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1932 Democratic National Convention
1932 presidential election
Roosevelt and Garner
Date(s)June 27 – July 2, 1932
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueChicago Stadium
Presidential nomineeFranklin D. Roosevelt of
New York
Vice presidential nomineeJohn N. Garner of Texas
‹ 1928 · 1936 ›

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 second 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


Roosevelt listens to radio coverage of the balloting on July 1 from his residence in Hyde Park

The three major contenders for the presidential nomination were Roosevelt, Garner and former Governor of New York and 1928 presidential candidate, Al Smith, who 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, where 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 at least two-thirds of the delegates votes), but backlash from Southern delegates forced them to drop the idea.[2]

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

After three ballots, Roosevelt was 87.25 votes short of the 770 required for the nomination, and his campaign feared that his support had peaked: as none of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut supported Roosevelt, he needed McAdoo, who had the California delegation, and Garner, who had the Texas delegation.

Roosevelt's campaign was able to persuade Garner to have his delegates vote for Roosevelt, possibly with the help of Hearst: while Hearst disliked Roosevelt, he hated Smith and Newton D. Baker, a possible compromise candidate. After McAdoo (who himself had been denied the nomination by the two-thirds rule at the 1924 convention) announced California would back Roosevelt, the convention realized Roosevelt had reached the required 770 delegates to win the nomination, which was greeted by wild celebrations. Roosevelt received 945 votes on the fourth ballot to Smith's 190.[2]

Garner was nominated for vice-president by acclamation, likely as part of a deal for his delegates.[3] McAdoo had hoped to be on the ticket, but he withdrew after his inclusion was opposed by Hearst.[4]

Presidential Balloting
Candidate 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Roosevelt 666.25 677.75 682.79 945
Smith 201.75 194.25 190.25 190.50
Garner 90.25 90.25 101.25 0
White 52 50.50 52.50 3
Traylor 42.25 40.25 40.25 0
Reed 24 18 27.50 0
Byrd 25 24 24.96 0
Ritchie 21 23.50 23.50 3.50
Murray 23 0 0 0
Rogers 0 22 0 0
Baker 8.50 8 8.50 5.50
Cox 0 0 0 1
Not Voting 0 5.50 2.50 5.50

Presidential Balloting / 5th Day of Convention (July 1, 1932)

Roosevelt's acceptance speech

Newsreel footage of Roosevelt's acceptance speech

For 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. ^ a b Krock, Arthur (2 July 1932). "Roosevelt Nominated on Fourth Ballot; Garner Expected to be His Running Mate; Governor Will Fly to Convention Today". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b 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". The 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.

Preceded by
Houston, Texas
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania