Smith, Alfred Emanuel (1873-1944)

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Al Smith was the first Catholic nominated to run for the presidency. Born in New York City of Irish immigrant parents, he left school before the 8th grade to work. With the help of Tom Foley, Tammany Hall political machine leader, he received his first political appointment. After many positions in the ‘machinery”, he was elected governor in 1918 and passed social reform legislation. The Democrats nominated him for the presidency in 1928. He lost overwhelmingly to Herbert Hoover, the eventual 31st President. Many suggest his defeat was a result of his Catholicism.

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Smith on the Web:
SMITH, Alfred E.
A concise biography of Smith.

Often referred to as “The Happy Warrior”, this site details Smith’s rise from working in the Fulton fish market to his loss in the presidential election of 1928.

The American Presidency
Describes Smith’s presidential efforts. Includes reading list.

Books about Smith:
Eldot, Paula. Governor Alfred E. Smith: The Politician As Reformer. New York: Garland, 1983.

Handlin, Oscar. Al Smith and His America. Boston: Northeastern Univ. pr., 1987.

Josephson, Matthew. Al Smith: Hero of the Cities. Boston: Houghton Mufflin, 1969.