereof.


Our country is honored whenever it bestows relief on those who have faithfully served its flag. The Republican Party, appreciative of this solemn obligation and honor, has made its sentiments evident in Congress.

Increased hospital facilities have been provided, payments in compensation have more than doubled and in the matter of rehabilitations, pensions and insurance, generous provision has been made.

The administration of laws dealing with the relief of the veterans and their dependents has been a difficult task, but every effort has been made to carry service to the veterans and bring about not only a better and generous interpretation of the law but a sympathetic consideration of the many problems of the veteran.

We believe that every veteran incapacitated in any degree by reason of illness should be cared for and compensated, so far as compensation is possible, by a grateful nation, and that the dependents of those who lost their lives in war or whose death since the war in which service was rendered is traceable to service causes, should be provided for adequately. Legislation should be in accord with this principle.

Disability from causes subsequent and not attributable to war and the support of dependents of deceased veterans whose death is unconnected with war have been to some measure accepted obligations of the nation as a part of the debt due.

A careful study should be made of existing veterans' legislation with a view to elimination of inequalities and injustices and effecting all possible economies, but without departing from our purpose to provide on a sound basis full and adequate relief for our service disabled men, their widows and orphans.

Foreign Affairs

Our relations with foreign nations have been carried on by President Hoover with consistency and firmness, but with mutual understanding and peace with all nations. The world has been overwhelmed with economic strain which has provoked extreme nationalism in every quarter, has overturned many governments, stirred the springs of suspicion and distrust and tried the spirit of international cooperation, but we have held to our own course steadily and successfully.

The party will continue to maintain its attitude of protecting our national interests and policies wherever threatened but at the same time promoting common understanding of the varying needs and aspirations of other nations and going forward in harmony with other peoples without alliances or foreign partnerships.

The facilitation of world intercourse, the freeing of commerce from unnecessary impediments, the settlement of international difficulties by conciliation and the methods of law and the elimination of war as a resort of national policy have been and will be our party program.

Friendship and Commerce

We believe in and look forward to the steady enlargement of the principles of equality of treatment between nations great and small, the concessions of sovereignty and self-administration to every nation which is capable of carrying on stable government and conducting sound orderly relationships with other peoples, and the cultivation of trade and intercourse on the basis of uniformity of opportunity of all nations.

In pursuance of these principles, which have steadily gained favor in the world, the administration has asked no special favors in commerce, has protested discriminations whenever they arose, and has steadily cemented this procedure by reciprocal treaties guaranteeing equality for trade and residence.

The historic American plan known as the most-favored-nation principle has been our guiding program, and we believe that policy to be the only one consistent with a full development of international trade, the only one suitable for a country having as wide and diverse a commerce as America, and the one most appropriate for us in view of the great variety of our industrial, agricultural and mineral products and the traditions of our people.

Any other plan involves bargains and partnerships with foreign nations, and as a permanent policy is unsuited to America's position.

Conditions on the Pacific

Events in the Far East, involving the employment of arms on a large scale in a controversy between Japan and China, have caused worldwide concern in the past year and sorely tried the bulwarks erected to insure peace and pacific means for the settlement of international disputes.

The controversy has not only threatened the security of the nations bordering the Pacific but has challenged the maintenance of the policy of the open door in China and the administrative and political integrity of that people, programs which upon American initiation were adopted more than a generation ago and secured by international treaty.

The President and his Secretary of State have maintained throughout the controversy a just balance between Japan and China, taking always a firm position to avoid entanglements in the dispute, but consistently upholding the established international policies and the treaty rights and interests of the United States, and never condoning developments that endangered the obligation of treatises or the peace of the world.

Throughout the controversy our government has acted in harmony with the governments represented in the League of Nations, always making it clear that American policy would be determined at home, but always lending a hand in the common interest of peace and order.

In the application of the principles of the Kellogg pact the American Government has taken the lead, following the principle that a breach of the pact or a threat of infringement thereof was a matter of international concern wherever and however brought about.

As a further step the Secretary of State, upon the instruction of the President, adopted the principle later enlarged upon in his letter to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate that this government would not recognize any situation, treaty or agreement brought about between Japan and China by force and in defiance of the covenants of the Kellogg pact.

This principle, associated as it is with the name of President Hoover, was later adopted by the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva as a rule for the conduct of all those governments. The principle remains today as an important contribution to international law and a significant moral and material barrier to prevent a nation obtaining the fruits of aggressive warfare. It thus opens a new pathway to peace and order.

We favor enactment by Congress of a measure that will authorize our government to call or participate in an international conference in case of any threat of non-fulfillment of Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris (Kellogg-Briand pact).


The policy of the administration has proved to our neighbors of Latin-America that we have no imperialistic ambitions, but that we wish only to promote the welfare and common interest of the independent nations in the western hemisphere.

We have aided Nicaragua in the solution of its troubles and our country, in greatly reduced numbers, at the request of the Nicaraguan Government only to supervise the coming election. After that they will all be returned to the United States.

In Haiti, in accord with the recommendations of the Forbes commission, appointed by the President, the various services of supervision are being rapidly withdrawn, and only those will be retained which are mandatory under the treaties.

Throughout Latin America the policy of the government of the United States has been and will, under Republican leadership, continue to be one of frank and friendly understanding.

World Court

The acceptance by America of membership in the World Court has been approved by three successive Republican Presidents and we commend this attitude of supporting in this form the settlement of international disputes by the rule of law. America should join its influence and gain a voice in this institution, which would offer us a safer, more judicial and expeditious instrument for the constantly recurring questions between us and other nations than is now available by arbitration.

Reduction of Armament

Conscious that the limitation of armament will contribute to security against war, and that the financial burdens of military preparation have been shamefully increased throughout the world, the Administration under President Hoover has made steady efforts and marked progress in the direction of proportional reduction of arms by agreement with other nations.

Upon his initiative a treaty between the chief naval powers at London in 1930, following the path marked by the Washington Conference of 1922, established a limitation of all types of fighting ships on a proportionate basis as between the three great naval powers. For the first time, a general limitation of a most costly branch of armament was successfully accomplished.

In the Geneva disarmament conference, now in progress, America is an active participant and a representative delegation of our citizens is laboring for progress in a cause to which this country has been an earnest contributor. This policy will be pursued.

Meanwhile maintenance of our navy on the basis of parity with any nation is a fundamental policy to which the Republican Party is committed. While in the interest of necessary government retrenchment, humanity and relief of the taxpayer we shall continue to exert our full influence upon the nations of the world in the cause of reduction of arms, we do not propose to reduce our navy defenses below that of any other nation.

National Defense

Armaments are relative and, therefore, flexible and subject to changes as necessity demands. We believe that in time of war every material resource in the nation should bear its proportionate share of the burdens occasioned by the public need and that it is a duty of government to perfect plans in time of peace whereby this objective may be attained in war.

We support the essential principles of the National Defense Act as amended in 1920 and by the Air Corps Act of 1926, and believe that the army of the United States has, through successive reductions accomplished in the last twelve years, reached an irreducible minimum consistent with the self-reliance, self-respect and security of this country.

Wages and Work

We believe in the principle of high wages. We favor the principle of the shorter working week and shorter work day with its application to government as well as to private employment, as rapidly and as constructively as conditions will warrant.

We favor legislation designed to stimulate, encourage and assist in home building.


The restriction of immigration is a Republican policy. Our party formulated and enacted into law the quota system, which for the first time has made possible an adequate control of foreign immigration.

Rigid examination of applicants in foreign countries prevented the coming of criminals and other undesirable classes, while other provisions of the law have enabled the President to suspend immigration of foreign wage-earners who otherwise, directly or indirectly, would have increased unemployment among native-born and legally resident foreign-born wage-earners in this country. As a result, immigration is now less than at any time during the past one hundred years.

We favor the continuance and strict enforcement of our present laws upon this subject.

Department of Labor

We commend the constructive work of the United States Department of Labor.


Collective bargaining by responsible representatives of employers and employees of their own choice, without the interference of any one, is recognized and approved.

Legislation, such as laws, prohibiting alien contract labor, peonage labor and the shanghaiing of sailors the eight-hour law on government contracts and in government employment provision for railroad safety devices, of methods of conciliation, mediation and arbitration in industrial labor disputes, including the adjustment of railroad disputes the providing of compensation for injury to government employees (the forerunner of Federal workers' compensation acts), and other laws to aid and protect labor are of Republican origin, and have had and will continue to have the unswerving support of the party.


We commend the constructive work of the United States Employment Service in the Department of Labor. This service was enlarged and its activities extended through an appropriation made possible by the President with the cooperation of the Congress. It has done high service for the unemployed in the ranks of civil life and in the ranks of the former soldiers of the World War.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech, press and assemblages are fundamental principles upon which our form of government rests. These vital principles should be preserved and protected.

