Share this

A Third Term for FDR: The Election of 1940, John W. Jeffries

Reviewed by Emile Lester

BUY

 

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. ends his Age of Roosevelt trilogy about the rise of the New Deal with the Democrats’ resounding victory in the 1936 elections. Schlesinger's choice reflects the scholarly consensus of his time, shared by historians of later generations, that the 1936 election cemented Franklin D. Roosevelt's domestic legacy. The 1940 election, according to this consensus, was focused on looming conflict with the Axis powers.

John W. Jeffries's A Third Term for FDR provides a provocative riposte to this conventional wisdom. Given Roosevelt's conflicting statements and propensity for subterfuge, the exact date and nature of the tipping point for his decision to seek a third term must remain opaque. But Jeffries amply documents Roosevelt's concern with the fragility of the New Deal in the wake of his failure to purge conservative Democrats in the 1938 congressional elections and as his two most likely successors, John Garner and James Farley, gravitated to the party's conservative wing. While Polish and Jewish voters anxious about events overseas may have sided in greater numbers with Roosevelt in 1940 than previously because of foreign policy concerns, the victories of Roosevelt and the Democrats in 1940 were driven by the same New Deal–friendly alliance of urban, working-class, and ethnic voters that

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Remembering Fred I. Greenstein

Eisenhower as an Activist President: A Look at New Evidence
Fred I. Greenstein

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS