tv The Presidency Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal CSPAN April 9, 2021 12:23pm-2:10pm EDT
early '40s to bring the country back from the great depression. joining them at the roosevelt library and museum in hyde park, new york, was fdr's own grandson james roosevelt jr. it's about an hour and 45 minutes. >> when we looked at, what are the kind of things we want to do, how do we connect what's going on with the world today with what happened during the roosevelt era, the idea of talking to the grandchildren of the key players was one of the ideas that has been vital. how do we make the roosevelt legacy a living part of our history? now chris breiseth was the former ceo of the roosevelt newt for many years. he's been a great champion of the roosevelt legacy and a great champion of one of my favorite characters in the roosevelt legacy and francis perkins. i'll let chris introduce the rest of the panelists. i would like to say there's a small family, a committed family of roosevelters. i'm fairly new to it.
i'm a newbie in this world. i've been welcomed very warmly and i appreciate that. but there are a few who have been more dedicated and thoughtful in their writings. please welcome chris breiseth. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you, paul sparrow. we've all come to count on the new deal safety net to remain security, but in a time when much that had seemed secure is coming unstuck, we need to remind ourselves of what that new deal legacy is and how it came about in the first place. understanding its history is crucial to preserving it. the impact of disregarding our history, the disease we are painfully aware has afflicted us at the highest levels, can seriously undermine the foundations of the new deal programs, as other institutions that were created out of earlier
challenging circumstances in which now seem to be threatened. we're fortunate to have today grandchildren of the leaders who piece together the new deal in response to the disintegration of the american society happening because of the great depression in the 1930s. their grandparents, including franklin and eleanor roosevelt, henry a. wallace, francis perkins and harry hopkins, had a vision of what government could do, indeed, must do to meet the urgent needs of all americans. they had a vision. acting upon that vision they dramatically changed the relationship between the american people and their government. and through that relationship, the way americans learn to deal with and help each other as fellow citizens. today these grandchildren, james roosevelt jr., david wallace
douglas, tomlin perkins coggeshall will first describe their grandparents' contribution for creating the new deal. then i will ask them to help us shape a vision that can inform our future efforts to meet the needs of our country as it negotiates vast social, economic and cultural challenges. both within our nation and within the world, society increasingly tightly built. the job is not to copy the new deal policies and programs, but to capture the vision of what our society is becoming and to begin at how our government which is the instrument of all the people, how it can respond to the needs of all our people. this is what their grandparents did in the 1930s. we need to do this for the 2020s.
we have the opportunity to today with a national audience to capture the spirit of the new dealers and project that spirit forward, beyond the immediate crises of our political present, to our future as a people and as a crucial player with a whole human family. after jim, david, tomlin and june through my reading, have framed such an approach to our 21st century future, we will turn to you for your questions and observations. you have brief biographical introductions to our speakers, so let me turn to them directly and have them say whatever is a moment to suggest their own careers as a way of leading into interpreting their grandparents. let me first begin with the grandson of franklin and eleanor roosevelt, james roosevelt jr. >> thank you, chris. [ applause ]
>> let me just begin by saying how appreciative we all are on the work chris does in preserving the legacy of the new deal. many of you in this room join him in that effort but it's also very, very important. and paul sparrow and his staff at the library. a word of thanks to them. [ applause ] i was born in 1945, about six months after my grandfather passed away. so i grew up with the legacy of the new deal in place. as a young person, i think probably as we all do when we're young, assume things have always been that way. in fact, only a dozen years before i was born, this was a country of desperation. in fact, it was probably true
around the world, but focusing on this country, think about the level of unemployment. millions of people unemployment. one-third of potential workers unemployed. think about the poverty that existed in this country. today we focus on inequality and there is real poverty there, but we should be at a point in the united states of america where one terrible event after another was prefaced by the word hoover. hooverville, hoovermobile to imply shacks and tents that people lived in and wrecks people drove as cars. that was the situation in this country. indeed, my wife's family, i hear stories about relatives who lived for a week on oatmeal in those days. not for breakfast. for every meal all week.
that's the kind of poverty that existed. in what we would today call a middle class family. a brother who was an educator, a ph.d. a brother who was a priest, and members of the family living on oatmeal. i think of the lack of opportunity for education. indeed, my own mother who was the valedictorian of the small town high school where she grew up, going to a few towns over to state teachers college, but then dropping out because her family could not afford to feed and shelter themselves and clothe themselves if she stayed in college and she switched, actually quite -- tended up quite profit den shally or i wouldn't be here to a nursing career because nursing school in those days provided a place to live and three meals a day.
no pay except for a very small stipend, but a place to live and eat while you got a professional education. she ended up being a nurse at the hospital that was part of the mayo clinic. and my father ended up being a patient there. so actually that work withed out okay. but it gives you an idea -- an idea of the decisions that families faced even if they had the ability and intent of striving for education the lack of infrastructure in this country was, we talk about our crumbling infrastructure today. the reason we have crumbling infrastructure is, of course, underfunding but because so much infrastructure was built after the new deal started when there was not -- there were not the roads or the -- or even the electricity or means of communication that could help a
country build itself out of the depression it was in. in those times just a dozen years before, real racial tension and isolation. because we focus on the later events of the civil rights movement, we don't read much about that, but that was a real factor in the great depression as well. now, my grandfather, fdr, was not a politician of ideology. in fact, newspaper columnists, walter litman, thought that he was shallow because he didn't talk about ideology. he was in the best sense of the world a populist. he focused on what would improve people's lives both in terms of the direct services, which i'll talk about in a minute, but also regulation of the forces that were -- that had gotten them into this situation. his definition of populist did
not exploit or divide people. it was about focusing on the needs of americans. what he saw was the need for change, the need for hope, and the need for action. to paraphrase what he said -- i almost spilled that all over here, but i didn't. what he focused on, to paraphrase him. the country needs, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. take a method, try it. if it fails, try another. but above all, try something. and what that really captured was the contrast of between the pre-new deal government, which was passive, which was totally reliant on the market. have you heard that lately at all? totally reliant on the market.
it failed. the new deal countered with an activist government. regulated the guilt -- the greed, which i think was guilt, but the greeed of the private sector. think about all the programs that comprised the new deal. immediately the banking bill, the bank holiday followed then by federal deposit insurance so people could be secure with their money in banks. separating the risky activities of banks from their deposit activities with the glass/steagall act. the creation of the securities and exchange commission and the set of securities laws so that the financial sector actually operated with some transparency and reliability. the end of prohibition, which not only made people happier, but was aimed directly at being
away with a criminal conspiracy to evade a law that did not have broad pb support. we might see that going on again right now, actually. the agricultural adjustment act which was price support to keep farmers in business. civilian conservation corps, which was so important for providing jobs for younger men in those days, who sent money home to their families. my mother's brother was one of those civilian conservation corps members. in the previous hour, i know we honored surviving conservation corps members, who intended to be here today, but due to transportation difficulties, wasn't. nonetheless, the conservation -- look at how that combined jobs and conservation. my mother's brother joined the civilian conservation corps around the same time she had to
drop out of college. not only did he receive a job, not only did he receive money for himself and money to send to his family, he received real health care for the first time in his life, which unfortunately for the first time in his life, identified that he had severe diabetes and he died of that while he was in the ccc. had he been -- had access to health care before that, he might have been treated in those days when we didn't have the treatments we have today. the homeowners loan corporation, which helped people restructure their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. we had a little bit of that in the latests great recession. but not enough. it was very important in the new deal. the federal emergency relief act, which through the states provided cash to people who were in desperate situations. the pwa and the cwa. the public works administration and the civil works administration.
