Spoken Word | A Rare Firsthand Accounting of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal America

Updated: 11/14/2019 at 11:55 a.m.

During times of prosperity we seldom reflect on the historical qualities of great American leaders who have crafted the safeguards that have upheld and protected the nation during times of crisis. Albeit, there have been but a few truly great minds to review. And, while America is neither thoroughly prosperous or peaceful at this time, moreover, it is not thoroughly broken, the nation has arrived yet again at a time when society (local and global) is on the brink of alarming economic inequity; heading toward a break in our system of governance in a way last seen at the time of The Great Depression, or more recently in the wake of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis.

With two times the experience in matters of economic inequity and corrupt financial practices, does America now know better to do better?

In this historic episode of The Open Mind, a Special: March 4th 1933, host Richard D. Heffner, then Dowling Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers University, reaches back into his interview archives for a look at a great leader and reformer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His guest, James Roosevelt, California Congressman, son, and Secretary to The President (Roosevelt); James Farley, the 53rd U.S. Postmaster General; Henry A. Wallace, 33rd Vice President of The United States, United States Secretary of Commerce, and award-winning journalist; Thomas (The Cork) G. Corcoran, advisor for Roosevelt's New Deal programs; and Ernest Lindley, Oxford Scholar and reporter for The New York Herald. Each, recalling and analyzing first-hand the mind and methods of President Roosevelt on the way to becoming one of America's greatest transformational leaders during the peak of The Great Depression.

You will hear the qualities of soul, compass, and strength during a period of urgent demand in the face of crisis.

Click here to be redirected to PBS:

Module 9 | Prompt

  1. How did the New Deal revive American prosperity?
  2. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coalesced a nation during tremendous upheaval. How?
  3. How and why was the U.S. banking industry allowed to once again destabilize the U.S. economy in 2008, despite the lessons of The Great Depression?
  4. What will it take to fix America's growing wealth gap and bloated banking system?


Having barely escaped a near total collapse of the U.S. banking system the led to The Great Depression, Thomas G. Corcoran (advisor to President G. Roosevelt) recalls pivotal moments from Franklin D. Roosevelt's early days in office:

"...we began to uncover things that all the knowledgeable ones of us knew about, but which [we] had hoped would not come to light at the wrong time. But by the time the President was ready to come to office, The Guardian [bank] in Michigan, Detroit had failed. It failed because Henry Ford refused to support (unintelligible) deposits. He thought It was better to have the banks fail then go on the way we were. The great bank in Chicago (Dawes) had demanded 100% coverage of its deposits or [else]... It actually put the pistol to the RFC (The United States Reconstruction Finance Corporation) and demanded he had to have 100% coverage of his deposits, or he'd pull the trigger.


I remember watching him during that [first] year - of that year of quiet desperation, ...he was surrounded by forces that simply did not make it possible for him to operate [...] I mean, he was a man of real capacity, but he had inherited a situation which nobody could handle, except somebody who was willing to think anew and think all over again. [...] Mr. Roosevelt just cut right through it, he said 'we think in humanitarian terms - and these people (the Hoover Administration) have failed, and we [must] think things fresh and anew.'"

Sneak Peek...

I'm working on a lot of things. 🙂


"This sound recording captures remarks by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the dedication of the Federal Trade Commission building on July 12, 1937." - Federal Trade Commission

Included are important remarks on the prevention of unfair business practices and how corrupt practices founded the economic collapse of The Great Depression.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.