We invite you to join descendants of the original F.D.R. Cabinet and Brain Trust for a new public program presented in-person and on zoom “The New Deal Then and Now: What is the Role of Government in Response to Great Crises?”

As the nation awaits a vote on President Biden’s historic infrastructure bills—a “new New Deal,” as many have called it—Roosevelt House hosts a public conference examining the lessons of FDR’s original New Deal, and how those lessons can inform the federal response to the most challenging set of crises since the Great Depression. The program will be led by descendants of Franklin Roosevelt’s own Cabinet members and “Brain Trust.”

This in-person conference—also available to attend virtually on Zoom—is the result of the vision and determination of a group of descendants of the FDR administration who, for more than a year, have urged Congress to embrace a transformational legislative agenda—and launch a 21st Century New Deal for the benefit of all Americans. Joining them for the conference will be noted authors, historians, and advocates.

Three one-hour sessions will examine the following vital and timely questions: How did FDR’s New Deal save the country, and how did promoters of limited government push back? What’s at stake now?—a consideration of jobs, climate change, filibuster reform, and voting rights; and, the central question: what makes this the time for a modern New Deal?

Participating descendants include:

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall is the grandson of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Labor Secretary, and founder of the Frances Perkins Center.

David Hopkins Giffen is the great-grandson of Harry Hopkins, WPA Administrator and Commerce Secretary, and the Executive Director of Coalition for the Homeless.

June Hopkins is the granddaughter of Harry Hopkins, WPA Administrator and Commerce Secretary, and the author of Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer. 

James Roosevelt, Jr. is the grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and serves as co-chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee. 

Phoebe Roosevelt is the great-granddaughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, a high school history teacher, and an attorney who served in the Affirmative Litigation division of the New York City Law Department.

Henry Scott Wallace is the grandson of Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s Vice President and Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, and is a former congressional candidate and co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund.

Participating authors, journalists, historians, and advocates include:

Jonathan Alter is a journalist, historian, documentary filmmaker, and the author of The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope and, most recently, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.

Nancy MacLean is Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.

David Riemer is a Senior Fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the author of Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0.

Mary Ellen Sprenkel is President and CEO of The Corps Network, a nationwide network of public-service job corps, and helped the White House design the new Civilian Climate Corps.

Michael Waldman is the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law and the author of The Fight to Vote and The Second Amendment: A Biography.

Adam Jentleson was deputy chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.

To join the program via Zoom, please click here

Conference Agenda

2-3PM: Part I: How Did FDR’s New Deal Save the Country, and How Did Promoters of Limited Government Push Back?

Historians address the momentous paradigm shift from a “laissez faire” federal government to an activist one, as well as the conservative pushback of the 1980s and beyond, and lessons for responding to today’s crises.

Jonathan Alter
Nancy MacLean
Henry Scott Wallace (moderator)

3-4PM: Part II: What’s at Stake?

What are the great needs of the country in this time of multiple crises, where solutions are mired in Washington gridlock? Expert panelists address some of the most essential categories of American life: jobs, climate, filibuster reform, and voting rights. 

Adam Jentleson
David Riemer
Mary Ellen Sprenkel
Michael Waldman
Henry Scott Wallace (moderator)

4-5PM: Part III: Is it Time for a 21st Century New Deal?

Are circumstances today comparable to the 1930s? Are the American people ready to embrace an activist New Deal-style government truly on their side? Are they willing to raise taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for it? New Deal descendants discuss.

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall
David Hopkins Giffen
June Hopkins
James Roosevelt, Jr.
Phoebe Roosevelt
Henry Scott Wallace
David Riemer (moderator)

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A proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all who attend, and masks must be worn at all times in Roosevelt House.

Please click here to upload your vaccination proof.

For information on all upcoming Hunter@Home events and to watch past events, visit

The New Deal Then and Now: What is the Role of Government in Response to Great Crises? | Posted on October 14th, 2021 | Public Programs