Alfred Emanuel Smith
Biography of Alfred Emanuel Smith
Alfred Emanuel "Al" Smith (December 30, 1873 – October 4, 1944) was an American statesman who was elected the 42nd Governor of New York three times and was the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate in 1928. He was the foremost urban leader of the efficiency-oriented Progressive Movement and was noted for achieving a wide range of reforms as governor in the 1920s. He was also linked to the notorious Tammany Hall machine that controlled Manhattan politics; was a strong opponent of prohibition and was the first Roman Catholic nominee for President.
As a committed "wet" (anti-Prohibition candidate), he attracted millions of voters of all backgrounds, particularly those concerned about the corruption and lawlessness brought about by the Eighteenth Amendment. However, he was unpopular among certain segments, including Southern Baptists and German Lutherans, who believed the Catholic Church and the Pope would dictate his policies. Most importantly, this was a time of national prosperity under a Republican Presidency and Smith lost in a landslide to Republican Herbert Hoover. Smith attempted the 1932 nomination but was defeated by his former ally and successor as New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smith entered business in New York City and became an increasingly vocal opponent of Roosevelt's New Deal.