Public Utilities

Supervision, regulation and control of interstate public utilities in the interest of the public is an established policy of the Republican Party, to the credit of which stands the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission, with its authority to assure reasonable transportation rates, sound railway finance and adequate service.

As proof of the progress made by the Republican Party in government control of public utilities, we cite the reorganization under this administration of the Federal Power Commission, with authority to administer the Federal water power act. We urge legislation to authorize this commission to regulate the charges for electric current when transmitted across State lines.


The promotion of agriculture, commerce and industry requires coordination of transportation by rail, highway, air and water. All should be subjected to appropriate and constructive regulation.

The public will, of course, select the form of transportation best fitted to its particular service, but the terms of competition fixed by public authority should operate without discrimination, so that all common carriers by rail, highway, air and water shall operate under conditions of equality.

Inland Waterways

The Republican Party recognizes that low cost transportation for bulk commodities will enable industry to develop in the midst of agriculture in the Mississippi Valley, thereby creating a home market for farm products in that section. With a view to aiding agriculture in the middle west the present administration has pushed forward as rapidly as possible the improvement of the Mississippi waterway system, and we favor the continued vigorous prosecution of these works to the end that agriculture and industry in that great area may enjoy the benefits of these improvements at the earliest possible date.

The railroads constitute the backbone of our transportation system and perform an essential service for the country. The railroad industry is our largest employer of labor and the greatest consumer of goods. The restoration of their credit and the maintenance of their ability to render adequate service are of paramount importance to the public, to their many thousands of employees and to savings banks, insurance companies and other similar institutions, to which the savings of the people have been entrusted.

We should continue to encourage the further development of the merchant marine under American registry and ownership.

Under the present administration the American merchant fleet has been enlarged and strengthened until it now occupies second place among the merchant marines of the world.

By the gradual retirement of the government from the field of ship operations and marked economics in costs, the United States Shipping Board will require no appropriation for the fiscal year 1933 for ship operations.

St. Lawrence Seaway

The Republican Party stands committed to the development of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence seaway. Under the direction of President Hoover negotiation of a treaty with Canada for this development is now at a favorable point. Recognizing the inestimable benefits which will accrue to the nation from placing the ports of the Great Lakes on an ocean base, the party reaffirms allegiance to this great project and pledges its best efforts to secure its early completion.


The Federal policy to cooperate with the States in the building of roads was thoroughly established when the Federal highway act of 1921 was adopted under a Republican Congress. Each year since that time appropriations have been made which have greatly increased the economic value of highway transportation and helped to raise the standards and opportunities of rural life.

We pledge our support to the continuation of this policy in accordance with our needs and resources.


We favor the enactment of rigid penal laws that will aid the States in stamping out the activities of gangsters, racketeers and kidnappers. We commend the intensive and effective drive made upon these public enemies by President Hoover and pledge our party to further efforts to the same purpose.


The Republican Party pledges itself to continue the present relentless warfare against the illicit narcotic traffic and the spread of the curse of drug addiction among our people. This administration has by treaty greatly strengthened our power to deal with this traffic.

Civil Service

The merit system has been amply justified since the organization of the Civil Service by the Republican Party. As a part of our governmental system it is now unassailable. We believe it should remain so.

The Eighteenth Amendment

The Republican Party has always stood and stands today for obedience to and enforcement of the law as the very foundation of orderly government and civilization. There can be no national security otherwise. The duty of the President of the United States and the officers of the law is dear. The law must be enforced as they find it enacted by the people. To these courses of action we pledge our nominees.

The Republican Party is and always has been the party of the Constitution. Nullification by non-observance by individuals or State action threatens the stability of government.

While the Constitution makers sought a high degree of permanence, they foresaw the need of changes and provided for them. Article V limits the proposals of amendments to two methods: (1) Two-thirds of both houses of Congress may propose amendments or (2) on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the States a national convention shall be called by Congress to propose amendments. Thereafter ratification must be had in one of two ways: (1) By the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or (2) by conventions held in three-fourths of the several States. Congress is given power to determine the mode of ratification.

Referendums without constitutional sanction cannot furnish a decisive answer. Those who propose them innocently are deluded by false hopes those who propose them knowingly are deceiving the people.

A nation wide controversy over the Eighteenth Amendment now distracts attention from the constructive solution of many pressing national problems. The principle of national prohibition as embodied in the amendment was supported and opposed by members of both great political parties. It was submitted to the States by members of Congress of different political faith and ratified by State Legislatures of different political majorities. It was not then and is not now a partisan political question.

