Browsing "Lincoln’s Revolutionary Legacy"

Loyal Leagues, Klans and Precedents

In postwar North Carolina the Loyal Leagues, Union League, etc., of the North’s Republican party were regarded as hostile organizations and designed to instill hatred in the freedmen against their white neighbors – for political purposes. During 1869 “there was an epidemic of barn-burnings in several counties of the State” charged to the Leagues as they encouraged blacks to destroy the agricultural livelihood of white farmers who were Democrats. Southern leaders advised Northern Republicans that if they disbanded their Loyal Leagues, the Klan would immediately disappear.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Loyal Leagues, Klans and Precedents

“The part played by the Loyal Leagues and similar organizations [Union League] in provoking the Southern people to defensive expedients was recognized by fair-minded Northern newspapers, and when in April, 1868, General [George G.] Meade issued an order for the suppression of the Ku Klux Klan, the New York Herald commented:

“The order of General Meade . . . will meet with the approval of all who espouse the cause of order and good government. But the General must not exercise his power on that organization alone. He must rigorously suppress the secret “Loyal Leagues” of Negroes; for they are equally, if not more, pernicious in their influence than the white man’s society.

The arrogance of the Negroes and their attempt to reduce the whites of the South to political vassalage by means of the “Loyal Leagues,” and the many other outrages that have been committed by these same Leagues, are equally as dangerous to the peace and safety of society as are the retaliatory actions of the Ku Klux Klan.”

An Alabama paper in an editorial denouncing the Loyal League said: “The League is nothing more than a [black] Ku Klux Klan . . . Let [their carpetbagger leader] break up the League and thus remove all temptation from the Kluxes to come here.”

It was the usual practice for the Leagues, when they held their meetings, to throw out armed pickets in all directions about the building . . . [a white resident commented that] “The Negroes acted here just like an invading army after they had conquered everything and were going rough-shod over everything. They thought they were the big dogs in the ring.”

Even so prejudiced an observer as the carpetbagger Judge [Albion] Tourgee said: “There is no doubt about this feeling, taken in connection with the enfranchisement of the blacks, induced thousands of good citizens to ally themselves with the Ku Klux Klan upon the idea of that they were acting in self-defense in so doing, and especially that they were securing the safety of their wives and children thereby.”

In such a state of affairs . . . throughout the South there began spontaneously to spring up local defensive groups, generally in the form of secret societies, designed primarily to offset the aggressiveness of the Loyal Leagues.

The members of the Boston Tea Party – and the members of the Ku Klux Klan – were but following a precedent set for them in earlier days in other lands. England had known the Moss Troopers, who took drastic means of manifesting their disapproval of the iron rule of the Normans; the misrule of Louis XI of France had resulted in the formation of that powerful and mysterious organization known as the Free Companions; Italy had its Carbonari during the Napoleonic wars.

Freedom loving people everywhere, when overwhelmed by oppression against which they have no their defense, have never hesitated to resort to secret and, if needs be, violent organizations for relief.”

(The Invisible Empire, The Story of the Ku Klux Klan, 1866-1871, Stanley F. Horn, Houghton-Mifflin, 1939, pp. 26-30)

Grasping Yankee Prussians Against the South

Southern President Jefferson Davis described Bismarck’s Prussians as the “arrogant robbing Yankees of Europe” who appropriated their small sister states into a centralized and oppressive regime. By 1864, fully 25% of Lincoln’s war machine was comprised of German soldiers and US war bonds found many subscribers in the Fatherland.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Grasping Yankee Prussians Against the South

“ . . . Southerners insisted that slavery was not a cause of the war in the sense of being a source of an irrepressible conflict between North and South. They ascribed [Northern attacks on slavery] . . . not to any humanitarian or ideological considerations which indicated divergent opinions on the morality of slavery, but to the desires of ambitious politicians and selfish manufacturers for political power and economic gain.

They charged that Northern majorities in Congress had passed legislation for the benefit of their section’s commercial and manufacturing interests and at the expense of the Southern States. The Yankees had become grasping and aggressive, and Jefferson Davis, drawing a parallel to the contemporary Franco-Prussian War, compared the Yankees of the 1850’s to the Prussians of the 1870’s . . .

Not slavery, but the North’s unjustifiable assaults upon the Southern States had caused secession and war, in the view of Confederates . . . the primary reasons for the North’s hostility to the Southern States lay in the fact that the Northern and Southern States had differing, antagonistic and competing ways of life. The Southern way of life was generally defined by former Confederates in terms of an agricultural economy, locally controlled and conservative in its social and political customs.

