The Election of 1932

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The presidential election of 1932 was one of the most pivotal in U.S. history. The economy was in a horrid state. Banks were failing left and right, some markets were still recovering from the crash of 1929, and consumer confidence in the economy and in Government's ability to save it were very, very low.

The Republican Party had won the White House in 1920. Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge became President and Vice-president after that election, having defeated the Democratic ticket of James W. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many echoes of isolationism could still be heard after the end of World War I (in 1918), and Harding promised "a return to normalcy."

Harding died in 1923, and Coolidge became president. The vice-president-turned-president was known for being a man of few words, but one of his more famous quotes was "The business of America is business." Businesses and companies and banks boomed in the 1920s, in America and abroad. But it didn't last.

The downturn began in the latter half of the 1920s. Still, Americans were happy enough with the Republican Party to elect a third straight member of the GOP, Herbert Hoover, who took office in March 1929. Soon after, things began to go downhill.

The Great Depression was in full swing in 1932, when the presidential election got under way. Although President Herbert Hoover had had some successes, they were few and his policies were unable to stem the tide of economic downturns, which were being felt not only in America but also in Europe and elsewhere in the world. A great many people had lost their jobs and their life savings.

The Democratic Party found its standard-bearer in Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had run for Vice-president in 1920 and had since become Governor of New York. Hugely popular in his own party, Roosevelt soon found popularity among the nation as a whole. His promise of a New Deal resonated with a great many people, who were desperate for a change in government.

The election of 1932 was a landslide victory for Roosevelt, who ushered in the New Deal, a series of immediate and long-term measures to help get the American economy back on track. In the end, Roosevelt and his running mate, John Nance Garner, won 44 states and 472 electoral votes, to Hoover's 59 electoral votes. The popular vote was emphatic as well, with the Democrats winning more than 7 million votes more than the Republicans.

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