The Election of 1936

In 1936 Democratic president Franklin Roosevelt was seeking reelection to the presidency. His main opponent was Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon, a Republican. Twenty-four years earlier Landon had left the Republican party and supported Theodore Roosevelt's progressive "Bull Moose" candidacy. Now Landon was leading the Republican charge against a popular incumbent.

Shortly after the site launched in 2002, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE asked viewers to vote on the same presidential issues. Here are the results:

Role of the Government

During the Depression there was a lot of discussion about the government's role in the economy. Should it intervene or should the government let the market determine the course?
Candidate 1 -- Wants government regulation removed and urges that the states become more involved in addressing concerns.
Candidate 2 -- Believes the federal government should intervene directly and aggressively to solve economic conditions.





Pension Funds

The country was divided over a new government-sponsored pension fund -- Social Security. Some thought the government was overstepping its bounds, while others thought it was the government's duty to sponsor such a program. 
Candidate 1 -- Feels that better, private pension funds should be offered to workers.
Candidate 2 -- Feels it is the government's responsibility to set up and administer a pension fund, i.e., Social Security.




Role of America in the World

Military events in Europe and Asia prompted questions about the kind of role the U.S. should have on the world stage.
Candidate 1 -- Wants the U.S. to play a strong role in the international arena.
Candidate 2 -- Supports a foreign policy characterized as "isolationist." 





Here are the actual results of the election of 1936:

  Popular Votes % Electoral Votes
Landon [R] 16,700,000 36.5 8
Roosevelt [D] 27,700,000 60.8 523

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

Who is your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Reagan? Clinton? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH