Alfred Emanuel Smith, Politician

1945 FDC Crosby Photo Cachet

  Alfred E. Smith, December 30 1873-October 4 1944  Al was born to a poor family on the lower East Side of New York City.Smith's father was Italian-German and mother Irish. Smith identified with and would present himself as Irish-American. He only attended public school for his earliest childhood years ,quitting upon his fathers death in 1886, at the ripe old age of 12. He held a number of menial jobs through out his teen years . When he was 23, in 1895, he was granted a minor city clerkship, and immediately began to impress Tammany Hall's leaders as an able outgoing comer. He was elected as an Assemblyman in 1904 and held the office until 1915. During that time he was elected speaker for 2 years ( 1913-1915). He became increasingly reform-minded, and in 1918 he ran and  Won the first of four terms as Governor of New York. He lost the race in 1920 but was reelected in 1922, 1924, 1926 for 3 consecutive terms.
    He earned a national reputation for his progressive programs in areas such as public power, state parks, housing, improved working conditions, child welfare, and care of the insane. He was known as the favorite son of Urban Democrats at the 1924 presidential convention. Franklin Delano Roosevelt nominated him as "the Happy Warrior of the Political Battlefield". Smith lost the prize to John W. Davis who ran and lost on the Democratic ticket.
    In 1928 He was again nominated and this time proved to be unbeatable , becoming the first Catholic ever to win a major party nomination. He launched a hard hitting national campaign, wearing his ever-present Derby hat, chewing his big cigar, and his broad New York accent would become known throughout the U.S.. Though Smith  won 41 percent of the popular vote and he swept 12 of the nations largest cities,he wound up losing terribly in the electoral college 444 to 87.  The belief that a vicious whispering campaign spearheaded  by the KuKluxKlan has traditionally been blamed for his defeat. But other important factors as his outspoken opposition to Prohibition, his Big City ways, and the Economic Prosperity of that time , which most voters attributed to the Republicans, all contributing factors in his defeat.
    Mr. Smith tried once again in 1932 but lost the nomination to FDR . With this defeat he decided to abandon politics for private business. He became anti New Deal and helped found the American Liberty League in 1935. Smith died of a heart attack October 4,1944, he was 70 years of age...

1945 FDC cachet by Sgt. Ken Boll

1945 FDC cachet by L.W.Staehle,for CachetCraft

See Richard O'conner : The First Hurrah; A Biography of Alfred E. Smith

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