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Foundations of a Public Life:  Governor Roosevelt

Governor Roosevelt

FDR's victory in the 1928 New York governor's race re-launched him into national politics. His election was notable in a year dominated by Republican victories. A seven-year struggle to come to terms with the effects of polio and paralysis ended with a triumphant return to public life.

Roosevelt entered office with an activist agenda-determined to use government to improve the lives of New Yorkers. The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 increased his urgency.

FDR's accomplishments as governor provided indications of what he might do as president. He pushed for public power, advanced union rights, instituted an eight-hour day for government workers, and was the first governor to champion old-age pensions funded by contributions from government, employers, and workers. In 1931, New York became the first state to provide relief assistance to unemployed people.

FDR was reelected in a landslide in 1930. That victory and his innovative record as governor immediately made him a Presidential frontrunner for 1932.
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