"Stocked with philosophical and economic conservatives, the U.S. Supreme Court proved to be the most consistent opponent to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. In 1935 the Court struck down the National Recovery Administration (NRA) as an unconstitutional exercise of legislative authority by the executive branch. The NRA was supposed to work with labor and management to develop national wage, price, and production codes that would, theoretically, have systematized and rationalized prices and wages. The labor movement and large employers welcomed the NRA codes, but smaller companies resented the NRA’s interference in their business, the domination of big business, and the administrative complexity required by adherence to the NRA’s codes. In May 1935, the Supreme Court, in the case of Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, invalidated the NRA and the legislation that created it. The lengthy, unanimous opinion, excerpted here, demonstrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s complete unwillingness to endorse FDR’s argument that a national crisis demanded innovation."
"The 1936 presidential election proved a decisive battle, not only in shaping the nation’s political future but for the future of opinion polling. The Literary Digest, the venerable magazine founded in 1890, had correctly predicted the outcomes of the 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932 elections by conducting polls. These polls were a lucrative venture for the magazine: readers liked them; newspapers played them up; and each “ballot” included a subscription blank. The 1936 postal card poll claimed to have asked one fourth of the nation’s voters which candidate they intended to vote for. In Literary Digest's October 31 issue, based on more than 2,000,000 returned post cards, it issued its prediction: Republican presidential candidate Alfred Landon would win 57 percent of the popular vote and 370 electoral votes."
"was the first woman governor in the United States. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, she married William Bradford Ross in 1902 and they lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. William B. Ross, a Democrat, was elected Governor of Wyoming in 1922. Three weeks before election day in 1924, William B. Ross died and Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected in his stead. Nellie Ross lost in her bid for reelection in 1926. She was appointed Director of the U.S. Mint in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served in that capacity until her retirement in 1953. Collection contains materials relating to Nellie and William Ross, including scrapbooks, correspondence both personal and professional, miscellaneous materials relating to the U.S. Mint, financial records, speeches and writings, diaries, subject files and biographical information, William Ross' campaign materials for 1922, and news releases relating to Nellie Ross as governor and Director of the U.S. Mint. "
"President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 attempt to expand the federal judiciary, known as his “Court-packing plan” by its many critics, met with ferocious opposition. Congressmen who had warily supported the New Deal now backed away, unnerved by the president’s willingness to subvert the existing power structure. In the popular press, columns such as Dorothy Thompson’s from the Washington Star reflected both popular disgust at Roosevelt’s plan to increase the number of Supreme Court justices and FDR’s continued popularity. Thompson’s comparison of Roosevelt to Hitler seems ridiculous now, but others (like Father Charles Coughlin) made such comparisons regularly in 1937. Ironically, over the next four years FDR was able to fill seven vacancies on the Court, largely ending its opposition to the New Deal. By then, however, thanks in large part to public opposition to the Court-packing plan, he had lost the predictable majorities that had easily carried his bills through Congress during his first term."
"On the morning of October 24, 1929 (“Black Thursday”), billions of dollars in stock value were wiped out before lunch. Prices recovered somewhat that afternoon, but the Great Crash was underway. The next day President Herbert Hoover counseled reassurance, but as stock prices continued to plummet Hoover’s reassurances rang increasingly hollow. The president’s efforts to reassure the public did not stop, in part for political reasons. To win reelection in 1932, he would have to convince voters that his policies were bringing recovery. In this excerpt from an October 22, 1932, campaign speech on “The Success of Recovery,” Hoover told a partisan crowd of twenty-two thousand in Detroit’s Olympia Arena that success would have come even sooner if not for Democratic obstruction. The Detroit faithful and radio audiences heard Hoover hail ten sure signs of “economic recovery.” (Less enthusiastic were hundreds of unemployed men who greeted him at the train station with signs like “Hoover—Baloney and Apple Sauce.”)"
"Frustrated by the elimination of the NRA and other programs, like the Agricultural Adjustment Act (United States v. Butler, 1936) through the courts, and overconfident after his big win in the 1936 elections, Roosevelt proposed a novel but not entirely unprecedented solution in 1937. He would add one new judge to the federal judicial system for every active judge over the age of seventy. The result would create fifty new judgeships, including up to six new Supreme Court justices. Having established these new positions, the president could then appoint new judges friendly to his administration and tip the balance in his favor. Roosevelt posed the measure as a plan to streamline the Court system and ease its caseload, as he explained in this fireside chat on March 9, 1937. Roosevelt argued that the Court expansion bill would merely restore the balance of power intended by the Constitution’s framers, a balance that had been lost to a reactionary, backward-looking, shortsighted group of old men."
Book Sources: Politics & Government in the 1930s
A selection of books/e-books available in Trible Library.
Click the title for location and availability information.