US Coins

Collecting the campaign items of FDR's opposition

This is the sixth part of a multi-part series on Presidential campaign collectibles from the Nov. 7, 2016, monthly issue of Coin World:

Presidential campaign banners, badges, tokens, medals and more from America's 200-plus years of elections provide windows into the quadrennial campaigns and their eras. Available items may be abundant and cost only a few dollars each, or scarce, some costing thousands of dollars regardless of condition.

The election of 1932 put Democrat and former New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt into the White House for the first of his unprecedented four terms. FDR died April 12, 1945, early in his fourth term.

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(Congress passed the 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution on March 21, 1947, imposing term limits on the presidency. It was ratified by the requisite 36 of the 48 states on Feb. 27, 1951.)

The incumbent Republican president, Herbert Hoover, had failed on his 1928 promise of economic prosperity that put him in the White House. Hoover’s slogan, “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” followed on the heels of the economically disastrous presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

Hoover inherited a mess that resulted in the stock market crash of 1929, which evolved into the Great Depression. Hoover could not rebound for his 1932 bid for re-election.

Meanwhile, FDR had been re-elected governor of New York in a landslide victory in 1930.

In his pitch for the White House, FDR was able to mobilize all factions within the Democratic Party, avoid divisive cultural issues, and enlist a Southern Democrat, House Speaker John Nance Garner, as his running mate.

Presidential campaign collectibles of Roosevelt and Hoover are available both with and without images of their respective running mates, Garner and Charles Curtis.

Hoover failed to defend his policies and his presidency, while FDR went on the offense, repeatedly blaming Hoover for the Great Depression and the worsening American economy.

One particular anti-Hoover button illustrates an empty bucket marked “Grand Old Prosperity — Nothing In It.”

Hoover supporters countered with a button, “It’s An Elephant’s Job — No Time for ‘Donkey Business,’ ” depicting a elephant pushing a truck representing the United States as a donkey runs away.

Roosevelt offered his New Deal for economic recovery to the American populace. With unemployment at a staggering 20 percent in 1932, American voters took to the polls in record numbers. Roosevelt handily defeated Hoover at the ballot box, winning both the electoral and popular vote. He won the support of more than 22.8 million voters, the highest vote cast for a presidential candidate up until that time.

Read our entire series so far on collecting Presidential election materials:

1828 election collectiblesThe presidential election that might have been the nastiest on record: So nasty were the personal attacks between Jackson and the incumbent, John Quincy Adams, during the 1828 campaign that Jackson blamed the stress of the attacks for contributing to the death of his wife.

1828 election collectiblesThe election of 1800 saw a number of firsts among American presidential races: The presidential election of 1800 was a particularly uncomfortable one in political circles, pitting Vice President Thomas Jefferson against the president he was currently serving under, John Adams.

1860 presidential election collectiblesAbraham Lincoln faced more than one opponent in the 1860 presidential election: While it is not uncommon today for political candidates in state and national contents to stump in any small community that will host them, during the 1860 campaign the tactic was considered somewhat tacky.

1896 presidential election collectiblesSounds like jewelry, so why was a ‘cross of gold’ not considered a good thing in 1896?: The hotly contested presidential race of 1896 pitted former Ohio Gov. William McKinley, a Republican, against Democratic contender and perennial presidential wannabe William Jennings Bryan.

Teddy Roosevelt cigar cutterHow Theodore Roosevelt helped deliver the White House to Woodrow Wilson: The 1912 election witnessed the establishment of a new political entity, Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, also dubbed the Bull Moose Party. 

Franklin Roosevelt buttonFour-time winner Franklin Roosevelt generates opposition collectibles: The election of 1932 put Democrat and former New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt into the White House for the first of his unprecedented four terms. 

Donald Trump novelty noteThe 2016 presidential election hitting new heights, or depths, of nastiness: Campaign collectibles are trying to promote the 2016 presidential candidates amid all the mudslinging.

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