later on the works project administration. huge effects in, again, directly providing people jobs, which was so important, again, as i say, both for the income and the self-esteem that they created. and, of course, the great buildings and arts projects and literature that they -- that they produced. whether you look at even today, at post offices and libraries and roads and parks. the labor rights legislation. the -- leading to the wagner act and the right to organize and so on. the national recovery administration, which was found unconstitutional by the supreme court, but set out the process for businesses finding ways to cooperate, to stay in business. and very important to me and the
work i've had a chance to do in my life, the social security act, which was so important because it is a law that affects whole families. yes, it provided for a decent retirement for older people, but it also meant that families could save to send kids to college, that families didn't have to take care on their own of their older family members. and as part of the social security act, beyond retirement, which is what we all think of and which later added disability coverage, equally important, the concept of unemployment compensation when people lost jobs and of minimum wage, also part of the social security act. the national youth administration aimed directly at jobs for young people. the food, drug and cosmetic bill. if you talk about regulation that actually meant something valuable in people's lives, there had not been federal regulation of dangerous or possibly effective but certified
safe food and drug and cosmetics before that. and, you know, i think of that -- regulation has become a dirty word. but so much regulation is so important. i even think about, you know, you take uber, which proclaimed itself the end of regulation. fortunately, cities like new york and states like massachusetts have found ways to regulate now for safety of uber drivers, for fairness in ride hailing. and fairness for those employees as well. the federal housing administration, which we still have for fha loans. the u.s. housing authority, which began for the first time federal construction of housing for the poor. and the fair labor standards act, which included limits on
work hours and on age of workers and so on. what's amazing to me is that none of this existed before the new deal. what's amazing is that much of it still does exist today. what's amazing to me is that much of it is still under attack. and what's amazing is much of it still needs expansion. just for one example, social security benefits should be raised. that would do actually probably something to convince people under 40 that social security will be there for them, which, by the way, it will be. it's actuaial sound. and subsequently the legacy of the new deal has finally inspired health care coverage and access. medicare and medicaid in the '60s and the aaffordable care act in our time. i could go on about that because that's my day job, but i won't, and because my wife is telling me i used all my time.
but let me just say that, to me, the essence of the new deal philosophy was that government should intervene to help americans. that is the basic principle. then as now, powerful forces preach that government was problem. and that resurfaced in about 1980. whether it's conservative, as it was called them, libertarian, as it was sometimes called later, or alt right, the goal is to leave people on their own. the spirit of the new deal is to adapt to the needs of the people. this is the long-term battle and this is what the concept of the new deal and the role of government is about. [ applause ]
>> and now david wallace douglas, the grandson of henry agard wallace. >> it's good to be here. again, thanks to paul and to chris and to kathy for helping to make this possible today. for henry a. wallace, my grandfather, the contribution begins with agriculture. he was secretary of agriculture during fdr's first two terms, and at a time when 40% of the country's population lived on farms. because of his background as an iowa farm editor, as a scientist, as the founder of what would become the nation's largest seed corn company. and thanks to fdr's strong backing, henry wallace's departure and the new deal lifted the farm economy out of the depression. stabilizing prices by
controlling excess production with government incentives, he and the new deal instituted soil and forestry restoration. wallace's department of agriculture also helped to start school lunches and food stamps. an historian arthur schlessinger no friend of wallace by the late 1940s said that he -- called him the best secretary of agriculture the country had ever had. wallace was writing about ecological sustainability in the 1920s and '30s. i attribute to him and his daughter, jean, my mother, my appreciation for the world, the sustainability of watersheds and soil. my wife deborah and i will will be married next year 40 years. the first book i ever gave her when we were dating was that classic romantic volume titled "topsoil and civilization."
so, i think the second key contribution of henry wallace in the new deal was as vice president. in 1940 fdr declared that he would not run for a third term without henry wallace. wallace's predecessor had declared the office not worth a bucket of warm spit, but henry wallace used the office to chair -- to head up key war-related boards and held a vital role in persuading lat continue american countries to come in on the side of the allies. his own speeches built on fdr's for freedoms to define the cause for fighting the war, including economic justice and freedom. and to provide a vision of post-war global order without american domination or british
imperialism. one speech in particular that became known as the century of the common man speech repudiated "time" magazine editor henry luse sfwlchlt called for the american century. it's a theme i think donald trump has doubled down on. and wallace envisioned in the 1940s instead a century where, quote, no nation will have the god-given right to exploit other nations, where older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization. as a quick aside, wallace's words provided the basis for aaron copeland's musical piece called "fanfare for the common man." his world view, his concern for global poverty, the ability -- the importance of others having adequate success is he unanimous has influenced my own word in drinking water and increasing funding for poverty focused
foreign assistance. the third and last point to make about henry wallace's contribution to the new deal is after he left the vice presidency. fdr appointed him secretary of commerce, but after being fired by truman in 1946 for trying to slow the cold war and arms race with russia, henry wallace as first editor of the new republic and then a run for president, tried to speak out for such new deal policies as higher minimum wage, decent housing, improved health care, the rights for working people, and desegregation as well as u.s. commitment to the united nations. wallace refused to speak before segregated audiences in the jim crow south or to stay in segregated -- or to stay in all-white accommodations.
and he and his supporters were roughed up. wallace warned against an approach to democracy that was fanatically devoted to freedom but systematically indifferent to justice. there was no excuse, he thought, for poverty in our own country or elsewhere. and trying to avoid the militarization of the united states as it emerged from the world war ii, as the world's most powerful nation, he wrote, the destiny and salvation of the u.s. is to serve the world not dominate it. i always admired my grandfather's willingness to take unpopular positions and bear the costs. what was it like, i wondered, to go from being one of the nation's most popular political leaders in the new deal to getting vilified and pelted with eggs as you campaigned? henry wallace showed similar strength of character later in
life after he left politics. he carried on speaking and writing, returning to scientific research, devising new strains of plants. he who had led the way in hybridizing the nation's corn showed his grandchildren, with less success, how to hybridize strawberries and gladiolus. he continued to work with international agricultural centers that he championed from the beginning for food security, and at the end, facing the rapid sickness from lou gehrig's disease. when he died in november 1965, johnsons and previously kennedy's secretary of agriculture said, no single individual has contributed more to the abundance we owe today than henry wallace. the clarity of his progressive vision influenced the country and his values strengthed all his descendents.
if there was a single word to describe what i feel for my maternal grandfather, it would be this -- gratitude. [ applause ] >> and now the grandson of francis perkins, tomlin perkins coggeshall. >> thank you, chris. i'm really honored to be here today on hallowed ground for the new deal. i want to thank chris breiseth for invite meg to participate and kathy and the board for all the hard work they have put into making today come about. just for full disclosure, i'm not a new deal historian and my grandmother's career was not of focus during my upbringing.
