Brain Trust

The “Brain Trust” or “Brains Trust” was the name given to a diverse group of economists, professors, and others who served as advisors to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early period of his tenure. These men played a key role in shaping the policies . Although they never met together as a group, they each had Roosevelt’s ear. Many newspaper editorials and editorial cartoons ridiculed them as impractical idealists.

Having an academic team was first suggested in March 1932 by Roosevelt’s legal counsel Samuel Rosenman . In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson had assembled The Inquiry, a group of academic advisors he brought to the Versailles Conference .

The think tank BrainTrust Project combines the spirit of FDR’s Brain Trust with web tools that allow academics and PhD students to post their ideas and analyses and collaborate on policy recommendations. The concept of Roosevelt’s brains trust was also an inspiration for The Roosevelt Institution , a student think tank trying to once again move ideas from academia into the policy discourse. Several modern Brain Trust think groups have been established recently in the Roosevelt model to tackle significant issues in public policy.

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