Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Third American Revolution

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Third American Revolution

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Third American Revolution

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Third American Revolution


Roosevelt's New Deal resulted in such dramatic changes within the United States that it merits the label "revolutionary" and ranks with the work of Washington and Lincoln in its influence on the American nation. The New Deal was not simply the response to a severe economic crisis; it was also an expression of FDR's well-developed political ideology stemming from his religious ideas and his experience in the Progressive movement of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

" Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Third American Revolution" describes the unfolding of his New Deal response to the crisis of the Depression and chronicles the bitter conservative opposition that resisted every step in the Roosevelt revolution. The author's analysis of Roosevelt's political thought is supported by FDR's own words contained in the key documents and various speeches of his political career. This book also documents FDR's recognition of the dangers to democracy from unresponsive government and identifies his specific motivations to provide for the general welfare.


The course of the American democratic experiment was set in the colonial era even before the establishment of the United States. By 1776, each of the thirteen colonies had established governments more broadly democratic than any that people enjoyed elsewhere. Three great turning points reset the course of the experiment. The original revolution under the leadership of George Washington established democratic liberty in a national context. The second pivot came under Abraham Lincoln, whose work confirmed and extended the constitutional commitment to democratic equality as an ideal, though not well or consistently honored for decades thereafter. This book brings into focus a third revolutionary moment in American history when Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation to recognize that the democratic experiment and the promise of the founding fathers required a broad commitment to fraternity, that common effort to secure and expand the general welfare of citizens. It was an idea both implied and explicit in the founding documents of the republic.

Roosevelt saw that the requirements of a healthy democracy and the demands of simple justice called for a greater measure of material security. His New Deal adapted the democratic agenda accordingly. That adjustment required new and much expanded action by government to secure the blessings of liberty and equality by establishing mechanisms for more effective fraternal support and security.

Americans have argued about the proper role of a national government ever since the struggle over the ratification of the Constitution and the conflicting appeals of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson . . .

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