in fact, it wasn't until 1980 that i learned my grandmother was a very important person and had done a great deal in her amazing career. i did realize that she was in government, but it wasn't but it of taken for granted and assumed the way we do as young people, this is how things were. on her birthday in 1980, which would have been her hundredth, the new labor building, so-called, in washington, d.c., was renamed the frances perkins labor building. and which much pomp and circumstance including a visit from jimmy carter and "hail to the chief" being played, i was there onstage with my mother as a 20-something-year-old. there were many speakers including a mother, which is a bit worrisome, but we got through it. she managed to only put down a few government officials like the postmaster, for one.
i swallowed hard and luckily did not have a speaking role after hers. but the naming ceremony and all that was done to commemorate frances perkins' hundredth birthday in that way was very moving and made me aware that my grandma was someone i needed to know much more about. so this is the contributions that, grandparent made. the preamble i just went through is sort of just fluff. but anyway, when my grandmother was invited by fdr to be his secretary of labor, as he was forming his administration, she was not at all sure that accepting the post would be the right choice. certainly not for her own comfort and not for the comfort of her daughter nor for her husband who were settled in new york city and living comfortably there. and also did she really want to undergo the scrutiny of the press and the awkwardness of being the first woman to serve
in the u.s. cabinet, almost like an exhibit at a circus sideshow, to be preyed upon by the press and unfriendly forces in washington, d.c.? she really was a very private person. and so i'm sure she was reeling from this possibility. and kirsten downey wrote in her book, "the woman behind the new deal," about my grandmother, the night before she went to speak to fdr, we spent crying and worried all night, in the indecision of what to do, i guess, and the anguish. but she heard the voice of her grandmother who gave her many pearls of wisdom over the years together that if the doors open for you, one should walk through and do one's best on the other side. so after this anguished night, no doubt pondering various ramifications, knowing that fdr wanted to see her the next day to talk about her role in his new government, my grandmother decided to shoot for the moon, as it were. she made a list of all the
topics or issues that she thought needed to be addressed to put the nation back on its economic feet while introducing much-needed social reforms. she used the back of an envelope for the list, tucked it into her purse and headed off to meet fdr at his elegant new york townhouse at 4749 east 65th street that we've heard about today, where deborah gardner works and harold holtzer. the list of items in her purse included many elements of what became known as the new deal. on the list, and i think this is an abbreviated list, was old age pension, which became social security, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, a minimum wage, a 40-hour workweek, prohibition on child labor, aid to states for unemployment relief, and universal health care, many of the programs that jim described in his section of the talk. after she waded through the
reporters that camped out in the front hall, she and fdr settled in for a little chat. when he asked her about being secretary of labor, she told him that he really didn't want her to function in that capacity if he didn't want to pursue these reforms and she read him the list on the envelope. to that, he said something like, bully for you, frances, i won't try to stop you. giving his tacit approval. and she accepted. and indeed, after 12 years, and his 3.2 terms in office, they got all the items done except universal health care, which remains on the unfinished agenda. so here is a quote from my grandmother on her vision for the role of government. the people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life. exactly when and where she said that, i'm not quite sure, but i
know she did say that. i thought i would give you a little background because it just so happens that on august 10, 2017, a man named al southwick wrote in "the worcester telegram" about the amazing ms. perkins. she found her proper niche, social work. she campaigned for progressive causes such as women's rights, better working conditions, shorter work weeks and more generous workers' compensation and improved housing codes. one of the defining episodes of her life was the fire at the triangle shirt waist factory in manhattan on march 21, 1911, where 148 workers, mostly women, died. she happened to be nearby and saw the trapped girls leaping to their deaths from the ninth floor. she never forgot about it. one of her lifelong passions was
to improve the lot of working women. by 1918, her years of agitation and political activity it made her one of the best known experts in the country in such matters as unemployment, wage, and hour laws, child labor, slums and slumlords, prostitution and immigrants. new york governor al smith appointed her the chairman of the state industrial board in 1919. governor franklin d. roosevelt appointed her state industrial commissioner in 1928. he inherited her from al smith as the chairman of the commission of about six people. it seemed fairly quickly there was no more commission, since she was chairperson, why don't you be the commissioner, frances. and then it was done. and then they worked together for four years. when he was elected persist in 1932, he picked her as secretary of labor. she served for the next 12 years, the first woman cabinet member. she was a brilliant administrator, one of fdr's
closest confidants and a personal friend of the president and the formidable eleanor. she was a prodigious workaholic. her usual day began at the church and was at her desk at 9:00 a.m. she had to mediate hundreds of strikes and lockouts, many brutal and violent. she had to deal with such labor titans as john d. lewis, george meany, and harry bridges, when 15 million americans were unemployed. although many people helped to shape franklin roosevelt's new deal, her fingerprints are all over the main ingredients. the national recovery act, the works progress administration, and most important, the social security administration. so that's the end of his quote. and this reporter for "the worcester telegram" is in his 90s himself. he writes a weekly column, al -- what was his name? al southwick.
anyway, back to my words. fdr and my grandmother had worked together in new york state government for four years when he won the 1932 election. the great depression hit at a time when they began to -- the great depression that hit during that time and they began to experiment with measures that could help the people of new york get through the mounting hard times. when fdr was elected in 1932, he and frances perkins were by no means devoid of ideas on what might help the nation based on concepts and strategies they had tried or thought of trying in new york state which could now be extrapolated and applied on a large scale with more authority across the nation. the bold experimentation with programs and government initiatives that might help the nation that became known as the new deal has roots in the collaboration between my grandmother as commissioner of labor and fdr as governor of new york, i think.
it is amazing to realize that these significant contributions to the new deal's core came from such an unlikely source, a woman, the first in the u.s. cabinet, who came from a family with humble roots in the great state of maine. soon after she died -- soon after fdr died, excuse me, in 1945, frances perkins said this. these social and economic reforms of the past 12 years will be regarded in the future as a turning point in our national life, a turning from neglect of human values and toward an order, an order of mutual and practical benevolence within a free and competitive industrial economy. a common thread that runs through much of her career and many of her accomplishments is the ongoing quest for greater social justice and economic security for all the people that she served. president obama would have put it that we are our brother's keeper, i think.