Members of the Republican Party hold different opinions with respect to it and no public official or member of the party should be pledged or forced to choose between his party affiliations and his honest convictions upon this question.

We do not favor a submission limited to the issue of retention or repeal, for the American nation never in its history has gone backward, and in this case the progress which has been thus far made must be preserved, while the evils must be eliminated.

We therefore believe that the people should have an opportunity to pass upon a proposed amendment the provision of which, while retaining in the Federal Government power to preserve the gains already made in dealing with the evils inherent in the liquor traffic, shall allow the States to deal with the problem as their citizens may determine, but subject always to the power of the Federal Government to protect those States where prohibition may exist and safeguard our citizens everywhere from the return of the saloon and attendant abuses.

Such an amendment should be promptly submitted to the States by Congress, to be acted upon by State conventions called for that sole purpose in accordance with the provisions of Article V of the Constitution and adequately safeguarded so as to be truly representative.


The wise use of all natural resources freed from monopolistic control is a Republican policy, initiated by Theodore Roosevelt. The Roosevelt, Coolidge and Hoover reclamation projects bear witness to the continuation of that policy. Forestry and all other conservation activities have been supported and enlarged.

The conservation of oil is a major problem to the industry and the nation. The administration has sought to bring coordination of effort through the States, the producers and the Federal Government. Progress has been made and the effort will continue.

The Negro

For seventy years the Republican Party has been the friend of the American Negro. Vindication of the rights of the Negro citizen to enjoy the full benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is traditional in the Republican Party, and our party stands pledged to maintain equal opportunity and rights for Negro citizens. We do not propose to depart from that tradition nor to alter the spirit or letter of that pledge.


We believe that the existing status of self-government which for many years has been enjoyed by the citizens of the Territory of Hawaii should be maintained, and that officials appointed to administer the government should be bona-fide residents of the Territory.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico being a part of the United States and its inhabitants American citizens, we believe that they are entitled to a good-faith recognition of the spirit and purposes of their organic act.

We, therefore, favor the inclusion of the island in all legislative and administrative measures enacted or adopted by Congress or otherwise for the economic benefit of their fellow-citizens of the mainland.

We also believe that, in so far as possible, all officials appointed to administer the affairs of the island government should be qualified by at least five years of bona-fide residence therein.


We favor the policy of giving to the people of Alaska the widest possible territorial self-government and the selection so far as possible of bona-fide residents for positions in that Territory and the placing of its citizens on an equality with those in the several States.

Welfare Work and Children

The children of our nation, our future citizens, have had the most solicitous thought of our President. Child welfare and protection has been a major effort of this administration. The organization of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection is regarded as one of the outstanding accomplishments of this administration.

Welfare work in all its phases has had the support of the President and aid of the administration. The work of organized agencies—local, State and Federal has been advanced and an increased impetus given by that recognition and help. We approve and pledge a continuation of that policy.


We favor the fullest protection of the property rights of the American Indians and the provision for them of adequate educational facilities.

Reorganization of Government Bureaus

Efficiency and economy demand reorganization of government bureaus. The problem is nonpartisan and must be so treated if it is to be solved. As a result of years of study and personal contact with conflicting activities and wasteful duplication of effort, the President is particularly fitted to direct measures to correct the situation. We favor legislation by Congress which will give him the required authority.

Democratic Failure

The vagaries of the present Democratic House of Representatives offer characteristic and appalling proof of the existing incapacity of that party for leadership in a national crisis. Individualism running amuck has displaced party discipline and has trampled under foot party leadership. A bewildered electorate has viewed the spectacle with profound dismay and deep misgivings.

Goaded to desperation by their confessed failure, the party leaders have resorted to "pork barrel" legislation to obtain a unity of action which could not otherwise be achieved. A Republican President stands resolutely between the helpless citizen and the disaster threatened by such measures and the people, regardless of party, will demand his continued service.

Many times during his useful life has Herbert Hoover responded to such a call, and his response has never disappointed. He will not disappoint us now.

Party Government

The delays and differences which recently hampered efforts to obtain legislation imperatively demanded by prevailing critical conditions strikingly illustrate the menace to self-government brought about by the weakening of party ties and party fealty.

Experience has demonstrated that coherent political parties are indispensable agencies for the prompt and effective operation of the functions of our government under the Constitution.

Only by united party action can consistent, well-planned and wholesome legislative programs be enacted. We believe that the majority of the Congressmen elected in the name of a party have the right and duty to determine the general policies of that party requiring Congressional action, and that Congressmen belonging to that party are, in general, bound to adhere to such policies. Any other course inevitably makes of Congress a body of detached delegates which, instead of representing the collective wisdom of our people, become the confused voices of a heterogeneous group of unrelated local prejudices.

