Homework Help

What was Franklin D. Roosevelt criticizing about classical liberalism when he said,...

user profile pic

vanishedsmoke | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:24 PM via web

dislike 2 like

What was Franklin D. Roosevelt criticizing about classical liberalism when he said, "The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monterary profit."?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:16 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

What President Roosevelt was criticizing in his first inaugural address was the laissez-faire, individualistic attitude that is part of classical liberalism.  He was blaming it for the onset of the Depression and was saying that it needed to be done away with.

Classical liberalism is, generally speaking, and ideology that holds that “the government is best which governs least.”  In economic terms, classical liberals believed that the government should not interfere in the workings of the market.  Such interference would lead to a variety of problems.  Instead, the government should let the market control itself.  Classical liberals were also much more concerned with the rights of the individual than the needs of society.

In this speech, Roosevelt is criticizing these ideas.  He was saying that American society had gone too far in those directions.  He was saying that we had reached a point where we thought that the most valuable thing was monetary profit.  He was saying that we held profit, which helps individuals, over things that are more beneficial to our society.

Thus, Roosevelt was criticizing what he saw as an excessively laissez-faire and individualistic attitude on the part of Americans during the 1920s.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes