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Roosevelt's Responsibility For His Own Election Victory In 1932

1619 words - 6 pages

Roosevelt's Responsibility for His Own Election Victory in 1932

In the 1932 Presidential election in the USA, Franklin D. Roosevelt
won by an enormous 7 million votes. He was the candidate for the
Democratic Party, and he was running against the Republican President,
Herbert Hoover. Hoover had been President for four years, since 1928.
The extent of Roosevelt’s win was even more surprising as he had not
been the Democrats’ first choice, but a compromise when none of the
other candidates could win enough support. Roosevelt’s landslide
victory was due to both his own actions and to factors outside his
control, because in 1932 the USA was in the depths of depression, and
Americans were blaming Hoover and his government because they were
not taking action to help the people and the economy to recover.
Hoover came across as if he did not care for the people of America.
This helped Roosevelt because although he didn’t outline his proposed
policies in detail, he did promise that he would put an end to the
depression.

In this essay I am going to assess whether his actions were
responsible for his victory, or whether it was largely due to factors
outside his control.

America in 1932 was still in the depths of the economic depression
caused by the Wall Street Crash of October 1929. The Wall Street
Crash had been caused by a loss of confidence in the value of the
Stock Market, represented by shares held by Banks, Insurance Companies
and Pension Fund institutions, and rich and middle-class people who
had bought during the boom times after the First World War. This led
to panic selling, and shares lost all their value; Individuals and
Companies went bankrupt, Banks and Insurance Companies tried
unsuccessfully to recover their loans, and they too became bankrupt
and even those who had managed to keep some money had no confidence to
make loans. This led to a spiral of companies cutting wages and
laying off workers, and businesses cutting down production as demand
for goods fell because people could not afford them. About 5000 Banks
went bankrupt, and 13 million people were made unemployed, without a
welfare state to support them. People in agricultural areas were
hardest hit; huge numbers of farmers were unable to pay their
mortgages, and Banks and Insurance Companies “foreclosed” forcing
people off their land. Some farmers organised themselves to resist
Banks seizing their homes, and barricaded highways; but the Police
were used to break up their demonstrations, and they were forced to
leave their homes and live in their trucks on the road, finding work
where they could. At night, parks were full of homeless and unemployed
people. Every town had a shanty town where migrants lived in appalling
conditions of poverty; people even rummaged in rubbish tips looking
for food. The...

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