she did not need credit either. she just had the gift of accurate vision to see what needed to be done and the combination of political instinct or emotional iq that helped her bring others to her point of view and the will power and strength of character to do all she could, all the time, not wasting any time. one source of her vision was her strength and her strong -- of her strength was her strong faith in god and her desire to follow the teachings of the church to help her fellow man. love thy neighbor and so on. in recognition that she did so much for so many, the episcopal church recently named her a holy woman which is synonymous with saint, in 2009. she never proselytized but when she wrote a note to her friend justice felix frankfurter after leaving office of secretary of labor, she wrote, many of you have heard this already but i'll
read it again, i came to washington to work for god, fdr, and the millions of forgotten plain common working men. so would you like for me to say a few words in her voice? i'll try to bring her to you if i can. at the end of her speech on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of social security in 1960, she had given a nice 12-minute speech but her last words were, i am thankful that we will go forward into the future, a stronger nation because we have this basic rock of security under all of our people. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, frances. [ laughter ] >> tricorn hat. >> and now i'm going to give you
harry hopkins through his daughter june who if you read the bioin your opinion, you realize has been a serious historian of the hopkins career and has another book she's working on right now. one of harry hopkins' contemporaries described him as having the sharp shrewdness of a racetrack tout. another said he had a mind like a razor, a tongue like a skinning knife and a sufficient vocabulary of parlor profanity. the fact that he never held elective office yet wielded a lot of political power led some enemies to label him a rasputin. he was a rube from iowa, another
iowan. harry hopkins may have been some of these things but first and foremost, this is his granddaughter talking, first and foremost he was a public servant. he began his career in 1912 as a social worker in new york city's gritty lower east side. he eventually became a nationally known social worker, heading up agencies that provided assistance to exploited immigrants, to abandoned children, to the sick, to military families, and to the marginalized. and then the economy crashed. the decade of the great depression, the 1930s, was a time of anguish, when millions of american workers and their families were suffering from undeserved poverty and its ancillary ills, hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness. by the way, her son, david
geffen, is director of the coalition for the homeless in new york city. when new york governor franklin roosevelt was nominated as the presidential candidate in 1932, he promised a new deal for the american people. he won in a landslide. as soon as he was inaugurated, he made good on his promise. during the first hundred days of his administration, he began the creation of the new deal. in 1933, echoing jim, 13 million workers had no jobs and no options. and now they turned to their president for help. with fdr in the white house, it was now up to the federal government to take action and pull the nation out of the economic morass. social worker harry hopkins stepped in to help. in may of 1933 he became federal relief administrator, and eventually a powerful washington insider. for over 12 years he sat at the right hand of president franklin roosevelt, first during the great depression, and then during the second world war.
as a new dealer, hopkins ran programs that used federal money to rescue the unemployed, who had no means of support. the federal emergency relief administration created government jobs in the form of work relief. the civil work administration created 4 million jobs for unemployed workers over the harsh winter of 1933-'34. and from 1935 to 1942, the works project administration not only provided government jobs but also school lunches, subsidies for artists and students, and much more, bringing hope to millions of americans. for seven years, the wpa employed over 2 million workers each month. these men and women had the dignity of a job rather than having to suffer the humiliation of a handout. at the same time, hopkins worked closely with labor secretary frances perkins to create a safety net for the most vulnerable americans, the social
security act of 1935. hopkins was a new dealer and proud of it. he fought bitter battles with the press, with conservatives, and with congress in order to create and administer programs that many thought would never work. but not only did they work, they worked within a nation committed to democracy and capitalism. hopkins had no toleration for bureaucratic red tape. and yes, again, his granddaughter, money flew out of his office. some called him the arch angel of spending. and he indeed was a wiz at spending other people's money. during his first day of work in the district of columbia in april of 1933, he spent $5 million creating jobs. eventually$3 billion in federal dollars were distributed. he was adamant that americans should have the dignity of
earning a wage and if the private sector could not provide jobs, this then the government had to do. he did spend a lot of other people's money but he never enriched himself by cashing in on a position of power. when he died i think he had virtually no personal assets. the currency that he used during his year in public service was a combination of loyalty, honesty, and of course his influence with his boss, president roosevelt. he answered to no other person. the worldwide -- and the other members of the cabinet can tell you that. or could have told you that. the worldwide attention that hopkins received as fdr's wartime adviser has somewhat subsumed his role as a new dealer. but it is important to note that throughout the war years, hopkins fiercely maintained the principle that he developed as a new dealer, that the government has the constitutional
responsibility to ensure the general welfare of all of its citizens in a humanitarian way, within a democratic, small "d," and capitalist nation. indeed, roosevelt's new deal was new because it transformed the relationship between the federal government and the american people. hopkins' ideas can be heard in a speech he gave to grenell students in 1939 on what we now call income inequality. 78 years later, it still has resonance. quote, the government is the last stronghold of democracy, he said, and it deserves to be honored. don't treat it as something to sneer at. treat it as something that belongs to you. we have got to find a way of living in america in which every person in it shares in the national income, in such a way
that poverty in america is abolished. unquote. the new deal did not end with a period of economic recovery or with the beginning of hostilities in europe and japan. new dealers like hopkins just refocused their efforts to bring help to those suffering from totalitarianism. hopkins never lost the basic assumptions that under way his work as a new dealer. his ideals endured during the war years. in april of 1941 hopkins wrote, the new order of hitler can be conclusively defeated by the new order of democracy which is the new deal universally extended and applied. clearly this represents continuity that the political and moral underpinnings of the new deal. for new dealer hopkins, the wellbeing of americans was closely connected to the wellbeing the people everywhere
in the world. this is important to remember, because we live in a global society. hopkins' legacy, of course, is the long term effects of the programs and policies that he promulgated. and also in the physical monuments left behind by the wpa projects. but even more important are the ideas he left behind. the most basic of these is that, quote, full employment miscellaneous and can be attained within the framework of our traditional democratic processes. in 1946, john steinbeck wrote that hopkins' legacy was the idea that human welfare is the first and final task of government. this was the new spirit of liberalism that the new deal introduced. today we stand in the shadow of new dealers like harry hopkins and their ideals must remain part of the national agenda. we live in an age of cynicism about the motives of people with
influence, when there is general distrust of government officials. we live in a time of raucous political partisanship, when government is at a standstill and civil discourse seems to be absent. if harry were alive today, he might be tempted to make use of some of his parlor profanity. but then he would get down to the root of the matter and say that we need to instill in the minds of our best and brightest young people a respect for what used to be called civic virtue. selfless and honest public service within a democratic, small "d," government that serves all the people. this is what harry hopkins and all new dealers embodied. and this can be our hope for the future as we plunge deeper into the 21st century. steinbeck wrote that during the roosevelt years the idea that, quote, people should come before profit started to take root in
the minds of americans. it had not before. a man's ideas do not die with him, he said. ideas are not mortal but become stronger with the death of a man. referring to roosevelt and hopkins, who died within nine months of each other, he writes, the two brave men stood for ideas worth celebrating. quote, do we remember their first rule that only fear is frightful, or do we have to accept that in the highest legislative body of their government, there is uncertainty and confusion, that freedoms from hunger and fear are being mortgaged, that the right to security is being repudiated, that public welfare is being compromised. for hopkins, this is still steinbeck speaking, for hopkins there was only one answer. the government has undertaken both the right and responsibility for the nation's security and will never again
permit one-third of its citizens to be ill-housed, ill-clothed, and ill-fed. the american people, he said, will remember. think of one idea that june has talked about here in hyde park before, is that the policy pushed on roosevelt and perkins was that the government would be the employer of last resort. that was never adopted, but it was a recurrent theme to think about. and we still need to think about it. now let me turn to -- [ applause ] i warned our panel on this beforehand, that i thought it was in the spirit of this occasion that we leap ahead to the 2020s with the spirit of the 1930s, not to replicate the new
deal, because that can't be done, and in fact the new deal, as jim has so carefully pointed out, is still in place. troubled, threatened, but it still is there. and as we went through the recession in 2008, we saw how much people were protected, that our economy was protected because of the new deal programs. but our world is different. and i would like each of you to reflect on that difference and what the vision is that we could summon from this new deal past that we each have attempted to articulate, to give guidance to the people that are going to aspire to public office over the next five to ten years. jim, let's start with you. >> all right. i would focus on two things for the 2020s. and the first is -- well, let me
just say overall, i think it's taking up the themes of the new deal and looking at the particular -- not just the programs that are under assault, but looking at the programs that need to be completed. and health care is certainly right at the top of that list. the preservation of the affordable care act over the last four to six weeks is an immense achievement, actually. it starts with the solidarity in the house and the senate led by nancy pelosi and chuck schumer. and then that laid the foundation, the platform, for three courageous republicans to join them. so we didn't have destruction. now, what we haven't had and what we need to look at through the 2020s is how do we make universal access to health care and to better health care truly
successful. the affordable care act was intended to be a foundation for that. it never was intended to be 100% universal coverage, yet. but it was intended to be a foundation. and there's lots going on to build on that foundation. if you read in thursday's "new york times" about an entrepreneurial startup for better primary care, and they site an example of a primary care practice in kansas, it was almost the entire front page of the business section in thursday's "new york times." it provides a basis for funding and regulation for those projects, let alone the insurance coverage that lets people get essential health benefits, which you know were particularly attacked, if we couldn't repeal it entirely, let's repeal the essential health benefits, was part of what we have been facing. we still have a vote coming up
on an outright appeal, according to mitch mcconnell. that's going to be the next vote, before we do what i think is scandalously called tax reform, because that vote on taxes is going to be something we haven't talked about today. there was a wealth tax during the roosevelt administration, structured in such a way that the highest bracket only applied to john d. rockefeller. but nonetheless, a tax that much more progressively than today, dealt with income inequality. the vote that's going to be proposed in the current congress is intended to reverse that. it's intended to reduce corporate taxes to the lowest level in the world, actually.