[They] emphasized in particular that the ante-bellum South had differed from the North in that its civilization had been essentially conservative. It was conservative, they asserted, in its concept of constitutional liberty, centering around the sovereignty of States, and opposed both to national centralization and to extreme doctrines of the “natural rights” of individuals.

It was conservative also, they stated, in its aristocratic principles, opposing mere majority rule, opposing what the former Confederate Secretary of State, R.M.T. Hunter called the “despotic majority of numbers” in the North.

D.H. Hill, A.T. Bledsoe, and R.L. Dabney took the lead in describing the antagonism between Southern “conservatism” and Northern “radicalism.” The North, they declared, had abandoned the system of government prescribed in the Constitution and had adopted radical, democratic, European “isms,” based upon principles of equal rights for all individuals and rule by the majority.

These doctrines stemmed from the French Revolution; they were held, implied General Jubal Early, by the men who had crucified Jesus Christ. Against Northern Jacobinism the Confederacy had fought the whole world’s battle; the South, asserted [Gen. Daniel H.] Hill, was the Vendee of the United States and had waged a similar fight for “conservatism against lawlessness, infidelity, irreverence towards God and man, radicalism.”

(Americans Interpret Their Civil War, Thomas J. Presley, Princeton University Press, 1954, pp. 119-121)

Gov. Thomas E. Dewey on Big Government, Circa 1950

The following are excerpts from a Gov. Thomas E. Dewey speech delivered in April 1950 regarding how a sectional political party in this country is “a menace to responsible government.” He viewed the Democrat party as a liberal and radical party, with policies similar to Lenin’s.  Ironically, he denounces sectional parties as a menace with no legitimate role in a free society, though his own party originated as such in 1854.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Gov. Thomas E. Dewey on Big Government, Circa 1950

“Big Government: New Trend in US” Lecture on Political Science by Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York.

“Although the United States is the youngest of the great nations, ours is one of the oldest free republics on earth. Its durability has persisted in the face of wars and the inevitable frailty of human beings who conduct government. Our political history has been the history of a two-party system in action. From the early days of the republic our basic political arrangement has been the same — one party in power and one party in opposition.

The Democratic party would be the liberal to radical party. The Republican party would be the conservative to reactionary party.

Now is there a legitimate role for third parties in this country? The answer depends on whether the third party is national in character with intellectual breadth and a broad base of popular support, or whether it is narrowly local in nature.

Such sectional or local parties are, basically, only splinter movements. They have proved to be a menace to responsible government here, just as they have to responsible governments elsewhere. I see no legitimate place for hem in a free system such as ours.

On Big Government Lenin has said that socialized medicine is the “keystone of the arch” of communism. Socialized medicine today is a major part of the President’s legislative program.

In the same way last year, Mr. Truman called for power to use federal funds to build factories which would compete with privately-owned factories. It is fundamental that no citizen can successfully compete against his government . . .

Why has Big Government made such a successful appeal to our people these last 17 years? I think it is because many millions of Americans have been persuaded that Big Government is the alternative to depression and insecurity. The offer of Big Government today is to protect its people against the hazards of life. Its method, for the present, is to socialize incomes through taxation and to socialize risks. Government which pretends to take the risks out of life is fraudulent. All it does is remove the rewards.

And if the final result is total leisure in the form of continuous paid unemployment, the result will not be a richer life but a national last illness. Big Government, like dictatorships, can continue only by growing larger and larger. It can never retrench without admitting failure. It feeds on the gradual obliteration of State and local governments as elements of sovereignty and tends to transform them into districts and prefectures.

By adsorbing more than half of all the taxing power of the nation, Big Government now deprives the State and local governments of the capacity to support the programs they should conduct. In place of their own taxing powers, it offers them in exchange the counterfeit currency of federal subsidy.”

(“Big Government: New Trend in US,” Lecture on Political Science by Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York, April 1950)

The American Socialist Utopia of 2000

In this unique book from 1887, Marxist author Edward Bellamy of Massachusetts travels to an American socialist utopia in the year 2000 and converses with a fictitious Dr. Leete who explains government ownership of various industries, including publishing. All citizens are employed in the industrial army and each is paid according to his or her need. To gain the public eye and ear, aspiring authors would need government approval but suffer from absolutely no censorship.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The American Socialist Utopia of 2000

“I judge then, that there has been some notable literature produced in this century?”

“Yes,” said Dr. Leete. “It has been an era of unexampled intellectual splendor. Probably humanity never before passed through a moral and material evolution, at once so vast in scope and brief in its time of accomplishment, as that from the old order to the new in the early part of this century…”

“By the way,” said I, “talking of literature, how are books published now? Is that also done by the nation?”

