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“A Contest Between Two Philosophies of Government”: How the Hoover-Roosevelt Debate Shapes the 21st Century

Gordon Lloyd, Pepperdine University
October 6, 2007

The Hoover-Roosevelt Debate in the 1930s——the two faces of liberalism——shapes the public policy debates of the twenty-first century. The very questions that concerned them also concern us today. What should the public sector and private sector do to secure “the blessings of liberty and justice,” in a regime dedicated to “equality of opportunity?” And if government should “do something” about “the problem,” which level and which branch of government should do it? They had a decade-long debate that now dominates the American landscape: liberty versus security, freedom versus regulation, representative government versus the administrative state, the proper role of the judiciary, and the emergency powers of the presidency. These two sessions invite the participants to come to grips with the compelling intricacies of each argument that now dominates the American political and economic landscape.

Gordon Lloyd is Professor of Public Policy in the graduate School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He has written and lectured extensively on the moral and intellectual foundations of political economy, particularly with respect to the fate of classical liberalism. He has edited three books on the American Founding and, with the assistance of the Ashbrook Center, he has launched two comprehensive websites on the creation and adoption of the American Constitution.

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