and personal income taxes to a much lower level, than today, when already our personal income taxes in this country are lower than in most of the world. those aren't totally comparable figures because we use things like insurance premiums to provide some of the benefits that other countries provide through taxes. nonetheless, i think completing the task that frances perkins set out on universal access and coverage for health care is part of the 2020s. i think restoring a fair tax system is part of the 2020s. i think, as i mentioned earlier, raising social security benefits is part of the 2020s. you know, we've let ourselves be duped into focusing on the solvency of social security. social security would be totally solvent for the next hundred years with only a 2% increase in the social security tax.
social security, i also think, and for that matter a number of other programs, but particularly social security, is falsely called by the press an entitlement. it's actually an earned benefit, something that everybody pays into as they do for other forms of insurance. again, we accept false portrayals. we say, it's not a full retirement savings plan. it was never designed to be a full retirement savings plan. it was designed to be insurance against destitution in old age. it has played that role magnificently and will continue to do that. social security has had ten major sets of amendments in its history since 1935, to meet the changing economy. unfortunately, because of what started in 1980, the last major
set of amendments was in 1983. so the economy has changed drastically since then. but social security has been frozen in place. similarly, the affordable care act has been frozen in place since 2010. any complex program in the private sector or the public sector has many adjustments in its first few years of operation. we have much to do in those things that provide both the basis for a decent life, fairness, and efficient functioning of programs that meet these goals. [ applause ] >> david, add to the vision. >> i think there are values and legacies of the new deal that are in jeopardy but will triumph in the end because they're not just new deal values but really they're the best of american values. let me mention three in
particular. my grandparents settled in south salem. in my grandfather's library, in the episcopalian book of common prayer that he owned, there was a prayer that he had marked in pencil with stars and it began "god has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth." of one blood. it is or should be self-evident. henry wallace, grounded in the judeo-christian tradition, believed in the god-given inherent dignity of every human being. as vice president he articulated that position and later on lived it out in the death threats and brick bats of segregationalists during the '48 campaign. we now have a president and many of his followers who feel free to disparage individuals' races
and religion. one former trump adviser noted, hate is a more powerful motivator than love. media outlets and conservative talk radio sometimes whip a listening audience into fear and xenophobia, granting themselves the license to be boorish and on occasion, openly bigoted. but there is more that unites us than divides us. the nation will recover when we support leaders who recognize the dignity of all people, not just political leaders. the country needs business leaders to stick out as they indeed have in recent weeks. it will turn a corner when religious leaders without exception challenge the resurgence of white supremacy and anti-semitism. the new dealers we remember today would have agreed with alexander soliznitsen that the
line passes not through political parties or classes but through every human heart and through all human hearts. the second legacy, the second value, apart from the dignity of every human being that is characteristic i think of henry wallace and the new deal should be mentioned because of its vulnerability these days and the impact it will make on our planet in the coming years. in trying to consolidate his power, president trump disparages many institutions. you can't trust media, judges, 23 intelligence agencies, federal agencies whose integrity has never previously been questioned. but centered in the crosshairs of his administration is the american scientific community. you can't trust science. it's not just the denial of climate change but the rollback of epa protections for the public health.
henry wallace, as both his critics and his supporters would have acknowledged, was less a politician than a scientist. the success that wallace and others had in the new deal in agriculture was due to hard science. little would distress him more than how this administration has politicized science today at the usda which wallace headed for eight years. staffers have been instructed in this past month by the trump administration to avoid using the words "climate change" and use instead the phrase "weather extremes." instead of saying in official correspondence, "removing greenhouse gases," they should refer to "increasing efficiency." in these orwellian phrases, wallace would have heard echoes of russia in the 1940s against science-based agricultural that
ruined russian research in genetics and crop yields for decades. in this country, scientific integrity will win out. climate change deniers will continue to be overtaken by facts, and hopefully, as we've already seen in the budget appropriation process this year, there are signs of a return to bipartisanship for decades that once characterized environmental protection, good science was a hallmark of the new deal. the silver lining i think that will come out of this extreme politicization of science by the current administration will be, i think, a new generation of supporters for science and the environment. and there is no shortage of new deal legacies but one sorely that could be in need of revival is u.s. global leadership. when fdr identified the four freedoms, he spoke of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. and after every one he added, everywhere in the world.
these were the bedrock principles not only of american security but the security of other nations. this would be achieved through american leadership, in other words not just militarily, but through diplomacy and development. the u.s. foreign aid that emerged after the war which is roughly one-half of one percent of the federal budget allows the united states to do more than any nation to improve global standards for agricultural, for education, to work with others to stop polio, malaria, tb, aids. and now we see a retreat in u.s. leadership in a variety of ways, particularly through an administration-recommended cut of 30% of foreign aid. contributions to the united nations are going to be slashed, part of an effort to shift funding to the pentagon. trump once said during the primaries, i'm the most
militaristic person there is. ironically, even the pentagon doesn't support these cuts in the humanitarian and development human aid. lindsey graham, john mccain, the joint chiefs, prefer the balanced approach articulated by new deal leaders and carried down in a bipartisan way by congress. there is a continuing role, not only for the u.s. private sector, but for the u.s. government in addressing the world's sickness and hunger. and it's extraordinary today, let me just say in conclusion, that we're having to etol the value of human dignity, the integrity of science, use global leadership for health and development. every administration has valued these to some extent. and these values were honored in the extreme by the new deal. and they are being dishonored in the extreme by the current administration and the contrast is stark. these values, embodied so well
by fdr, by frances perkins, by henry wallace, and others of the new deal, need to be accentuated. and they are in fact being revived as leaders from all sectors of life, political, business, religious, find their voices now to speak out for human dignity, to protest the politicization of science. in so doing they are reminding a new generation of the importance not only of new deal values but bedrock american values. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, jim, for pointing out one of my pet peeves, that the press insists on lumping
social security in with entitlements when it is not. it is, as you said, a benefit program, or whatever the best way to call it. >> earned benefit. >> earned benefit, right, thank you. and wonderful, moving words from you, david. so i just wanted to say, there's a lot for us to consider on how to effectively carry the new deal's advances and social reforms of our grandparents into this century and beyond. i think we could devote a two-day workshop just to that, maybe four or more days. but jobs are evaporating into the stew of technology and also being outsourced, as we call it. but the technology front is a worrisome one, i think. some jobs are being created, but many more are being taken over by the technological solution, you know, being offered for the particular task.
