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Senator Barkley from Coolidge to Depression

Senator Barkley from Coolidge to Depression

(p.125) 9 Senator Barkley from Coolidge to Depression
Alben Barkley
James K. Libbey
University Press of Kentucky

Harding administration scandals and the president’s death did not prevent Coolidge from winning election as president in 1924 by a huge popular vote. Barkley characterized the new administration as a period of calm but of little accomplishment. The focus of his attention was on the economic depression suffered by his farmer constituents. Much congressional attention centered on the McNary-Haugen farm bill, which Coolidge vetoed twice. During the 1928 Democratic national convention, Barkley was a failed candidate for the vice presidential nomination. He seconded the presidential nomination of Al Smith and served as Smith’s campaign manager in Kentucky. Hoover won the White House. The new president signed the Agricultural Marketing Act into law, but it proved to be a failure largely because of the Great Depression. Barkley strongly opposed the Hoover-signed Hawley-Smoot Tariff. He correctly predicted that the high protective rates would shrink foreign markets for US products and thus expand rather than reduce the Depression.

Keywords:   Barkley and family, Warren G. Harding, J. Calvin Coolidge, McNary-Haugen farm bill, Alfred E. Smith, Herbert C. Hoover, Agricultural Marketing Act, Great Depression, Hawley-Smoot Tariff

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