Al E Smith
- Category : Business-Banker-Financier
- Type : PE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (45)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Demands 2
American politician, four-term governor of New York and US Presidential candidate in 1928 whom Franklin Roosevelt called "the Happy Warrior." He was the first Roman Catholic to ever be nominated for US President by a major party.
As a child, Smith and his sister lived with their parents in a reasonably comfortable low-middle class home. Their father was a trucker and Al went to Catholic school. When he was 12 years old, his father died and Al left school to get a job. He worked tirelessly in menial jobs for an oil company and then with a fish market. At age 15 ,he was making the then-considerable wage of $15 per week.
He got a job as a clerk in the office of the Commissioner of Jurors in1895 and was bitten by the political bug. A member of Tammany, and liked by all, he was selected as a candidate for the Assembly and then as Tammany district leader. He worked hard, studying the workings of the government even at this local level, and his social skills, along with his reputation for diligence and study, served him well.
He spent 12 years in the Assembly and in 1911, he was appointed chairman of the important Ways and Means Committee. The following year he became the Democratic floor leader and in 1913 he was elected Speaker.
In 1915, Tammany leaders named Smith as their candidate for Sheriff of New York, and in that post, he earned his first substantial salary. In 1917, he was elected President of the Board of Aldermen. The following year he was nominated for Governor nearly unanimously by delegates who loved the man but had mixed feelings about his Tammany affiliations. He won the election. He lost the election of 1920 but was re-elected in 1922 and served three more terms.
A movement to nominate him for Democratic candidate in the 1924 presidential election failed. Historians have recognized the role of antipathy toward his Roman Catholic faith as a leading cause of his failure to garner enough votes. He continued serving as New York's beloved governor, completing four terms in office. In 1928 he was chosen as the Democratic party's candidate for President , again nominated by Franklin Roosevelt, but lost in the election. After the election, he went into private business, contributing financially to the construction of the Empire State Building and becoming president of the corporation that operated the building for many years.
After Roosevelt became governor of New York, Smith felt slighted by his former friend and they became rivals for the 1932 Democratic presidential nomination. After Roosevelt's selection, Smith began to work against the next President of the US, opposing The New Deal principles, and supporting Republican candidates.
Smith had married his childhood sweetheart, Catherine Dunn, on May 6, 1900, and they had five children. His beloved wife died on May 4, 1944. On August 10, 1944, he was stricken with heat exhaustion and, suffering from general ill health, he was admitted to the hospital. He died at the Rockefeller Institute Hospital in New York City on October 4, 1944 at 6:28 AM EWT according to his obituary in the New York Times.