Roosevelt House History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 Campaign and Election

Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidential election on November 8, 1932, defeating President Herbert Hoover. Waiting for the returns that evening, he spoke to the excited crowd at the Biltmore Hotel. The next afternoon, Wednesday, November 9, FDR spoke from the second floor drawing room of Roosevelt House, his first radio address to the American people as president-elect. He immediately did it again, filmed by Fox Movietone News for airing in the nation’s movie theaters. His mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, sits beside him and his two oldest children, Anna and James, stand behind them. His talk is preceded by short vignette of James Farley and Louis Howe, architects of the Democratic victory, trading quips in the Roosevelt drawing room on the second floor at 65th Street.

Selected Transcript:

(07:25): Brief remarks by FDR at the Democratic Headquarters at the Biltmore Hotel on the evening of  November 8, 1932

FDR: It looks my friends like a real landslide this time.   But we have not yet had the returns from the West Coast and for that reason I am making no official or public statement as yet.

(8:13): James Farley and “Colonel” Louis Howe talking on November 9, 1932 at the Roosevelt’s house.

Farley: Well Louis, it’s all over now. These reports that came in during the evening were all fine and just what we expected. It was only right that we wait until we heard from President Hoover and we have a wire form him now which the governor should see immediately indicating that he concedes the election and congratulates the governor. And I also received a letter a moment ago or a wire a moment ago from Everett Sanders, Chairman of the Republican Committee and he too extends heartiest congratulation to you.

Howe: Well of course Jim, when Sanders gives up it’s all over. But there’s only one thing that worries me a little. How on earth did you manage to lose those five states?

Farley: Well that’s something I’m anxious to know myself.

Howe: Bad teamwork Jim, bad teamwork

(9:17-10:35): FDR speaks to the nation, Nov 9, 1932 from his home on 65th Street.

FDR: I am glad of this opportunity to extend my deep appreciation to the electorate of this country which gave me yesterday such a great vote of confidence. It is a vote that had more than mere party significance. It transcended party lines and became a national expression of liberal thought. It means I am sure that the masses of the people of the nation firmly believe that there is great and actual possibility in an orderly recovery through a well conceived and actively directed plan of action. Such a plan has been presented to you and you have expressed approval of it. This my friends is most reassuring to me. It shows that there is in this country unbounded confidence in the future of sound agriculture and of honorable industry. This clear mandate shall not be forgotten and I pledge you this and I invite your help in the happy task of restoration.