Excerpts from High Tension

"See inside" High Tension by clicking the links below.

  • Chapter One - Throwing Down the Gauntlet
    In the midst of the economic crisis that would come to be called the Great Depression, a crowd of two thousand thronged to Portland's Union Station on September 21, 1932, to greet presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt's campaign train. The American Legion's national-champion drum and bugle corps from nearby Salem stood by, ramrod straight, the morning sun glinting off their blue and gold uniforms. Police struggled to hold the crowd at bay as the train approached. The next morning's Oregonian would describe the clamorous welcome as merely "cordial." No fan of Roosevelt, the paper had recently editorialized in support of President Herbert Hoover: "As the result of Hoover's policy and leadership confidence is restored, industry is reviving, closed banks are reopening.... Let Hoover go on and complete his program."

    Roosevelt and his swelling ranks of supporters saw the state of the nation, and Hoover's job performance, quite differently. The Hoover administration, Roosevelt had declared, had "attempted to minimize the crash and mislead the people as to its gravity, ... refused to recognize and correct the evils, ... delayed relief and forgot reform."

    As station workers rushed to attach a gangplank to Roosevelt's car at the back of the train, the candidate emerged, leaning on the arm of his son James. The crowd roared as drums beat in vigorous welcome, with the frenetic clicking of photographers' cameras adding to the percussive fanfare. Roosevelt swung one and then the other of his iron- braced legs forward to "walk" down the gangplank, his famous broad smile betraying not the slightest notion of effort. Read more. [PDF]

  • Holding Companies [PDF]

  • TVA [PDF]

  • Rural Electrification [PDF]

  • Columbia River Dams [PDF]

  • Franklin Roosevelt [PDF]

  • Wendell Willkie [PDF]

Other related writing by John A. Riggs.

High Tension  FDR's Battle to Power America