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Download Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith eBook

by Robert A. Slayton

Download Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith eBook
ISBN:
1416567771
Author:
Robert A. Slayton
Category:
Historical
Language:
English
Publisher:
Free Press (June 25, 2007)
Pages:
520 pages
EPUB book:
1646 kb
FB2 book:
1859 kb
DJVU:
1375 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.1
Votes:
388


Empire Statesman book. Yet, as Robert Slayton demonstrates in this rich story of an extraordinary man and his times, Al Smith's life etched a conflict still unresolved today.

Empire Statesman book. Franklin Roosevelt is said to have explained Al Smith, and his own. Who is a legitimate American? The question should never be asked, yet we can never seem to put it behind us. In the early years of the twentieth century, the Ku Klux Klan reorganized, not to oppose blacks, but rather against the flood of new immigrants arriving from southern Europe and other less familiar sources.

Slayton, Robert A. Publication date.

Yet, as Robert Slayton demonstrates in this rich story of an extraordinary man and his times, Al Smith's . The conflict reached its apogee when Smith ran for president

Yet, as Robert Slayton demonstrates in this rich story of an extraordinary man and his times, Al Smith's life etched a conflict still unresolved today. The conflict reached its apogee when Smith ran for president. Slayton's story of the famous election of 1928, inwhich Smith lost amid a blizzard of blind bigotry, is chilling reading for Americans of all faiths. Yet Smith's eventual redemption, and the recovery of his deepest values, shines as a triumph of spirit over the greatest of adversity. Even in our corrosively cynical times, the greater vision o.

However, Professor Robert Slayton's "Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith" has completed the picture for me. Slayton painstakingly examines the complex relationships between Smith and many of the players in his political spectrum, especially FDR. How this. How this contrasts with the simple but deep relationships he had with friends and family is astounding. One of Professor Slayton's main theses-that Smith embodied the best qualities of turn-of-the century immigrant New York-is smoothly argued. For New York, Smith was the right man at the right time.

Empire Statesman by Robert A. Slayton - Franklin Roosevelt is said to have explained Al Smith, and his own New Deal, with these words: "Practically all th. .The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith. By Robert A. Slayton. Price may vary by retailer.

First came Robert A. Slayton's Empire Statesman: The Rise of Al Smith, which centered on.But what Finan ultimately gives us is the human portrait of Al Smith

First came Robert A. Slayton's Empire Statesman: The Rise of Al Smith, which centered on Smith's losing 1928 presidential campaign. But what Finan ultimately gives us is the human portrait of Al Smith. His tight friendships, his quick wit, his extroverted personality, his devotion to his wife, Katie, and his family, his gratitude to Tammany and the district in which he was raised, and his love for The Sidewalks Of New York all shine through some of the more mundane sections of the book. THE HAPPY WARRIOR is a joyous biography.

Empire Statesman: The Rise & Redemption of Al Smith. Ellen Emry Heltzel (17 August 1997). Books On TV, and a Host Who Listens". The Sunday Oregonian. Frank J. Prial (4 December 2004).

Robert Slayton talked about his book Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith, published by Free Press. The book describes the political career of Alfred Emanuel Smith (1873-1944), an American politician from a poor, Irish background, who became the first Irish Catholic to be a major party candidate for president. His achievements in the state of New York during his terms as governor, served as the inspiration for much of Roosevelt’s New Deal plan.

EMPIRE STATESMAN: THE RISE AND REDEMPTION OF AL SMITH. Get our daily newsletter. He regarded Ninth Avenue as the Far West; the Jersey meadows as beyond the frontier.

The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith. 'Empire Statesman,'' Robert A. Slayton's biography of Smith, is valuable because it describes the vitriolic mood of much of the nation during the 1928 campaign. The Ku Klux Klan mailed out thousands of postcards reading: ''We now face the darkest hour in American history. In a convention ruled by political Romanism, Antichrist has wo. ' When Smith's campaign train reached the Oklahoma state line, crosses were burned in the fields.

