This program will describe Governor Al Smith's progressive administration in 1920s New York State and the ways in which Smith's policies informed his presidential campaign. We will also explore the lives of recent-immigrant working-class voters in order to contextualize Smith's appeal to those groups in 1928. This history will reveal how, despite Smith's landslide defeat, his campaign anticipated the coming of a new urban liberal Democratic coalition on the eve of the New Deal.
Robert Chiles is co-editor of New York History and senior lecturer in history at the University of Maryland. He is the author of The Revolution of '28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal.