James Farley

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=James A. Farley


order=50th
title=United States Postmaster General
term_start=1932
term_end=1940
president=Franklin D. Roosevelt
predecessor=Walter F. Brown
successor=Frank C. Walker
office2=Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
term_start2=1932
term_end2=1940
preceded2=John J. Raskob
succeeded2=Edward J. Flynn
office3=Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee
term_start3=1930
term_end3=1944
birth_date=birth date|1888|5|30|mf=y
birth_place=Stony Point, New York, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1976|6|9|1888|5|30|mf=y
death_place=New York, U.S.
party=Democrat

profession=Politician, Business Executive, Dignitary
religion=Roman Catholic

James Aloysius "Jim" Farley (May 30, 1888–June 9, 1976) was an American politician, business executive, and dignitary who served as head of the Democratic National Committee and Postmaster General. Farley was the campaign manager for New York State politicians Alfred E. Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt's gubernatorial campaigns as well as Roosevelts presidential campaigns in 1932 and 1936. Farley predicted large landslides in both, and was responsible for pulling together the New Deal Coalition of Catholics, labor unions, African-Americans, and farmers. Farley was heavily concerned with party issues as well as aspects of policy, and supported the liberal New Deal programs. Farley, and the administration's patronage machine he presided over, helped to fuel the social and infrastructure programs of the New Deal via the Postal Department and WPA/PWA programs. Farley opposed Franklin Roosevelt breaking the two term tradition of the presidency, and broke with Roosevelt on that issue in 1940.

As of 1942, Farley was considered the supreme Democratic Party Boss of New York. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,849988,00.html] Farley, served as the #2 commissioner on the second Hoover Commission, which helped to develop American modern law in regards to executive powers and the presidency. The Landmark James Farley Post Office (James A. Farley Building/former General Post Office Building) in New York City, is designated in his honor.(H. Res.368, 3/2/1982)

Early career

Farley was born in Grassy Point, New York, one of five sons whose grandparents were Irish Catholic immigrants. His father was involved in the brick-making industry, first as a laborer and later as a part owner of three small schooners engaged in the brick-carrying trade.

Farley always had his heart set on a political career. In 1911, he officially began his service as a politician when he was elected town clerk of Grassy Point. Farley was elected Chairman of the Rockland County Democratic Party in 1918, and secured the upstate vote for Alderman Alfred E. Smith, north of the Bronx line when he ran for Governor the same year. The Democrats could not win north of the Bronx line before Farley organized the Upstate New York Democratic organization. By cultivating the neglected Upstate Democrats, Farley became a force in New York State Politics. After helping Alfred E. Smith become Governor of New York State, Farley was awarded the post of Port Warden of New York City . Farley was appointed to the New York State Athletic Commission at the suggestion of Jimmy Walker in 1923 and Farley served as a delegate at the 1924 Democratic National Convention, where he became friendly with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt who would give his famous "Happy Warrior" speech about Al Smith.

Farley would later became Boxing Commissioner of New York State until the early 1930s. This is where Farley would get his first taste of national and global attention for his role in fighting for equal rights for blacks.In 1926, Farley threatened to resign his post as Athletic Commissioner if the boxing champion Jack Dempsey did not fight the mandatory challenger, a negro fighter named Harry Wills. Farley banned Dempsey from fighting Gene Tunney and publicly threatened to revoke Tex Rickard's Madison Square Garden license if he ignored the ruling of the commission. This public stand for negro rights would prove to be a valuable asset to the Democratic Party for generations, and would sow the seeds of the negro block of the New Deal.

At this time Farley merged 5 small building supply companies to form General Builders Corporation which would become the cities largest building supply company. Farley's firm was awarded Federal contracts under the Republican Hoover Administration to supply building supply materials to construct buildings now considered landmarks, such as the Annex of the James A. Farley Post Office Building in New York City and the Empire State Building. This was perfectly legal given that Farley was not a paid elected official and was appointed to the political posts he held. After some convincing from Farley and long time F.D.R. confidant Louis Howe, Roosevelt asked Farley to run his 1928 campaign for the New York governorship. Farley orchestrated FDR's narrow victory in the 1928 gubernatorial election,Farley was named secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee and orchestrated F.D.R.'s reelection in 1930. Farley was named Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, a post he would hold until his resignation in 1944. Farley helped bring to Roosevelt's camp the powerful newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and helped Roosevelt win the 1932 Presidential nomination and election. This was due to the Farley's ability to gather the Catholics, Unions, and big city machines (while maintaining the Solid South) into the New Deal Coalition. Farley repeated this process in 1936 and correctly predicted the states Roosevelt would carry as goes the adage "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont". This prediction secured Farley's reputation as a "political prophet" of his time.

New Deal Years 1933-40

In accordance with political tradition FDR appointed Farley Postmaster General, a post traditionally given to the campaign manager or an influential supporter, and also took the unusual step of naming Farley Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in addition to the cabinet post in 1933.

Farley worked hard to keep the Post Office going through the Depression and through his expert stewardship, the once unprofitable Post Office Department finally began turning a profit.Farley was instrumental in revolutionizing Transcontinental airmail service, and reorganized the Post Offices Airmail carriers. Farley worked in concert with the Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) Juan Trippe to see that the mail was delivered safely and cost effectively after a brief period of the Army carrying the mail, and service men were killed during a storm. Farley oversaw and was responsible for the flight of the first China Clipper.

