What Roosevelt Thought: The Social and Political Ideas of Franklin D. Roosevelt

By Thomas H. Greer | Go to book overview

2
Unto Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's

THE STATE, IN ROOSEVELT'S MIND, was merely an instrument for achieving the "more abundant life." During an age when the State in many lands became an idol, a devouring leviathan, Roosevelt clung to the view that it was a servant of individuals, not their master. There was no awe, no mysticism, in his concept. He would have accepted the simple and practical explanation of Aristotle-that the State originates in order to satisfy the bare necessities of life, and continues in existence for the sake of a good life.


The Nature of the State

His philosophy of government was long years in developing and reached maturity before he entered the White House. The fundamental ideas he held were his own-rooted in the tradition of Jefferson, shaped by association with Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson, and affirmed by his own political experience. The men who surrounded him later, such as Raymond Moley and other members of the brain trust, helped him to apply his ideas to the special conditions of the thirties; they did not give him any basic political concepts. These he already possessed. His definition of the State he had given to the New York legislature in 1931: "What is the State? It is the duly constituted representative of an organized society of human beings, created by them for their mu-

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What Roosevelt Thought: The Social and Political Ideas of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface - Roosevelt: A Practical Philosopher ix
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Vision of the Abundant Life 3
  • 2 - Unto Unto Caesar What is Caesar's 26
  • 3 - Government and the Economy 45
  • 4 - A More Perfect Union: The American Constitutional System 75
  • 5 - The People's Choice: The Presidency 88
  • 6 - The Great Game of Politics 114
  • 7 - Truth and Citizenship 142
  • 8 - The Good Neighbor 158
  • 9 - Strategy for Survival 183
  • 10 - Roosevelt: Radical or Conservative? 206
  • Notes and Bibliography 215
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliographical Note 229
  • Index 235
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