Richard Moe Examines FDR's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War

For Immediate Release:
October 31, 2013
Contact: Steven Woolfolk
Richard Moe Examines FDR's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War

On August 31, 1939, nearing the end of his second and presumably final term in office, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was contemplating construction of his presidential library and planning retirement.

The next day, German tanks crossed the Polish border, Britain and France declared war, and the world quickly changed.

FDR found himself forced to consider a dramatically different set of circumstances, which are explored by Richard Moe in a discussion of his book Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War on Thursday, November 7, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Moe focuses on a turning point in American political history: FDR's decision to seek a third term. Often overlooked between the passage and implementation of the New Deal and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that decision was far from inevitable. But after Republicans nominated Wendell Willkie in June 1940, FDR became convinced that no other Democrat could both maintain the legitimacy of the New Deal and mobilize the nation for war.

Moe depicts the duality of Roosevelt: the bold, perceptive, prescient, and moral statesman who set lofty and principled goals and the sometimes cautious, ambitious, arrogant, and manipulative politician in pursuit of them.

Richard Moe was president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1993-2010. He was chief of staff to Vice President Walter Mondale and served on President Jimmy Carter's senior staff. His books include The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers and Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of Sprawl.

Moe's presentation is part of the 2013 Hail to the Chiefs Series on the American Presidency, which is co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library

and the Truman Library Institute and made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund.   

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at or call 816.701.3407. 

Kansas City Public Library Beta