On Tuesday, November 7, 1944, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as President of the United States by defeating Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

FDR won 36 states to Dewey's 12. There were only 48 states at the time, as Hawaii and Alaska had yet to join the Union.

Three days before the election, FDR attended the final political rally in his honor. Five months later, Roosevelt was dead.

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FDR's final campaign rally, 80 years ago, was at Boston's Fenway Park, packed with 40,000 supporters who came to listen to the president. I suspect that the two young, handsome entertainers who accompanied FDR to Fenway might have contributed to the crowd size.

Francis Albert Sinatra, better known to the bobbysoxer crowd in 1944 as "Frank" or "Frankie," and movie star Orson Welles appeared with FDR that night at Fenway Park.

FDR's Final Campaign Rally Was At Boston's Fenway Park
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The Boston Globe reported Roosevelt's "big open car" was driven onto the field through the Landsdowne Street gate "at exactly 9 p.m." and onto a "huge wooden ramp" erected in the "exact center" of the field.

"The crowd roared its enthusiasm as Orson Welles and Frank Sinatra were introduced," reported the Globe.

Wellesnet.com says, "Sinatra sang 'America the Beautiful' and Welles pushed for a fourth term for the incumbent Democrat."

Sinatra would later endorse and work to elect Democrat U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts in the 1960 presidential election. The pair eventually had a falling out, and Sinatra later campaigned for Republican Ronald Reagan.

It's hard to imagine Fenway Park used for a campaign rally, but in 1944, few other venues could accommodate 40,000 people.

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