Abstract: The Money Changers and the Temple: J.P. Morgan and Company and the Roosevelt Administration, 1933-1939

Martin Horn


This paper examines the relationship between J.P. Morgan & Co. and the Roosevelt administration from 1933 to 1939. It analyzes the views of four senior Morgan partners—Jack Morgan, Thomas Lamont, Russell Leffingwell, and S. Parker Gilbert. I argue that business attitudes regarding the New Deal were more ambiguous than they are often portrayed. Within J.P. Morgan & Co. the response to the domestic agenda of the New Deal varied from partner to partner, evolving as the 1930s progressed. While domestic concerns were critical in determining the posture of business toward the administration, they were not the only factors. J.P. Morgan & Co. was international in its outlook and dealings. Throughout the 1930s the partners backed the foreign policy of the Roosevelt administration consistently. For J.P. Morgan & Co., approval of American foreign policy tempered its criticism of the domestic steps taken by the White House.