U.S. Presidential Election 1932

by poonam bisht

The presidential election of 1932 took place in the aftermath of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, after the onset of the Great Depression. Many of incumbent President Herbert Hoover’s…

The presidential election of 1932 took place in the aftermath of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, after the onset of the Great Depression. Many of incumbent President Herbert Hoover’s financial policies were called into question, allowing Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt to step in and rise to power. Franklin D. Roosevelt won the 1932 election in a landslide victory, becoming the thirty-second President of the United States.

During times of economic crisis and high unemployment, incumbent presidents rarely win reelection, and the election of 1932 was no outlier. President Hoover was blamed for worsening the depression by restricting trade, and was criticized for his economic decisions, like the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and the Revenue Act of 1932, which raised taxes for everyone. The public saw his tax increases as excessive and believed he was overspending taxpayer money on his stimulus projects, though his supporters argued that these policies would pull the country out of the depression. He was also accused by the opposition of being a socialist.

At the Republican National Convention, Hoover’s team controlled the proceedings, assuring that Hoover came out with the nomination. Votes were cast to nominate John J. Blaine, former President Calvin Coolidge, and Joseph France, but Hoover won the nomination with an overwhelming 98 percent of the vote. Vice President Charles Curtis was also renominated, but with more resistance.

At the Democratic National Convention former party leader, Al Smith, who had served as governor of New York was up against incumbent Governor of New York, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a distant cousin of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Speaker of the House John Nance Garner also ran for the nomination, but when none of the candidates received the necessary two-thirds majority, Garner agreed to drop out of the race and become Roosevelt’s running mate, and Roosevelt won the nomination. The Socialist Party nominated Norman Thomas, who took leadership over the party after the death of five-time presidential nominee Eugene V. Debs. Other third parties in the 1932 presidential race came from the Communist and Prohibition Parties, though neither received a substantial amount of public support.

Roosevelt campaigned against Hoover and the Republican spending policies, vowing to cut government spending and services and bring the country out of the depression. He devised a plan he called the New Deal, which would break from Hoover’s policies, focusing on the three Rs: relief, recovery, and reform. His campaign strategy was successful, and the public’s displeasure with Hoover worked in Roosevelt’s favor.

Roosevelt won most of the country except for the Northeast, receiving a record 472 electoral votes to Hoover’s 59. This brought the long period of Republican power to an end, ushering in an era of Democratic leadership. The U.S. political system was realigned to form what is known as the Fifth Party System.

Roosevelt’s win broke records for the most electoral votes received both by a first-time candidate and by a non-incumbent, as well as the record for the highest number of of electoral votes ever won.

The breakdown of candidates and electoral votes was as follows:

Presidential Candidate Home State Party Electoral Votes Running Mate
Franklin D. Roosevelt New York Democratic 472 John N. Garner
Herbert C. Hoover California Republican 59 Charles Curtis
Norman Thomas New York Socialist 0 James Maurer
William Z. Foster Illinois Communist 0 James W. Ford
Total 531

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