AL SMITH - MASTER OF POLITICS
From a young age Alfred Emanuel Smith exemplified a responsible and determined individual. This can be seen in his initiative to take action by quitting school and engaging in various occupations after his father passed away. Although he had little formal education, his intelligence and charisma would help play a major role in his success.
Mr. Smith's childhood was fairly normal. He was born in New York City on December 30, 1873 to the parents of Alfred Emanuel Smith and Catherine Mulvihill. His father was a truck driver and although his earnings were small, they were adequate enough to keep the family content. In 1886, his father's death placed serious financial strain on the family.1 Smith had been attending St. James' Parochial School, yet soon felt obligated to leave school and begin working to support his mother and sister. One can only imagine the many things going through this young boy's mind; at twelve years old he was forced to become a man and work for the welfare of his family.
The future governor held an array of positions before he obtained a job at Fulton Fish Market, where he labored long hours - beginning at four o' clock in the morning until five in the afternoon. Earning twelve dollars a week, Smith received a considerable wage even for a grown man.2 By 1895, he was still uncertain of a goal in life. However, from an early age he was enthusiastically outspoken. His character held an undying passion to eagerly speak his mind and this led to his attraction to the theater. Through acting, he naturally touched the emotions of many. The anxiety to be heard expressed his deeply felt need for an audience and soon he found himself craving a profession in politics.3...