Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four terms as President marked a turning point in American history, establishing the principle of the federal government’s responsibility for public welfare and creating the federal governmental system that continues to the present day. It also established Keynesian economics (named after the British economist John Maynard Keynes), which calls for greater governmental expenditures in times of economic recession to compensate for lower spending by the private sector. FDR would go on to be reelected three times. He led America through most of World War II but died in office in April 1945, just three months before the end of the war. In the selection that follows, FDR lays out the general lines of his vision for America.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vol. 2 (New York: Random House, 1938), 11–16.
One of the great leaders of America’s industrial success was Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who rose from poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the United States. One might imagine that a self-made multimillionaire such as Andrew Carnegie would fully embrace the values of free enterprise capitalism, and indeed he was a staunch defender of individual initiative and the survival of the fittest. But Carnegie was also concerned about what he called “the proper administration of wealth” and the creation of an American corporate aristocracy. He frequently wrote about these problems, and he proposed a specific solution in an essay entitled “Wealth” that was published in the North American Review in 1889. Concluding that “a man who dies rich dies disgraced,” Carnegie proposed a new “gospel of wealth” that would provide tangible benefits for all without infringing upon individual liberty. Backing up his words with action, Carnegie became one of the greatest philanthropists of his era, providing funds for parks, concert halls, universities, and hospitals.
Andrew Carnegie, “Wealth,” North American Review 148, no. 391 (June 1889): 653, 657–62.