New Book: Al Smith and the Revolution of 1928


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revolution of 28Robert Chiles new book, The Revolution of ’28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal (Cornell University Press, 2018) explores the career of New York Governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee Alfred E. Smith.

The Revolution of ’28 charts the rise of that idiomatic progressivism during Smith’s early years as a state legislator through his time as governor of the Empire State in the 1920s, before proceeding to a revisionist narrative of the 1928 presidential campaign, exploring the ways in which Smith’s gubernatorial progressivism was presented to a national audience.

Chiles offers a historical argument that describes the impact of this coalition on the new liberal formation that was to come with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, demonstrating the broad practical consequences of Smith’s political career. In particular, the book notes how Smith’s progressive agenda became Democratic partisan dogma and a rallying point for policy formation and electoral success at the state and national levels.

Robert Chiles earned his PhD in History from the University of Maryland. He has published articles in journals including Environmental History, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and New York History, and has taught at Loyola University Maryland and Goucher College. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Maryland.

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