Today in NC State History: Classes canceled for FDR visit

October 25, 2012
By Chris Saunders

PrintFailed banks and high unemployment were the norms across the country in 1932.  And joining them was a sweeping doubt that incumbent president Herbert Hoover could rescue the nation from the Great Depression.

So on this day 80 years ago, New York Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to Raleigh, offering himself and his New Deal as solutions to the problems the nation was facing.

Roosevelt appeared at the N.C. State Fairgrounds to campaign against Hoover, and NC State College canceled classes so students could attend the speech.

Presidential portrait of FDR.

Presidential portrait of FDR.

The election, held a few weeks later, resulted in a landslide victory for Roosevelt, who became the 32nd president of the United States. He captured 57 percent of the popular vote, which was the largest percentage cast for a candidate up until that time. Roosevelt would serve three terms and part of a fourth before he died in office in 1945.

The 1932 campaign stop was not Roosevelt’s first visit to Raleigh. He was the closing speaker at the NC State College of Agriculture and Engineering’s commencement when he was assistant secretary of the Navy.

“You in this state are essentially country-bred,” Roosevelt said in 1913. “You ought to thank God for it.”

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