an economic system or structure whereby people are paid not to work will need to be created, it seems. this will be a challenge for social architects in the coming years, unless we make some radical changes very soon, they must envision and plan for a time when all work is done by machines and humans are only consumers enjoying the fruits of the labors of the machines they built. of course society will never achieve an all-machine state. but social architects should begin to build a framework where we can incrementally move toward that vanishing point and keep everyone happy and productive and fulfilled along the way. as the middle class is squeezed more and more by a variety of factors, with technology high on that list and accelerating in its ability to consume humans'
jobs, with the income disparity gap growing instead of shrinking, new fertile ground is being created for despots to exploit, as we have recently seen. if we cannot find ways to share the products of our labors more equitably, we risk the consequences we have often seen throughout history when too much wealth accumulates in the hands of too few. however, i think concerns that there will be consequences from a greedy few acquiring and hoarding the wealth are outweighed by the wonderful potential for improving the lives of our fellow men and women, just as the new dealers boldly did starting at the depths of the great depression in 1933. the devastation wrought by the depression gave rise to fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of the new deal. fdr and his new team had a relatively cooperative congress and a vision for what needed to be done. this came after the economic boom of the roaring '20s swung
to an economic bust cycle, the great depression. today i think we might make the case that the new deal and the years that followed represent a kind of moral boom as well, and that we are now in the grips of a moral bust cycle. so if i'm right, with this pendulum swing to moral depravity, we may have an opportunity to reclaim some of the moral high ground that supports a range of new deal ideologies that we've lost of late. as we await and prepare for it, we may find that this latest swing of the moral pendulum is a blessing in disguise that presents an opportunity for us to work toward giving everyone what my grandmother called the best possible life. [ applause ] >> thank you all. we're now going to turn to the audience. if you would come up to this
microphone, i'm going to start with a question from the webcast. we know mrs. roosevelt was an extraordinary first lady and an important part of her husband's administration. what was her role in implementing the new deal programs? grandson? >> well, my grandmother, who i had the privilege of knowing growing up, she lived until i was a senior in high school, so i would visit her here in hyde park at valkyll, summers. although i grew up in los angeles, as our moderator did, she would visit us four or five times a year there. and she played a number of very important roles in the new deal. first of all, as my grandfather said, she was his eyes and ears. it was of course easier for her to travel than it was for him, not just because of everything that goes with it, with
presidential travel, but because of his physical handicap, which he obviously overcame, but nonetheless she traveled much more extensively and would come back to the white house and tell him about the real human stories that new deal programs needed to meet. and i think she in that way inspired him to follow some of frances perkins' advice by giving him the real human stories. the women definitely worked together, there's no question about that. she also advocated for particular things including racial equality. and remember, yes, there was a relatively cooperative congress in terms of the democratic majorities in '34 and '36.
but part of that majority was the solid south. so there were pragmatic compromises that had to be made. for example, the exclusion of domestic workers and health care workers from social security. why? because in much of the country, and almost totally in the south, those workers were african-american. and in order to get southern committee chairs, chairmen they would have said in those days, to move legislation forward, and in order to get the majority vote, because these were not easy votes, even though there were -- even social security in its early procedural votes did not get overwhelming votes. at the end it did, but not in its early procedural votes. these were the compromises that had to be made out of pragmatism to get the greater good.
and i think that my grandmother argued with my grandfather over whether he should give away some of these points. and i think she produced, together with others in the new deal who we've talked about here today, a more progressive result than would have occurred otherwise. when i was a young child growing up in the los angeles area, her newspaper column, "my day," ran six days a week in "the los angeles daily news." i think i thought as a small child, you know, early grade school child, that sort of everybody learned to read by reading what their grandmother was doing the previous day in the paper. but the dominant newspaper was
"the los angeles times." and its more tabloid counterpart, "the los angeles mirror." and i only learned a couple of years ago, in a talk by my congresswoman, catherine clark, who must have some tremendous researchers on her staff, about a "los angeles times" editorial that after she spoke in favor of racial equality during the new deal, "the los angeles times" carried an editorial urging she be prohibited by the president from ever speaking in public again. so i knew that my parents had to read "the los angeles times" every day because it was the dominant paper. but they always had terrible things to say about it. and now i know why. the chandler family, although they may have a wonderful pavilion named for them at the music center, was not a family
of goodwill during the new deal. so i think she played a very important advocacy role inside and outside the new deal. [ applause ] >> john. >> one thing that really concerns me is that there needs to be a demand on the part of progressive electorates that we lack right now. i suggested one slogan, because obviously the new deal was a great slogan that helped fdr get elected, a brighter future for all americans. another thing that occurs to me is there might be a mandatory two-year service for either volunteer work or for the military or for internships on the part of everyone graduating from high school or leaving high school. i'm wondering what all of you folks think about what we can do to create the type of
progressive educated electorate that will get us the leadership that we need and that we lack right now, and unite progressive forces in this country. >> do you want to take a crack at that? >> it's a great question. i want to two family reunions this past year. one on one side of the family was very liberal, the other on the other side of the family was very conservative. i think probably what would help in a very small way is that we should listen to the other points of communication from the other side of the fence, that we don't listen to generally. i mean, it's an educational process that we oftentimes could use. we tend to insulate ourselves to have certain means of communication that agree with us. so i would say progressives should listen, you know, five, ten minutes a day, to fox and to breitbart and to sean hannity and to rush limbaugh.
