Al Smith

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Al Smith : biography

30 December 1873 – 1944-10-4

Smith became highly critical of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and joined the American Liberty League, an anti-Roosevelt group. Smith believed the New Deal was a betrayal of good-government Progressive ideals and ran counter to the goal of close cooperation with business. The Liberty League was an organization that tried to rally public opinion against Roosevelt’s New Deal. Conservative Democrats who disapproved of Roosevelt’s New Deal measures founded the group. In 1934, Smith joined forces with wealthy business executives, who provided most of the league’s funds. The league published pamphlets and sponsored radio programs, arguing that the New Deal was destroying personal liberty. However, the league failed to gain support in the 1934 and 1936 elections and it rapidly declined in influence. The league was officially dissolved in 1940.George Wolfskill. The Revolt of the Conservatives: A History of the American Liberty League, 1934–1940. (Houghton Mifflin, 1962).

Smith’s antipathy to Roosevelt and his policies was so great that he supported Republican presidential candidates Alfred M. Landon (in the 1936 election) and Wendell Willkie (in the 1940 election). Although personal resentment was one motivating factor in Smith’s break with Roosevelt and the New Deal, Smith was consistent in his beliefs and politics. Finan (2003) argues Smith always believed in social mobility, economic opportunity, religious tolerance and individualism. Strangely enough, Smith and Eleanor Roosevelt remained close. In 1936, while Smith was in Washington making a vehement radio attack on the President, she invited him to stay at the White House. To avoid embarrassing the Roosevelts, he declined.

Namesake

  • Alfred E. Smith Building, a 1928 skyscraper in Albany, New York
  • Governor Alfred E. Smith Houses, a public housing development in Lower Manhattan, near his birthplace
  • Governor Alfred E. Smith Park, a playground in the Two Bridges neighborhood in Manhattan, near his birthplace
  • Governor Alfred E. Smith, a former front line and current reserve fireboat in the New York City Fire Department fleet.
  • Governor Alfred E. Smith Sunken Meadow State Park, a state park on Long Island
  • Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center, a youth activity center in the Two Bridges neighborhood, Manhattan.
  • PS 163 Alfred E. Smith School, a school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
  • PS 1 Alfred E. Smith School, a school in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
  • Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the South Bronx.
  • Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a fundraiser held for Catholic Charities and a stop on the presidential campaign trail
  • Smith Hall, a residence hall at Hinman College, SUNY Binghamton.
  • Camp Smith, a State owned military installation of the New York Army National Guard in Cortlandt Manor near Peekskill, NY, about north of New York City, at the northern border of Westchester County and consists of .
  • Alfred E. Smith IV, former member of the New York Stock Exchange, philanthropist, Chairman of the Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center

Electoral history

United States presidential election, 1928

Source (Popular Vote):

Source (Electoral Vote):

New York gubernatorial elections, 1918–1926

1926 General election results
Governor candidate Running Mate Party Popular Vote
Alfred E. Smith Edwin Corning Democratic 1,523,813 (52.13%)
Ogden L. Mills Seymour Lowman Republican 1,276,137 (43.80%)
Jacob Panken August Claessens Socialist 83,481 (2.87%)
Charles E. Manierre Ella McCarthy Prohibition 21,285 (0.73%)
Benjamin Gitlow Franklin P. Brill Workers 5,507 (0.19%)
Jeremiah D. Crowley John E. DeLee Socialist Labor 3,553 (0.12%)