United States presidential election, 1928

Infobox Election
election_name = United States presidential election, 1928
country = United States
type = presidential
ongoing = no
previous_election = United States presidential election, 1924
previous_year = 1924
next_election = United States presidential election, 1932
next_year = 1932
election_date = November 6, 1928

nominee1 = Herbert Hoover
party1 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state1 = California
running_mate1 = Charles Curtis
electoral_vote1 = 444
states_carried1 = 40
popular_vote1 = 21,427,123
percentage1 = 58.2%

nominee2 = Al Smith
party2 = Democratic Party (United States)
home_state2 = New York
running_mate2 = Joseph Taylor Robinson
electoral_vote2 = 87
states_carried2 = 8
popular_vote2 = 15,015,464
percentage2 = 40.8%


map_size = 400px
map_caption = Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Hoover/Curtis, Blue denotes those won by Smith/Robinson. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

title = President
before_election = Calvin Coolidge
before_party = Republican Party (United States)
after_election = Herbert Hoover
after_party = Republican Party (United States)
The United States presidential election of 1928 pitted Republican Herbert Hoover against Democrat Al Smith. The Republicans were identified with the booming economy of the 1920sFact|date=February 2008, whereas Smith, a Roman Catholic, suffered politically from anti-Catholic prejudice, his anti-prohibitionist stance, and the legacy of corruption of Tammany Hall with which he was associated.Fact|date=February 2008 Hoover won a landslide victory.


Republican Party nomination

Republican candidates

* Herbert Hoover, U.S. Secretary of Commerce from California
* Frank Lowden, former U.S. governor of Illinois
* Charles Curtis, U.S. Senate Majority Leader from Kansas

Candidates gallery

With President Coolidge choosing not to enter the race, the race for the nomination was wide open. The leading candidates were Secretary of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover, former Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis. There was also a draft-Coolidge movement, which failed to gain significant traction.Fact|date=February 2008

In the few primaries that mattered Hoover didn't do as well as expected, and it was thought that the President or Vice President Charles Dawes might accept a draft in case of a deadlock, but Lowden withdrew just as the convention was about to start, paving the way for a Hoover victory.Fact|date=February 2008

The Republican Convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri from June 12 to June 15, nominated Hoover on the first ballot. With Hoover disinclined to interfere in the selection of his running mate, the party leaders were at first partial to giving Dawes a shot at a second term, but when this information leaked, Coolidge sent an angry telegram saying that he would consider a second nomination for Dawes, whom he hated, a "personal affront."Fact|date=February 2008 So, it was offered to Senator Curtis, who accepted, and he was nominated overwhelmingly on the first ballot.Fact|date=February 2008

In his acceptance speech a week after the convention ended, Secretary Hoover said: "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of this land... We shall soon with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this land." [cite web |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,881167,00.html?iid=chix-sphere |title=Hoover's Speech |publisher="TIME" |accessdate=2008-05-18]

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidates

* Al Smith, U.S. governor of New York
* Cordell Hull, U.S. representative from Tennessee
* James A. Reed, U.S. senator from Missouri
* Atlee Pomerene, former U.S. senator from Ohio

Candidates gallery

With the memory of the Teapot Dome scandal rapidly fading, and the current state of prosperity making that year's Presidential nomination not worth all that much, most of the major Democratic leaders such as William G. McAdoo were content to sit this one out.Fact|date=February 2008 One who didn't was NY Governor Alfred E. Smith, who had tried twice before. The party bosses decided that it was safe to give him what would be, for all intents and purposes, an empty honor.Fact|date=February 2008

The 1928 Democratic National Convention was held in Houston, Texas, June 26 to June 28 and Smith became the candidate on the first ballot.

