October 29, 2015 Roosevelt's Decision to Run for Third Term Is Subject of Book Discussion

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

On Aug. 31, 1939, nearing the end of his second and presumably final term in office, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was working in the Oval Office and contemplating construction of his presidential library and his retirement. But the world changed overnight. The next day German tanks crossed the Polish border, and Britain and France had declared war. FDR found himself being forced to consider a dramatically different scenario.

In “Roosevelt’s Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War” (Oxford University Press, 2013), author Richard Moe focuses on FDR’s decision to run a third time, a decision that was far from inevitable. Moe will discuss and sign his book on at noon on Thursday, Nov. 5, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. This Books & Beyond event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book and Manuscript Division. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Roosevelt’s decision is overlooked between the passage and implementation of the New Deal and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As the election loomed, he refused to comment, confiding in no one and scrambling the politics of his own party. But after the Republicans surprisingly nominated Wendell Willkie in July 1940, FDR became convinced that no other Democrat could both maintain the legitimacy of the New Deal and mobilize the nation for war. With Hitler on the verge of conquering Europe, Roosevelt, still hedging, began to maneuver his way to the center of the political stage.

Richard Moe has had a distinguished career in government, law and historic preservation. He served as chief of staff to Vice President Walter Mondale, was a partner in a law firm and has served as president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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PR 15-201
ISSN 0731-3527