I Don't Want Elliot for My Captain

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(union bug)

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This button supports Wendell Wilkie's 1940 campaign against FDR. It refers to Roosevelt's son, Elliot's, commission as a captain in 1940, when he joined the Army Air Corps. Elliot had no previous military experience or college education so Roosevelt's opponents claimed that he pressured the military to make his son an officer, but the General in charge denied it. He and his older brother both became captains without any officer training, which sparked controversy. In response to criticism Elliot said that he enlisted at the lowest rank the army would give him, but his age forced him to accept a captain's commission. He also said he wanted to see action if the United States went to war. Critics claimed that he was too young at 30 to be made a captain when the country was not at war even if he had completed the requirements, which he had not. Elliott's military service was exemplary and criticism for his promotion decreased after the U.S. entered WWII. Elliot's commission became a huge campaign issue in the election because it was seen as abuse of power by the President and his family.


Kent, F. (1940, October 1). Captain Elliott Roosevelt, second son of President. The Spokesman Review.

(1940, October 8). Elliott asserts he tried to enter army as private: son of president declares his pleas were turned down by army officials; says age prevented getting commission lower than captain. Toledo Blade.

Tucker, R. (1940, October 9). News behind the news: Washington and national activities in government and politics. The Day. 

Catalog ID PO0482