and i think the conservative side of the community in the united states, you know, should seek out alternative means of communication increasingly. so just a small effort in the future. >> may i just jump in to say, i do that when i'm driving in the car in the middle of the day. i listen to some of those folks. it drives my wife and children nuts. but i think it's important to do. >> how about the volunteer and active service of young people? >> well, i was thinking of an answer to the question on, you know, how can we build an electorate that might elect the leaders we need. and building on what david was saying, i've been saying to myself for a while, and not doing much about it, that it's quite impressive what the republicans have done with this ongoing pr campaign. it's almost as if there's an annual election ongoing and
there's an enough -- you know, there's real shifting of opinion going on and engineering, if you will, of public opinion, it almost seems, to a point where it's almost, you know -- it should be illegal or something, but it's not. and of course we can't do that because of free speech. but i don't think the left does much of that. and we've probably had some thoughts of trying to do that, and haven't been effective for whatever reason. but maybe we could try again and try and be more effective this time. it needs to be kept up. you can't just do it every so often. it needs to be a steady, ongoing stream of the way we want people to think and understand. >> an observation, one is, i have actually been extremely heartened by something that is i think totally unexpected, that msnbc now has the highest ratings of any of the cable news
networks. >> that's great. >> who would have imagined that, a year, year and a half ago? and i think that's the beginning of that kind of counterbalance. not that i always agree with the points of view there, even. but at least there is some counterbalance going on there. and secondly, you mentioned the idea of national service. about a month ago, i had the opportunity to hear j.d. vance, who wrote "hillbilly elegy," which remains on the bestseller list. and the one thing he said that got spontaneous applause was that as he talked about -- and i find his observations, by the way, very perceptive, his conclusions, which are influenced by his conservative outlook, i don't always fully agree with. but his observations of american
society at this point in our history i find very perceptive. and what brought about spontaneous applause from this group was his advocacy that americans need to get to know other parts of our society and that a mandatory national service program seemed to him to be the only practical way to do that. i later heard, after that, a reaction to that comment from donald rumsfeld, who said he was opposed to that because, a, he didn't think government should mandate anything, and b, that would only involve half of the population because it would only be men. >> what? >> that shows you the reactionary reaction to that, that either of those things would be true, i can't imagine. but i think it's an idea that needs to be very prominent. >> before i ask my question, i
want to note that franklin delano roosevelt had the first known vanity license plates. they were on his cars with hand controls that he designed at the polio clinic he founded in warm springs, georgia, which everyone here should visit. the plates said "fdr." i would note on our panel, we have two vanitizers, chris has a new york plate that says 1932 and tomlin has a plate that says "new deal," perfect for the grandson of the mother of the new deal. in the museum, you can see, in the basement, everyone should visit it, you can see fdr's car with hand control and the plate on that car is "3." my question, my usual question that i ask at all of these events, if you could ask franklin delano roosevelt one question, what would you ask and what do you think his answer would be? why don't we start with you, mr.
roosevelt. >> all right. that's a tough one. because there's so many things. >> but only one question. >> that i never got the opportunity to do. >> that's right. >> i think i would ask him, what would you propose to give the american people hope today. there is as much need for hope today as there was in 1932. whether it's among those who are -- the people in "hillbilly elegy," the people left behind by american prosperity, or whether it's among those who have given up on seeking justice in our society, so i would ask him, what would you propose to give the american people hope today. >> and what do you think his answer would be? >> oh, now -- >> see, it's a two-part question. >> i wouldn't be asking him if he knew the answer. >> i'm asking you to speculate. [ applause ]
chris, why don't you try both parts. >> i would defer to jim on that. i don't know. i would ask him which his favorite pet is. and i think he might answer fala. >> i would say one thing in terms of what jim just said. i had the extraordinary privilege of chairing a session like this over a two-day period between secretary wallace and secretary perkins back in 1963. and at the end of that two-day seminar, i asked your question or a similar one.
and your grandfather, david, who had some reason to feel a bit bruised by franklin roosevelt when he was pushed aside for the vice presidency, said fdr's coming to the presidency was providential. and he was by this time a good episcopalian so that word was not used casually. he said, he gave us hope. so, next question. >> thank you. in the 1930s and '40s, america benefitted from wholesale electrification which changed the whole way that society worked in terms of employment, in terms of quality of life. and i would ask the panel to reflect upon the question that was posed to each panelist earlier. how would the 2020s, the teens
and 2020s, see a new resurgence, because if i may digress, the great hydroelectric resources not only made the quality of life greater in terms of beneficial electrification, not only gave us the industrial resources that enabled us to defeat the axis powers, but our agenda now sees the issues of water and energy which are inextricably intertwined, sees the means of protecting and enhancing these resources somewhat diverge. we have no more big river systems, easily, to dam. at the same time, coming to the crux of my question, we could not have foretold just a little
before i was born, the titanic struggle against the axis partners. now we're in a struggle not against a political and military threat but the possible extinction of human life on this planet as we know it. so would the panel, with your broad knowledge, each of you, and the specific expertise of at least two, reflect upon the opportunity in the 2020s for us to have a new deal for the future of the planet? >> let me, as the moderator, throw this to david douglas, who had i done justice in my introductions, would you have made you aware that he has been a major international figure in the management of water, and particularly water for populations of people who are denied access to clean water. so -- and you may not -- and he did not say this about -- directly about his grandfather,
but his grandfather funded the green revolution. so not only did he develop hybrid corn as a scientist, but he also used the fortune from that to fund the green revolution. so i think david has the burden of answering that question. [ laughter ] >> just a quick thing about norman borlag. my grandfather suggested to the rockefeller foundation that they begin an institute in mexico where norman did his groundbreaking work, particularly on wheat, for which he eventually won the nobel prize. and my grandfather went down to visit him years later, and they are both from iowa, which is corn country. and my grandfather went out in the field. norman, i once met years later, and he said your grandfather came to see me when i was
working out there on one hot day. he said, norman, norman, how could a iowa farm boy like you be working on a second-class crop like wheat? [ laughter ] but just briefly on water. i think what we're seeing with water, i spent 35 years of my life on just trying to get cleaner water to more people that don't even have five gallons of clean -- or have never in their life had a clean glass of water. it's the leading cause of death around the world. we have a potential in this country, and that's one reason why i highlighted the work on foreign aid for a very small amount of money to really help find -- the countries that are reeling from unclean drinking water, to find a way to bolster their health. we're seeing -- we're working on an effort in d.c. right now to help hospitals and healthcare
clinics around the world get a better supply of water. 40% of the world's healthcare clinics in developing countries, 40%, don't have access to water either in the institution itself or within 500 meters. in other words, it's tanked in -- or it's carried in by donkeys or people go to carry it. they go down to the river to pick it up. can you imagine the centers of health, what should be centers of health are now centers of infection. and i think into the 2020s if the u.s. can recover its leadership that it's had for years in a very bipartisan way, as you all remember foreign aid was led by george bush. every republican president until now, every democratic president has made it part of the u.s.'s call to help improve health around the world, knowing that pathogens can get on planes and they can cross the border.
