Business History Review

Research Article

Thurman Arnold Goes to Washington: A Look at Antitrust Policy in the Later New Deal

Wilson D. Miscamblea1

a1 Analyst, Office of National Assessments, Canberra, Australia


No American presidency in this century has inspired quite so much controversy as the turbulent administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even now, on the one-hundreth anniversary of his birth, and nearly fifty years after the coming of the New Deal, the contentious debates sparked during his four terms as chief executive are no less the subject of argument among historians than they were among the adversaries of the day. One issue in point is the question of antitrust, particularly the principles and practices of Thurman Arnold, who headed the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department during the later stages of the New Deal. While this essay will hardly resolve the contumacious debates over the policies of either Arnold or Roosevelt, Dr. Miscamble nonetheless offers some surprising, but persuasive, evidence about the internal workings of the administration, the antitrust philosophy of Roosevelt, and the remarkable practices of Arnold, the law professor turned antimonopolist.