Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Old Postcard Wednesday—Home library of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hyde Park, NY

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt

"All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River"                                                                                                     -FDR

This quote captures FDR's connection to Springwood, the estate that he loved & the place he considered home. The first US Presidential Library was started by FDR here. Visit the Home of FDR and Presidential Library & Museum to learn about the only President elected to four terms. [Source: Introduction to website: Home of Franklin D Roosevelt, National Historic Site, New York]
Tuesday night's second 2012 presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, which is 100 miles from Hyde Park, the site of Franklin D. Roosevelt's home where this library is situated. Hofstra University has a complete section devoted to the historical debate at its website here.

FDR's terms as U.S. President were 3/4/1933 - 4/12/1945. His second election campaign was in 1936, and I found the following quite interesting as a comparison to Obama's second election campaign:
The Campaign and Election of 1936

FDR entered the 1936 election with a strong, but not invincible, hand. The economy remained sluggish and eight million Americans still were without jobs. Critics from various points on the political spectrum—such as Father Coughlin and Dr. Francis Townsend—had spent much of the previous two years attacking the President. (They supported Representative William Lemke of the newly formed Union Party in the 1936 election.) Likewise, by 1936 FDR had lost most of the backing he once held in the business community because of his support for the Wagner Act and the Social Security Act.

Republicans, though, had few plausible candidates to challenge FDR in 1936. They settled on Alfred "Alf" Landon, a two-term governor of Kansas who was the only Republican governor to win reelection in 1934. Nominated on the first ballot at the Republican convention in Cleveland, Landon was a moderate conservative—and notoriously lackluster public speaker—who the party hoped could take votes from FDR in the rural Midwest. Unfortunately for Landon, his moderation was often drowned out during the campaign by the conservative clamor emanating from the Republican Party, as well as from his running mate, Chicago publisher Frank Knox.

Roosevelt seemed to relish the attacks of Republicans, maintaining that he and his New Deal protected the average American against the predations of the rich and powerful, Referring to "business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking," FDR crowed, "Never before have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred." Roosevelt's supporters believed their candidate understood and sympathized with them. As one worker put it in 1936, Roosevelt "is the first man in the White House to understand that my boss is a son of a (expletive.)" FDR won the election in a walk, amassing huge majorities in the popular vote and in the Electoral College.

What the 1936 election made most clear was that because of FDR and the New Deal, the Democratic Party was now the majority party in the nation. Roosevelt had put together what came to be called the "New Deal Coalition," an alliance of voters from different regions of the country and from racial, religious and ethnic groups. The coalition combined southern Protestants, northern Jews, Catholics and blacks from urban areas, labor union members, small farmers in the middle west and Plains states, and liberals and radicals. This diverse group, with some minor alterations, would power the Democrats for the next thirty years—and it was Roosevelt who put it together.
[Source: Miller Center, Univ. of VA]

The following video ties everything together rather nicely, I thought. Produced during the election of 2008 when President Obama ran against John McCain, the wonderful Stephen Colbert, with uncanny foresight, even turns a friend of Big Bird (amazingly, one of the "characters" in the 2012 presidential campaign) into a key character in the debate of who was the most important Roosevelt. Hah! Enjoy.



Don't Feed The Pixies said...

well you'll be glad to know that the British press, ever ready to change opinion at the drop of a hat, are today saying that Obama kicked ass in the second debate

Britain has suddenly started having similar debates at election time and scoring the three leaders against each other - something that has never previously happened - which is odd when you think about how much Tony Blair was about media image

Today we have David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband - three politicians so alike in media grooming that even their own mothers have trouble telling them apart

Lydia said...

Yay for the British press! This news from you will now allow me to go to bed and possibly actually fall asleep now. Many thanks for the sweet dreams (and I'll be checking out the photos of Cameron, Clegg, and Milliband later in the day). :)

hedgewitch said...

Thank you for writing about a man who came from one of the wealthiest and most powerful backgrounds, who spent his time in politics advocating for the working class, and was beloved by them. My grandfather voted for him all four times, and told me stories about him as if he were a figure out of legend. He is the reason I'm a registered Democrat. Your "I welcome their hatred' quote is one of my favorites.

Lydia said...

hedgewitch~ Your first sentence sums his life beautifully. Now the "I welcome their hatred" quote is one of my favorites, too.
Like your grandfather, my grandmother voted all four times for FDR (against the wishes of my grandfather who was a staunch Republican), and my mother told the story of how my grandmother wept for hours the day FDR died.



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