Exam preparation materials

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1936

The 1936 election was the first true national referendum on the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. In his campaign speeches Roosevelt oftentimes railed against the business class; according to Roosevelt they opposed many of his policies only so they could continue to get rich. The Republicans nominated Governor Alfred Landon of Kansas as their presidential candidate. Landon never actually repudiated the programs of the New Deal, but he stated that a balanced budget and less expensive government programs should be top priorities.

The election was one of the most one-sided in American history. Roosevelt won the electoral college 523 to 8; Landon was only able to carry the states of Maine and Vermont. Roosevelt was able to craft a New Deal Coalition, which made the Democrats the majority party in America throughout the rest of the 1930s and all the way into the 1980s.

The fact that white urban dwellers supported the Democrats in large numbers was noted during the 1928 defeat of Smith; whites in the Solid South had largely voted Democratic since the nineteenth century. The two groups that joined the Democratic coalition in this era were labor unions and blacks (this was a dramatic shift, as most blacks had voted Republican since the period of Emancipation). Roosevelt enjoyed support in the agricultural community as well.

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