Berle, Adolf Augustus, Jr.

Berle, Adolf Augustus, Jr. bûrˈlē [key], 1895–1971, American lawyer and public official, b. Boston. Admitted to the bar in 1916, he served in World War I and was a member of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Resigning in protest against the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Berle returned to practice law in New York City and later became (1927) professor of corporate law at Columbia. As a specialist in corporation law and finance, he was a member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Brain Trust and helped shape much of the banking and securities legislation of the New Deal. As Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American affairs (1938–44), Berle attended many inter-American conferences and acted as spokesman for Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy. After serving (1945–46) as ambassador to Brazil, he resumed his professorship at Columbia and was a founder and chairman (1952–55) of the Liberal party. In 1961, Berle headed a task force for President John F. Kennedy that recommended the Alliance for Progress. His well-known writings include the classic study The Modern Corporation and Private Property (with G. C. Means, 1933, rev. ed. 1968), The 20th Century Capitalist Revolution (1954), Tides of Crisis (1957), Power without Property (1959), and Power (1969). A selection of his papers was edited by B. B. Berle and T. B. Jacobs (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies