The Rise of Franklin Roosevelt

A timeline shows important events of the era. In 1932, Roosevelt is elected president; a photograph of Roosevelt’s inauguration is shown. In 1933, the First New Deal legislation passes; a photograph of New Deal workers is shown. In 1934, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union organizes; a photograph of six Dust Bowl refugees is shown. In 1935, the Supreme Court strikes down key elements of the New Deal, and the Second New Deal begins. In 1936, Roosevelt is re-elected in a landslide; a photograph of Roosevelt is shown. In 1938, the U.S. encounters a recession when government spending is curtailed, and the Fair Labor Standards Act passes.

Franklin Roosevelt was part of the political establishment and the wealthy elite, but in the 1932 presidential campaign, he did not want to be perceived that way. Roosevelt felt that the country needed sweeping change, and he ran a campaign intended to convince the American people that he could deliver that change. It was not the specifics of his campaign promises that were different; in fact, he gave very few details and likely did not yet have a clear idea of how he would raise the country out of the Great Depression. But he campaigned tirelessly, talking to thousands of people, appearing at his party’s national convention, and striving to show the public that he was a different breed of politician. As Hoover grew more morose and physically unwell in the face of the campaign, Roosevelt thrived. He was elected in a landslide by a country ready for the change he had promised.