Franklin Roosevelt is said to have explained Al Smith, and his own New Deal, with these words: "Practically all the things we've done in the federal government are the things Al Smith did as governor of New York." Smith, who ran for president in 1928, not only set the model for FDR, he also taught America that the promise of the country extends to everyone and no one should be left behind.The story of this trailblazer is the story of America in the twentieth century. A child of second-generation immigrants, a boy self-educated on the streets of the nation's largest city, he went on to become the greatest governor in the history of New York; a national leader and symbol to immigrants, Catholics, and the Irish; and in 1928 the first Catholic major-party candidate for president. He was the man who championed safe working conditions in the wake of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. He helped build the Empire State Building. Above all, he was a national model, both for his time and for ours.Yet, as Robert Slayton demonstrates in this rich story of an extraordinary man and his times, Al Smith's life etched a conflict still unresolved today. Who is a legitimate American? The question should never be asked, yet we can never seem to put it behind us. In the early years of the twentieth century, the Ku Klux Klan reorganized, not to oppose blacks, but rather against the flood of new immigrants arriving from southern Europe and other less familiar sources. Anti-Catholic hatred was on the rise, mixed up with strong feelings about prohibition and tensions between towns and cities. The conflict reached its apogee when Smith ran for president. Slayton's story of the famous election of 1928, in which Smith lost amid a blizzard of blind bigotry, is chilling reading for Americans of all faiths. Yet Smith's eventual redemption, and the recovery of his deepest values, shines as a triumph of spirit over the greatest of adversity. Even in our corrosively cynical times, the greater vision of Al Smith's life inspires and uplifts us.
  • Xaluenk
Growing up in New York, it was hard to avoid the name Alfred E. Smith. The huge housing development on the Lower East Side is just one structure that bears his name. But it wasn't until I had read Leon Stein's "Traingle Fire" (for a college paper), when I learned something about the man himself. Later, as another reviewer mentioned, Al Smith was highlighted in the Ric Burns "New York" documentary. Intrigued, I picked up Christopher Finan's "Happy Warrior", which was a very good introduction. However, Professor Robert Slayton's "Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith" has completed the picture for me.

Slayton painstakingly examines the complex relationships between Smith and many of the players in his political spectrum, especially FDR. How this contrasts with the simple but deep relationships he had with friends and family is astounding. One of Professor Slayton's main theses--that Smith embodied the best qualities of turn-of-the century immigrant New York--is smoothly argued. For New York, Smith was the right man at the right time. But then Slayton switches gears, with convincing authority, that Smith was the wrong man at wrong time for 1928 America. It is a devestating irony, and grippingly described.

I found the final sections about Smith's reconciliation with FDR and America extremely moving. The entire "Finale" section, including the deaths and funerals of Smith's wife, Katie, and then Smith himself, had me choking back the tears. Finally, there is Professor Slayton's reminder of the legacy that Al Smith left behind, both for New York City and the nation. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Rocco Dormarunno

Author of The Five Points
  • Buridora
The election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency occurred when I was in the seventh grade of my local parochial school. In the Catholic/Democratic atmosphere of East Buffalo, and probably in Tim Russert's South Buffalo as well, the resulting ascendancy of a Catholic to the White House was a vindication. We knew that a Catholic had run once before; in fact, he had been governor of our own state. The popular wisdom of the Catholic grass roots held that the first intrepid candidate had lost because he was a Catholic, and a lot of America did not like Catholics. It did not occur to a seventh grader that people vote for lots of reasons, and that this was true in 1928 as in 1960.

Alfred E. Smith, a man of no small accomplishment, lost miserably to Herbert Hoover in a 1928 presidential election that added little to the American character. It may be true that his Catholicism was a major factor in his defeat, but biographer Robert A. Slayton provides a balanced study of Smith that gives reason to pause. We see early in this work that Smith [particularly when compared to Hoover] suffered from major deficiencies in his political upbringing that affected his judgment and contributed to a naiveté about the nature of the American electorate.

