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Rosenman, Samuel Irving


ROSENMAN, SAMUEL IRVING (1896–1973), jurist and counsel to presidents Franklin D. *Roosevelt and Harry *Truman. Born in San Antonio, Texas, of Russian immigrant parents, he was admitted to the New York State bar in 1920, and established his legal and political career in New York City.

Serving in elective and appointive office with the New York State legislature, his liberal politics and exceptional legal competence led Governor Roosevelt to appoint him counsel and in 1932 to the State Supreme Court. Throughout Rosen-man's 11-year judicial career, he continued to assist Roosevelt. Most noted as presidential speechwriter and originator of the political slogan "New Deal," he also organized Roosevelt's Brains Trust. During the U.S. mobilization for World War ii, Rosenman was a major force in the creation of national defense agencies, helping mold a bureaucracy able to contend with war emergencies without extensive curtailment of New Deal legislation. In 1943 he resigned judicial office to become counsel to the president. He edited the 13-volume Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1938–50) and described his years with the president in Working with Roosevelt (1952).

After Roosevelt's death, Rosenman was instrumental in assisting President Truman to formulate his domestic program and in preparations for the *War Crime Trials at Nuremberg. In 1946 he resigned as counsel but continued to serve as presidential adviser.

In 1943 Rosenman worked with Chaim *Weizmann in discussions with the State Department on the establishment of a Jewish state. One of Weizmann's voices in the Truman White House, Rosenman secretly brought Weizmann the news in April 1948 that Truman would recognize the Jewish state if partition was not abandoned by the un General Assembly before establishment. His activities on behalf of Israel independence prompted Weizmann to write that it was "only proper" that the first letter he addressed as Israel's president be to Rosenman, who had "contributed so much of [his] effort and wisdom toward bringing about some of the happy results."


Hand, in: Journal of American History, 55 (1968), 334–48.

[Samuel Hand]

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