Farley is remembered among stamp collectors for two things. One is a series of souvenir sheets that were issued at commemorative events and which bore his name as the authorizer. The other are twenty stamps known as "Farley's Follies." Reprints, mostly imperforated, of stamps of the period, they were given to President Roosevelt and Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, both collectors, as well as a special friend of the Administration. (Farley himself did not collect stamps.) When ordinary stamp collectors learned of this they complained, and in 1935 more stamps were printed for them. Today the souvenir sheets are not particularly scarce. The original sheets were destroyed.

Farley controlled Federal patronage in the new administration and was very influential within the Roosevelt's Brain Trust and the Democratic party throughout the United States. Farley used his control of the patronage to see that Roosevelt's first 100 days of New Deal legislation was passed. Farley was conservative in private, yet politically liberal and masterfully used the patronage machine to line up support for the New Deal's liberal programs. He helped to bring about the end to Prohibition and the defeat of the Ludlow Amendment, a 1939 attempt by isolationists to limit the foreign affairs powers of the president by requiring a referendum for a declaration of war without an attack. Farley's close relationship with FDR deteriorated in 1940. Farley opposed FDR's pursuit of a third term and because of Roosevelt's "purge" of Democratic Party regulars. Farley also opposed the "packing" of the Supreme Court, yet in all instances, was continuously loyal and supportive of F.D.R.'s policies, and actively supported them. Farley was asked by F.D.R. to seek the Governorship of New York multiple times during his tenure in the Administration. He refused on every occasion.

In 1940, Farley resigned as Postmaster General and Party Chairman after placing in delegates second at the 1940 Democratic National Convention in Chicago where Roosevelt was "drafted" for a third term. Farley is the second Roman Catholic Politician to receive delegates towards a major party's nomination for the Presidency and the first to achieve success on a national level.

Eleanor Roosevelt flew to the convention to try to repair the damage in the Roosevelt-Farley relationship, and although Farley remained close to ER and Jimmy Roosevelt. He felt betrayed by FDR and refused to join FDR's 1940 campaign team.

Post-politics life and legacy

became President with the death of F.D.R.

Farley would remain a prominent national figure and confidant to Pope's, dignitaries, and sitting Presidents until his death in 1976. Remembered as one of America's greatest campaign managers, politicians, business minds, and political bosses. Farley remained active in state and national politics until his death at age 88 on June 9, 1976, in New York City. Prior to his death, Farley had been the last surviving member of FDR's Cabinet. James Farley is interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

It was Farley who, after Roosevelt's overwhelming victory over Republican Alf Landon in 1936, quipped, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont." Farley, the former chairman of Coca-Cola export, was the only man to serve as National Party Chairman, New York State Party Chairman, and Postmaster General simultaneously. At the time, the Postmaster General was a patronage position. Was known as the "KingMaker", and "Mr. Democrat". Farley's respect crossed party lines. Towards the end of his career, Farley the elder statesman pushed for campaign finance reform, and less influence of interest groups and corporations in party business and political activity.

*James A. Farley is the first, nationally successful Irish Roman Catholic politician in American history.
*In 2007 James A. Farley was named by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York as one of its "Bicentennial People/Innovator" in commemoration of the Archdiocese's 200 year anniversary.
*"The James A. Farley Award" is the Boxing Writers Associations highest honor, awarded to those who exhibit honesty and integrity in the Sport of Boxing
*James A. Farley was also the first guest on NBC's "Meet the Press", the longest running show in television history.
*Farley is also known for his eponymous device, the Farley File.
*In 1962, Mr. Farley received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York."
*Farley's Law- Voters will decide the Presidential candidate they are most likely to vote for by mid October
*As explained in the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Jim Farley was known for his ability to remember names and details of almost every person he met. He is said to have used the name-picture association method.

References

* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=6514602 Farley, James A. "Jim Farley's Story: The Roosevelt Years" (1948)]
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=754882 Farley, James A. "Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician" (1938)]
* Spencer, Thomas T. "'Old' Democrats and New Deal Politics: Claude G. Bowers, James A. Farley, and the Changing Democratic Party, 1933-1940" "Indiana Magazine of History" 1996 92(1): 26-45. ISSN 0019-6673
* [http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=132207 Scroop, Daniel "Mr. Democrat: Jim Farley, The New Deal, and The Making of Modern American Politics."]

External links

* [http://www.usps.com/postalhistory/_pdf/farley.pdf USPS James A. Farley Bio.]
* [http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/farley-james.htm James Farley biography] at the [http://www.nps.gov National Park Service website] .
* [http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSsr=241&GScid=64622&GRid=6614099&pt=James%20A.%20Farley& Burial record for James A. Farley] at [http://findagrave.com Findagrave.com]
* [http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d097:h.res.00368: Bill designating Landmark General Post Office the "James A. Farley Building"]

Persondata
NAME = Farley, James
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Farley, James A.; Farley, James Aloysius; Farley, Jim
SHORT DESCRIPTION = 20th century American businessman and federal politician
DATE OF BIRTH = May 30, 1888
PLACE OF BIRTH = Grassy Point, New York, united States
DATE OF DEATH = June 9, 1976
PLACE OF DEATH = New York City, United States


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