As the nation continued reeling from the great depression, American citizens were getting antsy to exit their Hoovervilles and begin a new chapter under a new leader. With the depression continuing to plague Americans all around the country, it seemed time for change. And with the long reign of Republicans becoming stagnant and stale, Americans voted for a new voice to lead them.
Since 1860, Republicans had consistently maintained control of the executive office but Franklin Delano Roosevelt had some ideas on changing that. Through capitalizing on the depression and making the economy his biggest issue, FDR was able to capture the hearts and minds of Americans throughout the nation. With a promise of prosperity through a balanced budget, public development of electrical power and dramatic aid to farmers, he was able to cover all of his bases. Hoover, was able to leverage the depression as a learning experience, but Americans weren’t quick to bite on this. As he maintained a bleak perspective on the current times, continually reminding Americans that he knew how tough they were having it, Roosevelt took a different approach.
FDR focused on the positivity of the future instead of the negativity of the past. His campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again” could be heard reverberating throughout the nation as Americans began to hope and pray that with a changeup in office, they could resume their prosperity from a decade ago. Hoover’s attempts to counter Roosevelt’s positivity by labeling them as unrealistic and “glittering generalizations” were met with vitriol by the public. At his campaign events, Hoover was repeatedly documented as having food and other objects thrown at him while criticisms and slurs echoed in the crowds.
The economy wasn’t FDR’s only selling point though. The angst of prohibition was still strongly in the minds of Americans, and the depressions was only making that worse. FDR pledged to repeal the eighteenth amendment and allow Americans to have a drink again. These thoughts of bringing back prosperity through a strong economy and some stronger liquor was enough to cement FDR as the 32nd president of the United States. He would go on to serve an unprecedented four terms as president and remind Americans that “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
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