Purpose of Paper
Written for Doctor Jose Torre's "History of New York" course, this paper examines the early 20th century's shift from TR progressivism to FDR liberalism by identifying a vital intermediary between the two traditions. Governor Al Smith inherited a progressive reform movement that was mired in its own condescension and pious abstention from the dirtier aspects of New York politics. But Smith, a political brawler of the Tammany stripe, managed to wrangle a diverse coalition to effect real change in his state, a coalition that FDR would take nationwide in his 1932 campaign and his implementation of the New Deal. Viewed through the lens of Smith's revolutionary state parks program, this piece reveals the many ways that Al Smith brought New York politics to the national stage and helped create what we recognize as modern liberalism.
Ryan, John Michael, "From Conservation to Recreation: Al Smith and Robert Moses and the Dawn of the Modern Liberalism" (2020). FODL Library Research Awards. 15.