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Date:November 8, 1932 ...(Show more)Participants:Charles CurtisWilliam Z. FosterJohn Nance GarnerHerbert HooverFranklin D. RooseveltNorman Thomas...

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United States presidential election of 1932, American presidential election held on Nov. 8, 1932, in which Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover. The 1932 election was the first held during the Great Depression, and it represented a dramatic shift in the political alignment of the country. Republicans had dominated the presidency for almost the entire period from 1860, save two terms each won by Grover Cleveland and by Woodrow Wilson (who benefited from a split in the Republican Party in 1912). And even in 1928 Hoover had crushed Democrat Alfred E. Smith, winning 444 electoral votes to Smith’s 87. Roosevelt’s victory would be the first of five successive Democratic presidential wins.

The nominations

At the Republican convention in Chicago in June, Hoover was renominated easily, but there was a battle for the vice presidential slot as Vice Pres. Charles Curtis was challenged unsuccessfully by James Harbord, who had served as John Pershing’s chief of staff in World War I. At the Democratic convention in Chicago two weeks later, Roosevelt had the support of a majority of the delegates, but the Democratic Party rules required a two-thirds majority to win nomination. On the first ballot Roosevelt was shy of victory by more than 100 delegates, with his main opposition coming from Smith and John Nance Garner, who had been elected speaker of the House of Representatives in 1931. After three ballots Garner released his delegates, and on the fourth ballot Roosevelt won the party nomination. Garner was duly selected unanimously as the vice presidential candidate. Roosevelt then broke tradition by appearing in person to accept the party’s nomination. In his speech before the delegates, he said, “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”