John J. Raskob: A conservative Democrat opposed to FDR

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John J. Raskob was born March 19,1879 in Lockport, New York to a German-Irish Catholic family. He was a devout Catholic his entire life. In 1901, he was hired as a personal secretary for Pierre S. du Pont. In 1906, he married Helena Greene and together they had 13 children. In 1911, he became assistant treasurer of DuPont, by 1914, treasurer and in 1918, vice-president for finance of both DuPont and General Motors. In 1921, he was awarded St. Gregory’s Award by Pope Benedict XV. On July 5,1928, his son Bill Raskob died in a car accident in Wilmington, Delaware. After the death of his, he founded the Bill Raskob Foundation in honor of his son. In 1928, he supported Al Smith, a Catholic Democrat for President of the United States while his boss, Alfred P. Sloan supported Republican Herbert Hoover. Sloan gave him an ultimatum, either leave General Motors or the Democratic National Committee. From 1928 to 1932, Raskob was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Raskob resigned in 1932, after New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt won the nomination. Raskob and Al Smith were staunch opponents of FDR and his New Deal policies believing them to be radical. In 1934, Raskob along with many conservative Democrats and Republicans including Al Smith and Alfred P. Sloan founded the American Liberty League, a conservative political organization opposed to FDR and his New Deal policies. It was also revealed that Raskob was an active fundraiser for Georgia governor, Eugene Talmadge, considered a possible anti-Roosevelt candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1936 Presidential election. In 1940, the American Liberty League dissolved. He continued his religious philanthropy and other causes. He died on October 15,1950 in Wilmington, Delaware. He is interred at Cathedral Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

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