“Certainly.”

“But how do you manage it? Does the government publish everything that is brought it as a matter of course, at the public expense, or does it exercise a censorship and print only what it approves?”

“Neither way. The [government] printing department has no censorial powers. It is bound to print all that is offered it, but prints it only on the condition that the author defray the first cost out of his credit. He must pay for the privilege of the public ear, and if he has any message worth hearing we consider that he will be glad to do it.

Of course, if incomes were unequal, as in the old times, this rule would enable only the rich to be authors, but the resources of citizens being equal, it simply measures the strength of the author’s motive. The book, on being published, is placed on sale by the nation.”

“If you have newspapers at all, they must . . . be published by the government at public expense, with government editors, reflecting government opinions.”

“Not as with you, certainly,” replied Dr. Leete, “but nevertheless in one way. The price of every book is made up of the cost of publication with a royalty for the author. The author fixes this royalty at any figure he pleases. If his book be moderately successful, he has thus a furlough for several months, a year, two or three more years, and if he in the mean time produces other successful work, the remission of service is extended so far as the sale of that may justify.  [In this manner] there is no such thing as favoritism of any sort to interfere with the recognition of true merit. Every author has precisely the same facilities for bringing his work before the public tribunal.

The newspaper press is organized so as to be a more perfect expression of public opinion than it could possibly could be in your day, when private capital controlled and managed it primarily as a money-making business, and secondarily only as a mouthpiece for the people.

The subscribers to the paper now elect somebody as editor . . . Instead of paying a salary to him, as in your day, the subscribers pay the nation an indemnity equal to the cost of his [personal] support for taking him away from the general support [of the nation]. When an editor’s services are no longer desired, if he cannot earn the right to his time by other literary work, he simply resumes his place in the industrial army.”

(Looking Backward, 2000-1887, Edward Bellamy, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1887, pp. 161-168) 

 

The Problem of the Negroes

The following editorial in the Confederate Veteran magazine of January 1907 presents the view of the American race problem common of that time. A later submission to that journal asked the question: “How does it happen that blacks who took care of the helpless women and children during the war cannot now be trusted to live in the same town?” That writer observed that the carpetbag element after 1865 “created between the races a strong propulsive force to drive them apart, placing on the defensive the white . . .” and on the part of the black, “arousing an envy and hatred inevitably born of a feeling that in being debarred from social equality by the native whites he was being deprived of something to which he was entitled by right.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The Problem of the Negroes

“The Veteran has been silent on this most important question; but every phase of it has been considered constantly and diligently, especially from the standpoint of friendship for that thriftless but most amiable race. Antagonisms exist as they never did before, and the neglect of white people in behalf of these issues has been greatly to their discredit.

We all like the old Negroes, and those of the fast-decaying remnant of ex-slaves are still faithful and loyal to the families of their former masters. The same instincts are much more prevalent among their offspring than is generally realized. While the Associated Press flashes a horrible account of a fiendish deed of one Negro, ten thousand others are going quietly about their business as law-abiding and worthy of consideration as could be expected of them.

It seems that education has been a curse rather than a blessing to them. The editor of the Veteran soon after attaining his majority, early after the close of the war, took an active part in behalf of their education. He antagonized some of his people as editor of a country newspaper in advocacy of public schools, which required that as good facilities be given to blacks as he whites.

He attended a venerable divine, President of the Davidson County School Board, who, when the movement was quite unpopular, canvassed his native county of Bedford in their behalf from purely benevolent motives, making the one argument that all men should learn to read the Bible. It seems, however, that when a Negro has learned to read he ceases to work, and his idleness begets mischief, and often of the worst kind.

There is not sufficient cooperation of the two races. Besides, many whites are not justly considerate of Negroes. White people should confer with the better classes of blacks for the common good, and they should cooperate cordially.

The separate [railroad] car laws are proper, and became a necessity because of the insolent presumption of the Negroes. It was quite the rule for them to string out the length of the cars, so as to compel whites to sit among them, and every act toward social equality has proven a tendency of insolence [toward white people]. The Negroes made this isolation a necessity, and they may expect its perpetuity.

With these laws in force the whites should be very considerate and see that no injustice is done the Negroes. Again, there is a sore lack of consideration for Negroes in conversation with white people. The Negro is not to blame for his color . . . and inasmuch as we declare his inferiority, we should be diligent that justice be done him.

