Smith, Al(redirected from Al Smith)
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Smith, (Alfred Emanuel) Al(1873–1944) political leader; born in New York City. Leaving school at age 12, he worked for the local Democratic organization and with its help was elected to the state assembly (1903). By 1913 he was assembly speaker, and in 1918 he was elected governor of New York; losing his first reelection bid, he won back the state house for the next three two-year terms; he proved an able administrator and surprisingly liberal and internationalist for someone who had emerged from the Democratic machine. After nearly capturing the 1924 Democratic presidential nomination, he won it in 1928, but, handicapped in part by his Catholicism, lost the election overwhelmingly. After unsuccessfully battling Franklin D. Roosevelt for the 1932 nomination, he came to oppose New Deal policies. He received many honors as a Catholic layman.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.