and that's really the kind of immigration that you do not want. and there is ways that the u.s. can help improve health by clean water. so i think the potential is strong -- i wouldn't be involved with this if i hadn't had i think the influence of henry wallace and held in my hand a sick daughter who lacked clean water. [ applause ] >> we really overstretched our time, but i want to do one more question from the national audience, and then the one gentleman standing here having the last question. did you ever hear your grandparents or later your parents speak about what it was like for wallace and perkins after they weren't at the center of power? wallace after the ticket or perkins after the fdr death and leaving the truman administration? >> well, yeah, i know that she
worked for several years as a civil service commissioner with harry truman. she had been trying to resign a few times from working with franklin roosevelt, who she loved, but also she was ready to take a break i think. and he wouldn't let her. he needed her. so she finished and ready for a break. also then, i think one of the most fulfilling parts of her life may have been her last ten years when she was invited to help found the school of industrial and labor relations at cornell university in ithaca. she worked there for ten years, and five of those years on about the fifth year she was invited by the man on the end of this panel to be a resident at
teluride house, which she was thrilled, and riding home from the dinner party where she had been invited to live at the house with her colleague who she worked with on the school of industrial labor relations. she said, morris, do you know what they've done? these boys have invited me to live with them. i feel like a bride on her wedding night. [ laughter ] >> david -- >> just very briefly. we spent every summer with my grandfather over in south salem working in the fields up until noon. and then your afternoons were free. but i don't remember him ever expressing any regret for leaving washington, d.c. in the center of that political life. i think he was very -- there was a side of him that didn't come through i think in some of the 40 news reels. but he was very good-humored. he had learned about plants from george washington carver. and when carver was a young man
in his 20s in iowa, and he took my father under his wing and would talk about plants. and my grandfather found hope i think in the same sense of god's creation. and every spring and every summer wondering what the new variety of plants would bring. i think the only regret was time, which affects us all, as we all know. i think he had a sense that he would live longer. he died when he was 77, als gave him only two years to wind down his life. and so there was regret. he never wrote his autobiography. and i think that part of the story he was planning on telling later. >> i would add when he came to cornell for the seminar, he did not want to talk about the new deal. he wanted to talk about
strawberries. [ laughter ] and i took him up to his room, and in the guest room there was this large print. and he said what do you see in that print? i said, peasants in the field. he said, what do you see down below? i said strawberries. he said, yes, strawberries. [ laughter ] >> last question. in attacking it today and attacking the new deal programs, people are essentially attacking the basic idea that the government has an obligation to help people. if your grandparents were here today, how would they react to that? what would they say in answer to that? >> well, all right. i'll lead off. i think my grandparents, and i certainly know from my grandmother that public service was at the heart of what she thought all of us needed to do. i will say -- and one reason that i'm sure that my cousin
nina did a better job on this panel last year than i could possibly do. this year and my sister anne would do a great job as well. my grandmother assumed that the boys in the family, sons and grandsons, would pursue some form of public service. she took the girls, the young women aside to tell them that they had an obligation to do that. it speaks to the times that that wasn't a given, but she wanted to make clear that they understood that needed to be part of their lives. [ applause ] >> i think you're right in terms of the attacking the new deal. i think it's exactly what's at stake. the feeling now is really the
disciples of grover norquist who said i want to make government small enough so that i can take it into the bathtub and drown it in the bathtub. and i think what we don't have is traditional republican or traditional democrat. i think there is an extremism that will play itself out. and that's one of the reasons i wanted to emphasize the voices that are rising to the fore -- it won't be -- obviously republicans aren't going to call it the new deal, but there are new deal values, they are american values. and i think i find hope in the recovery of the business people in this past few weeks, religious leaders finding their voices, and really saying that we are all part of government, and we cannot let values that are critical to us be set aside and politicized. i think there is something that we all, this is really a call
for all of us. we're about to see in about a week secretary of the interior come down to reverse land designation for the protection of national monuments around some of the most, the key areas that we protect of federal public land will be reduced a week from now. and i think you realize that every national park that has been set aside has been fought for from the grand canyon on up. and i think this is, specifically in this area of protection of lands, what we'll see in the next six months to a year to two years, this will be this generation's chance to protect the nation's federal public lands. and it's just one small area that really it is our time. this is a battle that our grandparents fought for. it is now, and our parents, it is now our time. [ applause ] >> yeah, great question.
i think i'll basically echo david's remarks on just the asking ourselves of what would our grandparents do. we know they'd be appalled at what's going on at the dismantling of their work. so what would they do to protect it and defend it and improve it even, carry it further forward? so that's our challenge for the 2020s and beyond is to find a way to revive it and get it more firmly implanted in society. my grandmother spoke once and said that -- she sounded -- and she was. she was absolutely right when she said that social security is so firmly in our political system that no politician, no, something else, could possibly threaten it. but of course, when she said that, those words were true. but now, my god, look how far the other side has come?
they've moved the ball so we've got to engage and fight back. [ applause ] >> is there time for one more comment? no. >> oh, okay. >> well, i just wanted to address your question, too, about how our new deal programs could be put forward in the 21st century. and i think just very simply, plentiful, clean, as in noncarbon, affordable electricity. so electricity is more and more plentiful, and its price actually starts going down in some way. we figure out how to make it better, more efficient, it's not based on fossil fuels at all. i'm a fanatic about climate change and hydrogen as our next carrier of energy. but it's not a source of energy. so i think nuclear power we have
to revisit nuclear power and find ways to use it profitably and safely. >> i want to ask michael of the national new deal board to make a brief presentation to each of our panelists, and he is the bureau historian of roosevelt, new jersey, one of the subsistence communities, a hundred of them that the new deal created like greenbelt, maryland and others. he's doing this, i'd like to extend our thanks to all of you for what i think is potentially a very significant afternoon together, and may we go forward into the 2020s on the wings of the 1930s. [ applause ]
>> thank you very much. i'd like to read the certificates that we have the honor to present to each of our participants. first to james roosevelt jr. the national new deal preservation association is grateful for your personal contribution to humanity and to our organization, both are likely based on the seeds planted in your dna, by your new deal or grandfather, who provided hope to all americans as he led them out of the great depression of 1933 -- from 1933 to 1945. we thank you for keeping his legacy alive through your own outstanding efforts. [ applause ] to mr. david wallace douglas. thank you again. the national deal preservation is grateful for your personal
contribution to humanity and our organization likely based on seeds planted in your dna by your esteemed grandparent henry wallace whose efforts and commitment between 1933 and '45 are still serving us today. we thank you for keeping his legacy alive through your own outstanding efforts to society. [ applause ] >> and to perkins, grateful of your personal contribution to humanity and organization, both likely based on the seeds planted in your dna by your esteemed new deal grandmother and of course many years before then serviced under governor roosevelt and governor smith before then in new york, is still serving us today. we thank you for keeping her legacy alive through your own outstanding efforts. [ applause ] >> thank you.
>> and, chris, on behalf of june hopkins, national preservation associate's grateful for the contribution made by your family member through the new deal programs from 1933 and '45. we value his hard work and commitment in helping lead out of the great depression. and sharing his legacy with us and all americans. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you for bringing us all together. >> yes. [ applause ] >> for those of you who don't know, there's going to be a performance here tonight at 7:00. have some dinner and then come back. going to feature randall wallace and jay unger and his sister. and i believe the concert starts at 7:00. and it's going to be a great
show. playing the music of the new deal. and, please, one more round of applause for our panelists and our moderator. what a fantastic job. [ applause ] weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight, we look at the cherokee nation. in the 1830s under president andrew jackson, the cherokees were forcibly removed from their lands in the southeastern u.s. in what became known as the trail of tears. oklahoma university law professor lindsey robertson discusses the decisions issued by the u.s. supreme court in cases involving the cherokee nation, especially the role of chief justice john marshall. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, and enjoy american history tv every
weekend on c-span3. american history tv on c-span3 every weekend documenting america's story. funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span3 as a public service. c-spanshop.org is c-span's new online store. go there today to order a kycopy of the congressional directory with contact information for every member of congress, including bios and committee assignments. also contact information for state governors and the biden administration cabinet. order your copy at c-spanshop.org. every c-span shop purchase helps support c-span's nonprofit operation. up next, a conversation with james baker about leadership and his career.
james baker served as secretary of state for president george h.w. bush and is ronald reagan's white house chief of staff and treasury secretary. he's interviewed by attorney and historian talmage boston. baylor university law school hosted this conversation and provided the video. >> hello, my name is brad tobin, i'm the dean of baylor law school. thank you for joining us today as we have a virtual front-row seat to listen in on a fascinating discussion between our friend talmage boston and former secretary of state james baker iii. secretary baker was a powerhouse in washington, d.c. in the beltway and literally around the globe as he served as the united states secretary of state and also further served four united states presidents over the course of three decades. secretary baker was scheduled to be our capstone speaker at the 2020 vision for leadership