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Encyclopedia > James A. Farley

In American history, James Farley led the Bonus army in 1932.

James (Jim) Aloysius Farley (May 30, 1888 - June 9, 1976) was born in Grassy Point, New York, one of five sons of Irish Catholic immigrants. His father was involved in the brick-making industry, first as a laborer and later as a part owner of three small schooners engaged in the brick-carrying trade.

Farley always had his heart set on a political career. In 1911, he officially began his service as a politician when he was elected town clerk of Grassy Point. During the next seventeen years he held various state and party offices and became secretary of the Democratic State Committee in 1928. Introduced to FDR by Ed Flynn, FDR asked Farley to run his 1928 campaign for New York governor. Working closely with Eleanor Roosevelt (ER) and the Women's Division, Farley helped FDR win his narrow victory in the 1928 gubernatorial election, his reelection in 1930. and his nomination and election to the presidency in 1932. Like his sometime rival Louis Howe, Farley grew close to both Roosevelts and respected ER's organizational and political talents.

FDR appointed Farley Postmaster General and party chairman in 1933 and he became one of FDR's closest political advisors. Farley also controlled patronage in the new administration and became very influential within the Democratic party throughout the United States. Farley was dedicated to the New Deal and to getting legislative support for FDR's programs. Additionally, he helped to bring about the end to Prohibition and the defeat of the Ludlow Resolution, a 1939 attempt by Congress to limit the foreign affairs powers of the president. Farley's close relationship with FDR deteriorated in 1940 because Farley opposed FDR's pursuit of a third term and because FDR believed that Farley had presidential ambitions of his own. In 1940, Farley resigned as Postmaster General and party chairman to mount an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1940. ER flew to the convention to try to repair the damage in the Roosevelt-Farley relationship, and although Farley remained close to ER, he felt betrayed by FDR and refused to join FDR's 1940 campaign team.

In 1938, Farley wrote his autobiography, Behind the Ballots. After leaving the administration, Farley worked for the Coca-Cola Export Corporation of New York until his retirement in 1973. Remembered as one of America's greatest campaign managers, Farley remained active in state and national politics until his death on June 9, 1976, in New York City. It was Farley who, after Roosevelt's overwhelming victory over Republican Alf Landon in 1936, quipped, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont."

External links

  • http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/farley-james.htm
Preceded by:
Walter F. Brown
Postmaster General Succeeded by:
Frank C. Walker



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