Born in 1873 in New York's infamous Fourth Ward, there was no way that young Smith would not be baptized into the two religions of his neighborhood: the Roman Catholic Church and Tammany Hall. At his local St. James Parish he received his elementary school education from the Christian Brothers. It is doubtful that he absorbed any particularly subversive tendencies of church and state at St. James. Catholic schools of the time were a laborious financial undertaking for Catholic bishops of the day, who considered them a necessary refuge against the virulent anti-Catholic attitudes of many public school curriculums. What Smith certainly absorbed from his Catholic upbringing was New York's multiculturalism, a phenomenon not understood and generally feared in the predominantly agricultural and Protestant Middle America.

Tammany Hall, one of America's most notorious yet beneficent Democratic political machines, would also demonstrate in Smith's day that same ability to adapt to cultural diversity despite its Irish heritage. Tammany was the incarnation of Tip O'Neill's dictum that "all politics is local." Slayton has no argument with this philosophy except to note that it is notorious bad presidential politics. Thus from the formative years Smith emerges as the Catholic/Tammany wounded duck.

But Smith postponed his inevitable denouement for a long time. For much of his life his personality, loyalty, affability and attention to detail, not to mention his "made man" status with the Tammany war horses, were enough to see him through his political climb. Despite its size and stature, New York State government was Byzantine and unwieldy. The legislature itself was a purgatory for a man without some kind of particular agenda, and Smith found his in the very organization of state government. With little to do, he became that body's best studied member and probably the best informed of the lot; he had something of Bob Taft's feel for the paper of legislation but with a much more extroverted personality. His counsel became cherished and his respect among his peers flourished.

And, he was lucky, though it is also true that men can make their own luck through hard work. On March 25, 1911 a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire in New York killed 146 workers. The dimensions of this tragedy and the accompanying neglect of worker safety made labor reform a statewide issue, allowing Smith to conduct emotional public hearings throughout the state. This exposure, and his public advocacy for a popular issue, put him into the New York State governor's mansion in 1919. With the invaluable help of Belle Moskowitz, Frances Perkins, and Robert Moses, among others, Smith continued his program of reform of the state constitution and generally pleased voters enough to maintain office more often than not in the dreadful decade of 1920's national Democratic defeats.

When William McAdoo declined to seek the presidential nomination in 1928, Governor Smith was virtually unopposed within his party. Suffice to say that once he stepped onto the national stage, however, all of his assets of many years became liabilities. His New York bonhomie, his Catholicism, his parochial accent, and his enjoyment of spirits in the age of the Volstead Act doomed his campaign from the start. He was running against the extremely popular Coolidge legacy, against a candidate who knew how to avoid mistakes. To borrow a metaphor from this century, the "red states" were really red, and there were many more of them in 1928.

Having said that, there is no denying that the 1928 campaign set the twentieth century low water mark for bigotry and ugliness. Slayton points out that the KKK of the 1920's was primarily an anti-Catholic movement; Jim Crow laws made Negro intimidation relatively unnecessary at the time. Catholicism was understood as a foreign invasion of lower class degenerates who drank excessively and usurped the jobs of present American citizens. The Democratic ticket was seen as an endorsement of this demographic shift, and voters turned upon the top of the ticket with a particular vehemence. Smith's parochialism had not prepared him for this, and the intensity of feeling against him, along with the size of the defeat, seems to have left psychological scars that remained with Smith for the rest of his life.

After this grueling ordeal, it galled Smith all the more that the perceived savior of his party was a man he considered a political lightweight, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As long as FDR lived, Smith would never get his electoral revenge. Coupled with the debacle of managing the day's tallest white elephant, the new Empire State Building, Smith's "redemption" makes only a cameo appearance in this work.
  • Ffleg
Good biography of a man who was ahead of his times. If he would have waited till 1932 he could have been the Catholic FDR. His many reforms in government are still with us today.
  • Uafrmaine
Typically losers of Presidential elections are not remembered. Al Smith paved the way for JFK. He persevered day after day despite being consistently told that a Catholic would never become President of the United States. "The Happy Warrior" went out & did his job day after day.
  • Bolanim
Great book about a great man. Insightful.