We believe that the time has come when Senators and Representatives of the United States should be impressed with the inflexible truth that their first concern should be the welfare of the United States and the well-being of all of its people, and that stubborn pride of individual opinion is not a virtue, but an obstacle to the orderly and successful achievement of the objects of representative government.

Only by cooperation can self-government succeed. Without it election under a party aegis becomes a false pretense.

We earnestly request that Republicans throughout the Union demand that their representatives in the Congress pledge themselves to these principles, to the end that the insidious influences of party disintegration may not undermine the very foundations of the Republic.


In contrast with the Republican policies and record, we contrast those of the democratic as evidenced by the action of the House of Representatives under Democratic leadership and control, which includes:

1. The issuance of fiat currency.

2. Instructions to the Federal Reserve Board and the Secretary of the Treasury to attempt to manipulate commodity prices.

3. The guarantee of bank deposits.

4. The squandering of the public resources and the unbalancing of the budget through pork-barrel appropriations which bear little relation to distress and would tend through delayed business revival to decrease rather than increase employment.

Generally on economic matters we pledge the Republican Party:

1. To maintain unimpaired the national credit.

2. To defend and preserve a sound currency and an honest dollar.

3. To stand steadfastly by the principle of a balanced budget.

4. To devote ourselves fearlessly and unremittingly to the task of eliminating abuses and extravagance and of drastically cutting the cost of government so as to reduce the heavy burden of taxation.

5. To use all available means consistent with sound financial and economic principles to promote an expansion of credit to stimulate business and relieve unemployment.

6. To make a thorough study of the conditions which permitted the credit and the credit machinery of the country to be made available, with out adequate check, for wholesale speculation in securities, resulting in ruinous consequences to millions of our citizens and to the national economy, and to correct those conditions so that they shall not recur.

Recognizing that real relief to unemployment must come through a revival of industrial activity and agriculture, to the promotion of which our every effort must be directed, our party in State and nation undertakes to do all in its power that is humanly possible to see that distress is fully relieved in accordance with American principles and traditions.

No successful solution of the problems before the country today can be expected from a Congress and a President separated by partisan lines or opposed in purposes and principles. Responsibility cannot be placed unless a clear mandate is given by returning to Washington a Congress and a Chief Executive united in principles and program.

The return to power of the Republican Party with that mandate is the duty of every voter who believes in the doctrines of the party and its program as herein stated. Nothing else, we believe, will insure the orderly recovery of the country and that return to prosperous days which every American so ardently desires.

The Republican Party faces the future unafraid! With courage and confidence in ultimate success, we will strive against the forces that strike at our social and economic ideals, our political institutions.

APP Note: The American Presidency Project used the first day of the national nominating convention as the "date" of this platform since the original document is undated.

Why Did Black Voters Flee The Republican Party In The 1960s?

Barry Goldwater greets an Indianapolis crowd during a campaign tour in Oct. 1964.

If you'd walked into a gathering of older black folks 100 years ago, you'd have found that most of them would have been Republican.

Yep. Republican. Party of Lincoln. Party of the Emancipation. Party that pushed not only black votes but black politicians during that post-bellum period known as Reconstruction.

Today, it's almost the exact opposite. That migration of black voters away from the GOP reached its last phase 50 years ago this week.

Walking through the Farmer's Market at 18th Street and La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, a mixture of Angelenos strolled the asphalt parking lot, surveying rows of leafy produce and ripe stone fruit. Virtually all the people I approached who were registered voters were registered to one party.

"I'm affiliated with the Democratic party, of course!" laughs Arthur Little, a thin man in shorts and electric turquoise-framed sun glasses.

"Because I think of it as the party that is at least officially interested in putting people's rights before corporate rights," Little shakes his head. "I don't even know why a black person even would be a Republican," he muses, as he walks off with his teenaged son.

Darlene Lee-Bolgen, eyeballing fresh fingerlings and young onions, said she was worried about income inequality, and she didn't believe that was a Republican concern. "It doesn't seem like they're for the regular people, for civil rights. they're not doing anything to help the people. They're all for themselves."

Black voters began supporting the Democratic party in greater numbers almost a century ago. But the events of 1964 marked a dramatic shift in voting patterns that's still with us today.

