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

By Thomas H. Greer | Go to book overview

7
Truth and Citizenship

A PHILOSOPHY OF ACTION based upon empirical knowledge requires a free flow of ideas. Roosevelt not only had the deepest instinct for free inquiry and expression, but he regarded them as indispensable to progress and democracy. He said in 1939 that men needed, more than ever before, the emancipation from error promised by the words, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."1

He placed intellectual freedom above every other in importance. "The truth is found," he declared, "when men are free to pursue it. It is this belief in freedom of the mind, written into our fundamental law, and observed in our everyday dealings with the problems of life, that distinguishes us as a nation...."2 He agreed with Jefferson that all truths were the product of a continual refining process: the unending combat of ideas. Institutions which could not withstand the force of free inquiry were doomed. The untrammeled exchange of ideas, moreover, was the mainspring of creativity.

Roosevelt was witness to the shackles placed on thought in other lands. He deplored every form of tyranny over the mind; yet he was confident that in the end the shackles would be broken. "We all know that books burn," he wrote in 1942, "yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire.... No man and no force can put

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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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