A New Look at the New Deal and FDR's Shredding of the Bill of Rights : News Releases: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

News Release
October 10, 2023

A New Look at the New Deal and FDR’s Shredding of the Bill of Rights

Oakland, CA— In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously proclaimed freedom of speech as the first of his “four freedoms,” but his behavior, including confining over 120,000 American citizens in concentration camps, often belied such flowery prose.

In the new book The New Deal’s War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR’s Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveillance, Independent Institute Sr. Fellow David T. Beito exposes FDR’s dictatorial endeavors of spying on U.S. citizens, incarcerating minorities, censoring critics and the press, and essentially annihilating the Bill of Rights.

“Until now, examples of Roosevelt’s willingness to cast aside constitutional and other rules still remain hidden from history. Whether it was ordering internment, supporting surveillance by lobbying committees, or wiretapping and snooping into tax returns, Roosevelt never let up on his pursuit of the desired end,” says Beito.

Although few presidents rank higher in the estimation of scholars, the public, and the press, Beito unveils the roots of FDR’s progressive intrusions on the civil rights of citizens, using an abundance of primary source evidence.

Historian and distinguished professor emeritus David T. Beito masterfully presents a complete account of the real Franklin D. Roosevelt: a man who abused power, violated human rights, targeted dissidents, and let his crude racism imprison American citizens merely for being of Japanese descent.

Author Biography: David T. Beito is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in history at the University of Wisconsin, and he is the recipient of the Ellis Hawley Prize. Beito is also the author of T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, and Civil Rights Pioneer (with Linda Royster Beito). He is the former President of the Alabama Scholars Association and Chair of the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

For more information, contact Robert Ade, [email protected], or (510) 635-3690.


100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, public policy, research, and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.
For more information, visit Independent.org.

  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org