AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED TO PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT REGARDING HIS BID FOR THE GOVERNORSHIP OF CALIFORNIA. Upton Sinclair.

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED TO PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT REGARDING HIS BID FOR THE GOVERNORSHIP OF CALIFORNIA

New York: September 30, 1933. A single page manuscript letter on Hotel Algonquin stationary, dated September 30, 1933. There is a little toning and wear, and a staple has been removed from above the printed header, otherwise in very good condition. In the letter, addressed to "My dear President Roosevelt", Sinclair declares his plan to "contest at the primaries the [Democratic] nomination for Governor, upon a program to 'end poverty in California'", and asks whether he and his wife could meet with the Roosevelts to discuss the matter further. It was written only a few weeks after Sinclair visited Roosevelt at Hyde Park where an economic summit was held over the Labor Day weekend. Upton Sinclair’s 1934 California gubernatorial campaign is regarded as a watershed moment in American politics. Following two previous unsuccessful attempts at running for the governorship of California as a member of the Socialist Party, the muckraking author of The Jungle (1906) had been encouraged by the election of Roosevelt in 1932 to change his affiliation to the Democrats in September 1933. In his book "The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics" (1992), Greg Mitchell writes, "Sinclair’s candidacy challenged, perplexed, and ultimately embarrassed Franklin Roosevelt. The muckraker emerged as a political messiah at a tender hour for the White House. After an auspicious start, the New Deal was foundering. Progressives implored FDR to move to the left, businessmen and bankers exerted pressure on the right. Sinclair put the profoundly ambivalent President on the spot: if he endorsed his party’s candidate in California, FDR’s critics would accuse him of supporting socialism; if he didn’t some of his friends might call him a coward." In the context of the Great Depression, the "End Poverty in California" movement formed the basis of Sinclair’s campaign, calling for a large-scale public works program and reforms to taxes and pensions – a vision he laid out in "I, Governor of California, and How I Ended Poverty: A True Story of the Future" (1933). Theodore Dreiser called it "the most impressive political phenomenon that America yet produced," while the New York Times described it as "the first serious movement against the profit system in the United States." Sinclair’s campaign gained widespread support, and formed his most successful attempt at elected office, gaining nearly 38% of the vote. Vociferously opposed by Hollywood studio bosses, the coalition of forces against Sinclair was one of the first to employ modern methods of political campaigning typified by the use of external media and publicity consultants. Ultimately abandoned by Roosevelt and defeated by Frank Merriam, his Republican rival, he recorded his experiences in "I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked" (1935). Despite his defeat, Sinclair recorded twice as many votes as any previous Democratic candidate for governor in California. As Mitchell notes, "Roosevelt may have revived the Democratic party in the state in 1932, but it was EPIC that established it as a progressive force." It also exerted profound influence on Roosevelt, who drew on EPIC’s income and corporate tax structures to support his New Deal programs. Even Merriam, as governor, took some of Sinclair’s tax and pension ideas, confirming the liberal-leftist ideology as a significant force in California politics. Very good. Item #70581

Price: $2,000.00

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