Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 19th Visit to Georgia
May 1 - May 30, 1930
Roosevelt again took a spring vacation in Warm Springs after the New York legislative session. At the time the governor’s term was only for two years, so he was contemplating whether to run for a second term as governor, while still being urged by some to run for President. He had not yet seriously considered this, as he explained to a friend:
“… Many thanks for your nice letter, but do, please, get it out of your head that I am in any shape, manner or form, thinking about 1932, or anything like it… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 117.
Roosevelt did his best to relax and avoid political disputes:
“… If you were down here you would make no comment on anything but the delights of the pool and the balminess of the weather. Do not tempt me to comment on water power, prohibition, … or any other controversial questions… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 116.
In spite of his non-interest in the Presidency, Roosevelt could not help but acknowledge the national situation following the collapse of the stock market. In another letter to a friend he expressed some general opinions:
“… There is no question in my mind that it is time for the country to become fairly radical for at least one generation. History shows that where this occurs occasionally, nations are saved from revolutions. One of the penalties of being Governor is that one has little time to think of the broader national problems. I have felt much out of them during the past year and a half because from 1913 on I had been in pretty close touch with the national problems and had, to a large extent, lost touch with the purely state problems in New York… . It would be misunderstood if I were to tell the public that I regard the present business slump as a great blessing, for while a nation goes speculation crazy and everybody is employed, the average citizen simply declines to think of fundamental principles… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 118.
Obviously, the “business slump” would get much worse and then Roosevelt would not consider it a “blessing.” Still he was enjoying Warm Spring, as he wrote to old friend and ex-Governor Al Smith:
“… I am having a grand time down here but still seen unable to catch up with correspondence, which appears to be impossible to escape. I still look forward to the time when you will come down and visit this place. I know you would enjoy it. We have a nice golf course and a swimming pool that I know is the best in the world! …” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 119.
Roosevelt wrote Lt. Governor Herbert Lehman, who was thinking of not running for re-election, to encourage him to run. In the process he explained why he (Roosevelt) had decided to seek a second term as Governor:
“Please excuse me for not writing before this but I have been much occupied with a thousand things down here which had to be attended to and, incidentally, I have been trying to get a little holiday from any thought of Albany! … [Y]ou and I are just about in the same boat, because you and I both have many reasons why we should not run again this autumn – perfectly good personal reasons and probably wholly in accord with our own personal desires. Nevertheless, you and I both have the same kind of sense of obligation about going through with a task once undertaken and, frankly, the only reason either of us would run again is that sense of obligation to a great many million people… . And in the long run I am inclined to think that you and I would be more useful for the next two years in our present position than if we were to return to our own private interests and private life… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 120.
November 4, 1930 - Roosevelt was re-elected Governor of New York, winning by over 725,000 votes and doing something unprecedented in New York politics – winning heavily Republican up state New York. Nationally, as the Depression deepened, the electorate showed their displeasure with the Republicans and elected a heavily Democratic majority to Congress in opposition to Republican President Herbert Hoover. Calls for Roosevelt to challenge Hoover had been increasing, and soon after the 1930 elections, Roosevelt confided to friends that he would indeed seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1932.
The year 1930 was also a successful one for the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. While it had grown steadily since its inception, 1930 was a watershed year – because with Roosevelt so busy in the political arena, fund raising for the Foundation ceased being primarily a one-man affair. Other patients and friends of the Foundation were responsible for raising the $40,000 to build the Norman Wilson Infirmary in 1930. Wilson was one of the early companions who had died shortly after leaving Warm Springs. The Infirmary was designed for patients with minor illnesses.