Moley, Raymond

views updated


Raymond Charles Moley (September 27, 1886–February 18, 1975) was a scholar, a New Deal public servant, a journalist, and an author. Born in Berea, Ohio, Moley grew up in Olmsted Falls. In 1906, he graduated with a bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland. For a short time thereafter, Moley served as superintendent of schools in his hometown. In 1909, he became ill with tuberculosis and moved to New Mexico and Colorado for health reasons. By 1912 he was cured and decided to pursue his education again, first getting his master's degree in political science at Oberlin College in Ohio, and later his Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York. He taught for a short time at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, then returned to Columbia in the 1920s.

In 1919, Moley became director of the Cleveland Foundation, where he studied and wrote on the court system and the criminal justice system. He eventually became a member of the New York State Crime Commission, where he participated in the Seabury investigation into corruption in the New York City government. While in New York, Moley met Louis Howe, who introduced him to Franklin D. Roosevelt, then governor of New York. Moley and Roosevelt came to know each other better, and Moley offered to help Roosevelt in his 1932 presidential campaign. At the instigation of Samuel Rosenman, Moley put together Roosevelt's famous Brains Trust. Consisting of Moley, Rexford Tugwell, and Adolf Berle, the Brains Trust was designed to help educate Roosevelt for the 1932 campaign and to keep him informed on the most current solutions being offered to resolve the Great Depression. The three men also served as speech-writers for Roosevelt, and it was Moley who actually coined the term New Deal. Moley was particularly helpful in drafting Roosevelt's "Concert of Interests" speech in 1932. During the campaign, Moley emphasized the need for business and government to cooperate in overcoming the economic crisis. After the election, Moley continued calling for such cooperation, while working closely with Roosevelt in both domestic and foreign policy matters. Officially, Moley became assistant secretary of state to Cordell Hull, with whom he disagreed on numerous policy matters.

Moley's star began to fall rapidly during 1933 London Economic Conference. Disagreeing with the president on monetary and world issues, Moley was undermined by Roosevelt's famous "bombshell" message to the Conference announcing that the United States would pursue a domestic program to solve the Depression. Angered and hurt, Moley returned home and gradually began to move out of the Roosevelt inner circle. By 1936, Moley had turned towards Herbert Hoover and the Republican Party. In 1939, he published his memoirs, After Seven Years, criticizing Roosevelt, and in 1940 he openly supported Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie for the presidency. Thereafter, Moley, working as an editor at Today and an associate editor at Newsweek, continued to support Republican candidates and often attacked Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. He died in 1975.



Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years. 1939.

Moley, Raymond. The First New Deal. 1966.

Moley, Raymond. Realities and Illusions, 1886–1931: TheAutobiography of Raymond Moley, edited by Frank Freidel. 1980.

Rosen, Elliot A. Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Brains Trust:From Depression to New Deal. 1977.

Michael V. Namorato