The leadership asked the delegates to nominate Sen. Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas, who was in many ways Smith's political polar opposite,Fact|date=February 2008 to be his running mate, and he was nominated for Vice-President.Fact|date=February 2008

Smith was the first Roman Catholic to gain a major party's nomination for President, and his religion became an issue during the campaign.Fact|date=February 2008 Many Protestants feared that Smith would take orders from church leaders in Rome in making decisions affecting the country.Fact|date=February 2008

Prohibition Party nomination

The Prohibition Convention was held in Chicago from July 10 through July 12. Although Smith did not openly come out against Prohibition, he was perceived by many as soft in the war against alcohol.Fact|date=February 2008 Some members of the Prohibition Party wanted to throw their support to Hoover, thinking that their candidate would not win and that they didn't want their candidate to provide the margin by which Smith would win.Fact|date=February 2008 Nonetheless, William F. Varney was nominated for President over Hoover by a margin of 68–45. Hoover was on the California ballot as the Prohibition candidate.Fact|date=February 2008


The election was held on November 6, 1928.

Republican candidate Herbert Hoover won election by a wide margin on pledges to continue the economic boom of the Coolidge years. Smith won the electoral votes only of the traditionally Democratic Southern United States and two New England States. Hoover even triumphed in Smith's home state of New York by a narrow margin.

Smith's Catholicism and perceived anti-Prohibitionism as well as association with Tammany Hall hurt him in the South,Fact|date=February 2008 where several states were won by the Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction. However, in southern states with sizeable African American populations (and where the vast majority of African Americans could not vote at the time), perception took hold of Hoover as being for integration or at least not committed to maintaining segregation, which in turn overcame all of these things.Fact|date=February 2008 During the race, Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo claimed that Hoover had met with a black member of the Republican National Committee and danced with her. [ "Hoover Danced With Negro," "Oelwein Daily Register" (Oelwein, Iowa), October 18, 1928, p1 ] But Smith's religion helped him with New England immigrants, which may explain his narrow victories in traditionally Republican Massachusetts and Rhode Island.Fact|date=February 2008Or|date=February 2008

Smith achieved one other distinction in this election: the Democrats won a majority of large cities for the first time, including the country's 12 most populous cities, signaling a trend of immense significance.Fact|date=February 2008

Source (Popular Vote): Leip PV source 2| year=1928| as of=July 28, 2005

Source (Electoral Vote): National Archives EV source| year=1928| as of=July 28, 2005


* Kristi Andersen, "The Creation of a Democratic Majority: 1928-1936" (1979), statistical analysis of voting
* Bornet, Vaughn Davis; "Labor Politics in a Democratic Republic: Moderation, Division, and Disruption in the Presidential Election of 1928" (1964) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=97604804 online edition]
* Douglas B. Craig. "After Wilson: The Struggle for Control of the Democratic Party, 1920-1934" (1992) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=10806989 online edition] see Chap. 6 "The Problem of Al Smith" and Chap. 8 "'Wall Street Likes Al Smith': The Election of 1928"
* Christopher M. Finan. "Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior." (2003)
* Michael J. Hostetler; "Gov. Al Smith Confronts the Catholic Question: The Rhetorical Legacy of the 1928 Campaign" "Communication Quarterly", Vol. 46, 1998
* Lichtman, Allan. "Prejudice and the old politics: The Presidential election of 1928" (1979), statistical study
* Edmund A. Moore; "A Catholic Runs for President: The Campaign of 1928" (1956) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=94966769 online edition]
* Rudel, Anthony; [http://www.usnews.com/opinion "Before TV and the Internet--When Radio Was the First Electronic Medium,"] U.S. News and World Report, October 9, 2008
* Daniel F. Rulli; "Campaigning in 1928: Chickens in Pots and Cars in Backyards," "Teaching History: A Journal of Methods," Vol. 31#1 pp 42+ (2006) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5014694766 online version] with lesson plans for class
* Robert A. Slayton, "Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith" (2001), is the standard scholarly biography
* Sweeney, James R. “Rum, Romanism, and Virginia Democrats: The Party Leaders and the Campaign of 1928.” "Virginia Magazine of History and Biography" 90 (October 1982): 403–31.

Primary sources

* Hoover, Herbert. "The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Cabinet and the Presidency, 1920-1933 (1952),
* Smith, Alfred E. "Campaign Addresses" 1929.

ee also

*President of the United States
*United States Senate elections, 1928
*History of the United States (1918-1945)


External links

* [http://geoelections.free.fr/USA/elec_comtes/1928.htm 1928 popular vote by counties]
* [http://www.msu.edu/~sheppa28/elections.html#1928 How close was the 1928 election?] - Michael Sheppard, Michigan State University


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