chapter  6
17 Pages

Power, Banking, Agriculture and the New Deal

By winning the 1932 presidential election Franklin Roosevelt had achieved his lifetime’s ambition. Not only he but Louis Howe and, in her own way, his wife Eleanor had worked relentlessly for twenty years to achieve this goal. Yet the supreme prize of politics was now quite different from what it had been in 1912 or even 1928. Hitherto the pursuit of power had been an exhilarating game for FDR. Elective office in Albany had been fun. Being part of Wilson’s progressive administration in peace and war was even more satisfying. Polio had been surmounted in the 1920s largely because he could still play the great game. Even being governor of New York as depression deepened had not prepared him for his national and international burden in the White House. By 1933 economic collapse was so bad that many serious commentators doubted that American capitalism and constitutional democracy would survive. Politics was no longer fun. It was responsibility in a nation facing its most serious crisis since the Civil War. He was fated to suffer the old Chinese curse and become president in interesting times.