A More Even Distribution

Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist who studies voter patterns at the University of Michigan, says the first major shift in black party affiliation away from the Republican Party happened during the Depression. Franklin Roosevelt's second administration — led by the New Deal — made the Democrats a beacon for black Americans deeply affected by the crushing poverty that was plaguing the country.

But many black voters stuck with the party of Lincoln.

"The data suggests that even as late as 1960, only about two-thirds of African-Americans were identified with the Democratic Party," he says. "Now, two-thirds is a pretty big number. But when you compare it to today, that number hovers at about 90 percent."

Ninety percent. So what happened?

Well, according to Hutchings and to Tufts University historian Peniel Joseph, Barry Goldwater happened.

"Barry Goldwater, for Republicans, becomes a metaphor for the Republican response for this revolution that's happening in the United States," Joseph says.

The "revolution" was Freedom Summer, the period 50 years ago when hundreds of college students, most of them white, had journeyed to Mississippi to help black Mississippians become registered voters. The state's response to that integrated movement had been swift — and violent. Less than a month before the GOP met for its national convention in San Francisco, organizers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney (who was African-American and Mississippi-born) and Michael Schwerner had been kidnapped on a dark back road in Neshoba County. The only hint that they'd existed was Schwerner's charred Ford station wagon.

The media attention that followed the men's disappearance roiled the entire South. (Their bodies would be found in early August, buried in the shallow earthen works of a dam.)

Then, two weeks after the men's disappearance and mere days before the GOP convention opened, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, making discrimination in public venues illegal.

Peniel Joseph says the events outside the GOP's convention hall affected what went on under its roof. Supporters of the presumed front-runner, liberal New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, were blindsided by the party's well-organized conservative wing, which nominated Arizona's Sen. Barry Goldwater. His nickname was "Mr. Conservative."

Goldwater can be seen as the godfather (or maybe the midwife) of the current Tea Party. He wanted the federal government out of the states' business. He believed the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional — although he said that once it had been enacted into law, it would be obeyed. But states, he said, should implement the law in their own time. Many white southerners, especially segregationists, felt reassured by Goldwater's words. Black Americans, says Vince Hutchings, felt anything but:

"African-Americans heard the message that was intended to be heard. Which was that Goldwater and the Goldwater wing of the Republican party were opposed not only to the Civil Rights Act, but to the civil rights movement, in large part, as well."

An Abrupt Exit From The GOP

When Goldwater, in his acceptance speech, famously told the ecstatic convention "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," he was speaking of "a very specific notion of liberty," says Peniel Joseph: "Small government, a government that doesn't give out handouts to black people. A government that doesn't have laws that interfere with states' rights. A government that is not conducting a war on poverty."

It was a signal both sides heard loud and clear. Goldwater attracted the white Southern votes his advisers thought were essential, paving the way for the "Southern Strategy" that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan would use successfully in later years. And the third of black Republican voters remaining speedily exited the party.

"It was an abrupt shift," says Hutchings. "For [the] relatively few — but still not trivial — fraction of blacks, they moved aggressively, and almost unanimously, into the Democratic Party."

And black voters have stayed there, in increasing numbers, ever since. Not that all of them want to be.

Back at the farmer's market, Jasmine Patton-Grant, in a flower-patterned sundress, sells lavender soap and lotions to passers-by. She says she grew up in a family of Democrats, going into the voting booth with her father when she was a toddler and voting in elections — national and local — since she was legally able to vote. She considers voting a privilege and her civic obligation. And she says she's sick of the choices she sees before her.

"I'm a Democrat only because I've inherited that from my family," she explains. "It's not as if I'd ever be a Republican, but I'm completely dissatisfied with both parties."

Which suggests if an alternative comes along that Patton-Gant and others find attractive, the black voter party affiliation percentages might change yet again.

Herbert Hoover: Campaigns and Elections

When the Republican convention in Kansas City began in the summer of 1928, the fifty-three-year-old Herbert Hoover was on the verge of winning his party's nomination for President. He had won primaries in California, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Maryland. Among important Republican constituencies, he had the support of women, progressives, internationalists, the new business elite, and corporate interests. Party regulars grudgingly supported Hoover, but they neither liked nor trusted him. Hoover's nomination was assured when he received the endorsement of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, who controlled Pennsylvania's delegates.

The convention nominated Hoover on the first ballot, teaming him with Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas. The Republican platform promised continued prosperity with lower taxes, a protective tariff, opposition to farm subsidies, the creation of a new farm agency to assist cooperative marketing associations, and the vigorous enforcement of Prohibition. The party also proclaimed its commitment to delivering a "technocrat" known for his humanitarianism and efficiency to the White House. In his acceptance speech, Hoover promised "a final triumph over poverty"—words that would soon come to haunt him.

The four-term New York governor, Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic opponent of Prohibition (the common term for the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that banned the manufacture, sale, or transport of liquor), won the Democratic nomination on the first ballot. His "Protestant Prohibitionist" running mate, Senator Joseph G. Robinson of Arkansas, balanced Smith's "Wet (anti-prohibitionist) Catholic" stance. Democrats hoped that Smith could unify the party and defeat Hoover, something that few political pundits at the time considered even remotely possible. The Smith-Robinson ticket actually mirrored the divide in the party between southern, Protestant backers of Prohibition and northern, urban, often Catholic opponents of Prohibition. The Democratic platform downplayed the tariff issue and emphasized the party's support for public works projects, a federal farm program, and federal aid to education. It also promised to enforce the nation's laws, a nod to supporters of Prohibition who worried that Smith might try to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment.

Hoover ran a risk-free campaign, making only seven well-crafted radio speeches to the nation he never even mentioned Al Smith by name. The Republicans portrayed Hoover as an efficient engineer in an era of technology, as a successful self-made man, as a skilled administrator in a new corporate world of international markets, and as a careful businessman with a vision for economic growth that would, in the words of one GOP campaign circular, put "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." Republicans also reminded Americans of Hoover's humanitarian work during World War I and in the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Hoover the administrator, the humanitarian, and the engineer were all on display in the 1928 campaign film ï"Master of Emergencies," which often left its audiences awestruck and in tears. But perhaps Hoover's greatest advantage in 1928 was his association with the preceding two Republican administrations and their legacy of economic success.

Religion and Prohibition quickly emerged as the most volatile and energizing issues in the campaign. No Catholic had ever been elected President, a by-product of the long history of American anti-Catholic sentiment. Vicious rumors and openly hateful anti-Catholic rhetoric hit Smith hard and often in the months leading up to election day. Numerous Protestant preachers in rural areas delivered Sunday sermons warning their flocks that a vote for Smith was a vote for the Devil. Anti-Smith literature, distributed by the resurgent Ku Klux Klan (KKK), claimed that President Smith would take orders from the Pope, declare all Protestant children illegitimate, annul Protestant marriages, and establish Catholicism as the nation's official religion. When Smith addressed a massive rally in Oklahoma City on the subject of religious intolerance, fiery KKK crosses burned around the stadium and a hostile crowd jeered him as he spoke. The next evening, thousands filled the same stadium to hear an anti-Smith speech entitled, "Al Smith and the Forces of Hell."A consistent critic of Prohibition as governor of New York, Smith took a stance on the Eighteenth Amendment that was politically dangerous both nationally and within the party. While the Democratic platform downplayed the issue, Smith brought it to the fore by telling Democrats at the convention that he wanted "fundamental changes" in Prohibition legislation shortly thereafter, Smith called openly for Prohibition's repeal, angering Southern Democrats. At the same time, the Anti-Saloon League, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and other supporters of the temperance movement exploited Smith's anti-Prohibition politics, dubbing him "Al-coholic" Smith, spreading rumors about his own addiction to drink, and linking him with moral decline. A popular radio preacher put Smith in the same camp as "card playing, cocktail drinking, poodle dogs, divorces, novels, stuffy rooms, dancing, evolution, Clarence Darrow, nude art, prize-fighting, actors, greyhound racing, and modernism."The Republicans swept the election in November. Hoover carried forty states, including Smith's New York, all the border states, and five traditionally Democratic states in the South. The popular vote gave a whopping 21,391,993 votes (58.2 percent) to Hoover compared to 15,016,169 votes (40.9 percent) to Smith. The electoral college tally was even more lopsided, 444 to 87. With 13 million more people voting in 1928 (57 percent of the electorate) than had turned out in 1924 (49 percent of the electorate), Smith won twice the number of voters who had supported the 1924 losing Democratic candidate, John W. Davis. Hoover, though, also made significant gains, tallying nearly 6 million more Republican votes than Coolidge had four years earlier. Smith's Catholicism and opposition to Prohibition hurt him, but the more decisive factor was that Hoover ran as the candidate of prosperity and economic growth.

