Republican Herbert Hoover swept to victory in the American presidential election of 1928. The 31st president took office in 1929, the year the economy plummeted and the greatest economic depression in American history began. Hoover alienated his electorate as he was perceived as unsympathetic, with an ineffectual Federal government. Such was the disillusionment with Hoover that, in 1932, Democrat candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt swept to victory by an even bigger landslide than Hoover. Unemployment was at 32 per cent and Roosevelt promised a ‘Relief, Recovery and Reform’ program under the New Deal. The economy was so shattered that Roosevelt’s New Deal, which included a ‘soak-the-rich’ tax, the Social Security Act and Works Progress Administration, was slow to take effect. Roosevelt used radio chats to psychologically boost his electorate and, by the 1936 election, he was so popular that he earned 10 million more votes than the Republican candidate, Alf Landon.
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