1920 Democratic National Convention

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1920 Democratic National Convention
1920 Presidential Election
James M. Cox 1920.jpg Roosevelt20.jpg
Cox and Roosevelt
Date(s) June 28 - July 6, 1920
City San Francisco, California
Venue Civic Auditorium
Presidential nominee James M. Cox of Ohio
Vice Presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York
1916  ·  1924

The 1920 Democratic National Convention was held at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California from June 28 to July 6, 1920. It resulted in the nomination of Governor James M. Cox of Ohio for President and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt from New York for Vice President.

Neither President Woodrow Wilson, in spite of his failing health, nor former Secretary of State and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan had entirely given up hope that their party would turn to them, but neither was, in the event, formally nominated. In addition to the eventual nominee, Cox, the other high-scoring candidates as the voting proceeded were: Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo and Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. On the forty-fourth ballot, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio was nominated for the Presidency.[1]

The platform adopted by the convention supported the League of Nations, albeit with qualifications, and women's suffrage.

Democratic candidates[edit]

Guest pass for June 28
A guest ticket purchased for the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

Although William Gibbs McAdoo (Wilson's son-in-law and former Treasury Secretary) was the strongest candidate, Wilson blocked his nomination in hopes a deadlocked convention would demand that he run for a third term, even though he was seriously ill, physically immobile, and in seclusion at the time. The Democrats, meeting in San Francisco between June 28 and July 6 (the first time a major party held its nominating convention in an urban center on the Pacific coast), nominated another newspaper editor from Ohio, Governor James M. Cox, as their presidential candidate, and 38-year-old Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fifth cousin of the late president Theodore Roosevelt, for vice-president.

Early favorites for the nomination had included McAdoo and Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer. Others placed in nomination included New York Governor Al Smith, United Kingdom Ambassador John W. Davis, New Jersey Governor Edward I. Edwards, and Oklahoma Senator Robert Latham Owen.


Vice presidential nomination[edit]

It seemed that this was going to be a free for all too, but Cox had asked the delegates to support former Assistant Navy Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt, because, as some thought, he had a "magic name." FDR was nominated by voice vote and received the nomination by acclamation.[2]

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by


  1. ^ Pietrusza, David. 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. New York, Carroll and Graf, 2007.
  2. ^ Staff writer(s) (July 6, 1920). "Roosevelt Given Second Place; Convention Ends". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA). Retrieved February 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]