Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 24th Visit to Georgia
October 23 - 24, 1932
Though the autumn of 1932 was devoted to the presidential campaign, Roosevelt managed to squeak in one, very brief visit to Warm Springs. Between campaign stops in Atlanta, he rode down for one day on October 23.
Describing the scene of Roosevelt’s passing through Atlanta, an Atlanta Constitution writer said:
“Today Georgia welcomes him in heartfelt, joyous acclaim, a modern Moses who is to lead a darkened America out of a wilderness of depression.” Source: Atlanta Constitution, October 24, 1932, p. 1.
A crowd of over 10,000 people enthusiastically welcomed Roosevelt home to Warm Springs.The patients and staff welcomed him with a parade, then with the children sitting on the ground and other patients on the hospital porch, Roosevelt gave a quick speech:
“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!” Source: Theo Lippman, Jr., The Squire of Warm Springs: F.D.R. in Georgia 1924-1945, (Playboy Press, Chicago, 1977), p. 71.
Roosevelt then returned to Atlanta; he did not leave the car during this visit. Atlanta had been proclaimed this day “Roosevelt Day.” Roosevelt was honored with a parade attended by over 200,000 vocal supporters. Roosevelt mounted a stage [see photo] overflowing with flowers to deliver a campaign speech in which he scored the incumbent Hoover administration for failing to actively combat the Depression, which was hitting many already poor southerners especially hard. In his drive through the South Roosevelt made reference to “destruction, delay, deceit, and despair—the four horsemen of the G.O.P.” Upon his departure, Roosevelt requested that the flowers adorning the stage be delivered to the children’s ward at Grady Hospital.
November 8, 1932—Roosevelt was elected president in a landslide over incumbent Herbert Hoover, with the Democrats also attaining significant majorities in both houses of Congress. In Georgia, with only a few precincts left uncounted, Roosevelt had won by a record margin of 156,060-11,541. All but three of Georgia’s counties had gone for Roosevelt, and those three were among those with returns still incomplete. Nationwide Roosevelt won the electoral vote 472-59, carrying all but six states. In Meriwether County Roosevelt won overwhelmingly, 2900-37! In his four presidential elections, Roosevelt carried Meriwether County by margins ranging from 12:1 to 50:1. Ironically, he never carried Dutchess County, New York. Patients at Warm Springs watched the election results being posted on a specially erected “scoreboard,” and cheered as it became apparent that Roosevelt was a big winner.