The Campaign and Election of 1932

Much had changed politically for Hoover and the Republican Party by the time convention delegates assembled in Chicago in the summer of 1932. The Great Depression that struck during the "Great Engineer's" presidency, and his inability to do much about it, had changed the national mood and its political temper. The word "Hooverize," which in 1917 carried positive images in the public mind, had undergone a similar transformation by 1932, "Hooverville" had come to represent the dirty shacks in which the unemployed and homeless now lived, with "Hoover Flags" denoting the turned-out pockets of men's trousers as they stood in bread lines. All the things about Hoover that had sounded positive notes during the 1920s rang off-key in 1932. Words like "rationalize," "efficiency," and "technocrat" spoke of heartlessness and a cold-minded concern with an industrial process that had devastated the nation. Hoover's political problems during his term—his repeated failures to muster congressional support for his policies—did not help his chances for re-election, either. Hoover's reputation waned further, and his political future darkened, after General MacArthur routed the Bonus Army from its camps in Washington, D.C., much to the horror of the American public. (See Domestic Affairs section for details.)Few Republicans believed that Hoover could win in 1932, but the President was determined to defend himself. Both Hoover and Vice President Charles Curtis were renominated on the first ballot. No disruptive demonstrations, rowdy parades, or outbursts of applause colored the convention hall in Chicago. No pictures of Hoover or Curtis hung from its rafters. The Republican platform praised Hoover's programs, called for a balanced budget and a protective tariff, and urged repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment—a reversal of its 1928 stance on Prohibition. Nothing was said about trade associations, technology, or the promise of prosperity. A sense of gloom-and-doom filled the air.

The Democratic convention met in Chicago as well, but in an entirely different atmosphere. The party faithful and their leaders were certain that the 1932 presidential election would bring the first Democratic victory since Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the governor of New York and the man who had twice nominated Al Smith, held the lead among convention delegates. But Smith wanted to try again, and other Democrats, notably powerful House Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas, also sought the nomination. Roosevelt's floor managers managed to convince Garner and key supporters, such as California senator William McAdoo, to back Roosevelt's candidacy rather than let the convention deadlock. Garner acceded and Roosevelt won on the fourth ballot. Roosevelt then flew to Chicago to deliver his acceptance speech in person, a maneuver that defied tradition. It was a politically necessary one, however, because FDR needed to show the electorate that while his body had been ravaged by polio, he was still a vigorous and energetic leader. In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt pledged "a new deal for the American people" and was cheered wildly by the delegates.

Roosevelt's campaign was cautious, largely because he did not want to commit any gaffes which might draw attention away from Hoover's failings or the nation's immense troubles. He repeatedly returned to the phrase "New Deal" throughout the campaign, although he rarely offered details on the programs or policies he might pursue. Indeed, Roosevelt spoke in such generalities and exuded so much optimism that some commentators wondered if he understood the extraordinary challenges facing the nation. Roosevelt departed from this campaign strategy on September 25 in a major address at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. It was there that he outlined the governing philosophy behind his New Deal. The federal government, Roosevelt charged, must assume responsibility for the welfare of the nation. It must assist business and labor in the development of "an economic constitutional order" based upon a fair distribution of wealth, in which every working person would be guaranteed "the right to make a comfortable living."Hoover delivered nine major addresses during the campaign, defending his record and attacking Roosevelt. The President blamed the Great Depression on the aftermath of World War I, and he argued that his anti-Depression measures had prevented the total collapse of the economy. Roosevelt's New Deal, he warned, would support an activist federal government whose centralized and coercive powers endangered traditional notions of "self-government" and individual liberty. Hoover's speeches, however, were dreary, laden with statistics and delivered as sermons. The President inspired few Americans, in stark contrast to Roosevelt's uplifting oratory. FDR responded by comparing Hoover's record to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: "Destruction, Delay, Despair, and Doubt."More than 40 million voters went to the polls in 1932, a record number. They voted overwhelmingly for Roosevelt, who beat Hoover by 7 million votes and captured forty-two of the forty-eight states. Except for Pennsylvania, all the states Hoover won were in New England—a bedrock of GOP support. The Democrats won both houses of Congress by substantial majorities, as well. In the long term, the election marked the beginning of Democratic dominance in presidential elections and American politics. FDR's Democratic Party would win the next four presidential elections and its philosophy of "New Deal liberalism" would emerge as the nation's guiding political ideology. During this period of dominance, Democrats never shied away from reminding voters of Hoover's and the Republicans' failure to end the Depression. In the short term, though, FDR's victory removed the burden of leadership from Hoover the Great Depression officially became Roosevelt's problem in March 1933.

Watch the video: Senators, Governors, Businessmen, Socialist Philosopher 1950s Interviews