1932 Democratic National Convention

1932 Democratic National Convention
1932 presidential election

Roosevelt and Garner
Date(s) June 27 – July 2, 1932
City Chicago, Illinois
Venue Chicago Stadium
Presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt of
New York
Vice Presidential nominee John N. Garner of Texas

The 1932 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois June 27 – July 2, 1932. The convention resulted in the nomination of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York for President and Speaker of the House John N. Garner from Texas for Vice President. Beulah Rebecca Hooks Hannah Tingley was a member of the Democratic National Committee and Chair of the Democratic Party of Florida. She seconded the nomination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, becoming the first woman to address a Democratic National Convention.

The candidates

The three major candidates:

Candidate Born [1] Office Held State Delegates, 1st ballot Final ballot

Franklin D. Roosevelt
January 30, 1882
(age 50)
Hyde Park, New York
Governor of New York

New York
666.25 945

Al Smith
December 30, 1873
(age 58)
Manhattan, New York
Governor of New York
(1919-1920, 1923-1928)

New York
201.75 190.25

John Nance Garner
November 22, 1868
(age 63)
Detroit, Texas
Speaker of the
House of Representatives


90.25 Nominated for
Vice President


The three major contenders for the presidential nomination were Roosevelt, Garner and former governor of New York and 1928 presidential candidate, Al Smith. They roughly represented three competing factions of the Democratic Party. Smith was supported by the Tammany Hall machine in New York City, and had many supporters in the Democratic National Committee, as well as in Chicago. Chicago mayor Anton Cermak packed the hall with Smith supporters.

Roosevelt was supported by a solid majority of the delegates, and had the support of Senators Burton Wheeler, Cordell Hull, Alben Barkley, and Huey Long, who held the Deep South for Roosevelt. The new Democratic coalition would begin at this convention: Roosevelt brought into the Democratic fold western progressives, ethnic minorities, rural farmers, and intellectuals. Supporters of Roosevelt pushed for the abolition of the two thirds rule (which required the presidential nominee to win the votes of two thirds of the delegates), but backlash killed the idea.[2]

Garner had support from California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Senator William Gibbs McAdoo. He was never a serious threat, and never bothered to campaign for the position. However, the faction that supported Garner was important because it could break a potential deadlock between Smith and Roosevelt.

After three ballots, Roosevelt had not secured the 770 votes necessary for the nomination, and his campaign feared that his support had peaked. As New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut did not support Roosevelt, he needed McAdoo, who had the California delegation, and Garner, who had Texas'. Roosevelt's campaign was able to persuade Garner to release his delegates to vote for Roosevelt, possibly with the help of Hearst, who disliked Roosevelt but hated Smith and Newton D. Baker, a possible compromise candidate. When McAdoo, who himself had been denied nomination by the two thirds rule at the 1924 convention, announced that California would back Roosevelt, the convention realized that Roosevelt had the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination.[2] Roosevelt received 945 votes on the fourth ballot to Smith's 190. Garner became the vice-presidential candidate, likely as part of a deal for his delegates.[3] McAdoo had also hoped to be on the ticket, but his inclusion was opposed by Hearst.[4]

Presidential Balloting, DNC 1932
ballot 1 2 34
Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt666.25677.75682.79945
Former Gov. Al Smith201.75194.25190.25190.25
House Speaker John Nance Garner90.2590.25101.25
Gov. Albert Ritchie2123.523.53.5
Gov. George White5250.552.53
Melvin Alvah Traylor42.2540.2540.25
Sen. James A. Reed241827.5
Former Gov. Harry F. Byrd252424.96
Will Rogers22
Gov. William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray23
Former War Secretary Newton D. Baker8.588.55.5
Former Gov. James M. Cox1

In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt broke tradition and established the precedent of formally accepting the nomination in person at the convention. In his speech, he pledged "a new deal for the American people".[3]

See also


  1. Candidate ages listed as they were during the convention in 1932
  2. 1 2 Krock, Arthur (2 July 1932). "Roosevelt Nominated on Fourth Ballot; Garner Expected to be His Running Mate; Governor Will Fly to Convention Today". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. 1 2 Gunther, John (1950). Roosevelt in Retrospect. Harper & Brothers. pp. 270–272.
  4. Krock, Arthur (3 July 1932). "Roosevelt Puts Economic Recovery First in His Acceptance Speech at Convention; Garner for Vice President by Acclamation". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2015.

Pietrusza, David 1932: The Rise of Hitler & FDR: Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny Guilford CT: Lyons Press, 2015.

External links

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Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
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