Believe it or not, U.S. Presidents once upon a time came to Catholic University for the most mundane of events. When the cornerstone for Caldwell (then Divinity) Hall was laid in 1888, President Grover Cleveland was there. When the University formally opened a year later, President Benjamin Harrison showed up for the festivities, despite the downpour. Friends with Rector Thomas Conaty, William McKinley visited him at CUA in 1900.
Quite by accident, Theodore Roosevelt meandered over to the University grounds on his horse in 1905, though he seemed to enjoy chatting up some of the CUA’s first undergrads once he found himself on what we today call the quad. The less loquacious Calvin Coolidge showed up for the dedication of Mullen Library in 1924—there are no reports of “Silent Cal” being shushed by librarians.
Catholics and Politics: Charles Coughlin, John Ryan, and the 1936 Presidential Campaign Website…
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second President of the United States, served longer than any other President in United States history. Elected to four consecutive terms, Roosevelt served from 1933 until his death in 1945. Millions of Catholic voters helped bring Roosevelt his landslide victory in 1936. Estimates of the number of Catholics voting for FDR range from 70% – 81%.
None of this Catholic support was taken for granted during the campaign of 1936, however, nor did all Catholics support a second term for Roosevelt. To the contrary, relations between certain prominent Catholics and members of the Roosevelt administration were strained. Father Charles Coughlin, a former FDR supporter who had become an outspoken critic of the President during the 1936 campaign, actively campaigned against him in the months before the election. Father John Ryan, on the other hand, publicly supported Roosevelt during the campaign, delivering a national radio broadcast under the auspices of the Democratic National Committee on his behalf. This website features previously unavailable audio and documents related to the presidential campaign of 1936 and the involvement of each priest in that campaign.