Often are remarks made in the presence of Negroes that instinctively create hatred not only toward those who are inconsiderate but against the white race. Every white person should be on guard to avoid giving offense in this manner.

At the first annual dinner of the Alabama Society (of one hundred and fifty members) in New York near Christmas day the Hon. Seth Low, of that great city, was a special guest. This race question was the theme of the evening, and Mr. Low, with exquisite deference, suggested that the white people of the South consider these unhappy disturbances as fairly as possible, looking at the situation from the standpoint of the Negro.

The condition confronts us, and the sooner we grapple it the better. White people intend to control, and the Negro will be the great sufferer in the end for all disturbances, so that both races should do all in their power for the friendliest relations possible.

No more Negroes should be admitted to the army, and the amendment to the Constitution giving Negroes the ballot should be repealed. This ballot is the luring one in social as well as political strife. In compelling the Negro to keep his place the highest instincts of life should be exercised to treat him kindly and justly in every way.

Let us confront the problem honestly. The Negro did not come among us of his own accord, and they can’t all get away. If tact were exercised, it would be quite sufficient. Let the white people of the South revive the old rule of kindness, and never, anyhow in their presence, speak ill of the Negro race.”

(Problem of the Negroes, S.A. Cunningham, Editor, Confederate Veteran, January 1907, page 8)

The South Falls Heir to Northern Problems

The South after 1865 was not only an economic colony for Northern interests, but it would also fell prey to the multitude of vices associated with a relentless pursuit of profit. What was earlier termed “the Southern Yankee” became more common as the drive to emulate the industrialized and profit-obsessed North overwhelmed the Southern people.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The South Falls Heir to Northern Problems

“During the decade of the [nineteen] twenties, the South surpassed New England in textile manufacturing. A growing percentage of owners of Southern mills were absentee Yankees. In 1929 the region’s first serious labor revolts occurred, and Communist agitators were discovered among the rioters in Gastonia, North Carolina. There could no longer be any doubt that industrialization threatened to bring change. Some Southerners questioned the wisdom of continuing to heed the advocates of the “New South.”

If the South proceeded in remaking herself in the image of the North, would she not fall heir to those Northern problems from which she had fancied herself immune? Chief among the literary expressions of reaction was “I’ll Take My Stand,” published in 1930. A defense of agrarianism and individualism, it was the work of twelve Southern writers, most of them associated with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. During the 1920’s, four of their number (John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Donald Davidson) published “The Fugitive,” a significant magazine of poetry and criticism.

Later in the decade with the nation seemingly committed to materialism and the South in ferment, they began their quest for Southern identity. They found the good life in an agrarian society where ideals meant more than money — in the South before 1880 — and they recommended it to a nation which had lost its balance. Like the Fugitives, Ball found the cherished personal virtues — the code of the upcountryman — secure only in the land. But because his arena was political, he saw the happier life also dependent upon conservative government.”

(Damned Upcountryman, William Watts Ball, John D. Starke, Duke Press, 1968, pp. 151-152)

 

False Reasons for Removing the Confederate Flag

Karl Marx, European correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, saw the American war1861-65 as a struggle of workers versus capital. He was brought to the Tribune by socialist editor Charles A. Dana who became Lincoln’s assistant secretary of war, and it was Dana who ordered Jefferson Davis manacled at Fortress Monroe.  Below, the late columnist Sam Francis writes of the effort to remove a symbol of South Carolina’s proud heritage in 1997 — David Beasley was a one-term governor of that State.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

False Reasons for Removing the Confederate Flag

“A people separated from their heritage are easily persuaded,” wrote a correspondent for the New York Times during the American Civil War who zealously supported the Northern side in that conflict. If you erase the symbols pf a peoples’ heritage, you erase their public memory and identity, and then you can “persuade” them of whatever you want. For once the correspondent knew what he was talking about.

His name was Karl Marx, and his legacy lives on in the Republican governor of South Carolina.

Last month, Gov. David Beasley unveiled his plan to remove the Confederate Battle Flag that flutters on top of South Carolina’s State capitol, and he’s lined up an impressive coalition of former governors, white business leaders, black political activists and the antediluvian Sen. Strom Thurmond to go along with him.

This month, the State legislature will vote on his proposal to remove the flag to a more obscure location on the capital grounds, and the only thing between separating the people of the State from the heritage the flag symbolizes is the people themselves.

Why Gov. Beasley is so intent about his proposal is something of a mystery. In 1994 he supported keeping the flag where it is and has been since 1962, and his betrayal explicit pledges to retain the banner can bring him no political gains. Indeed, with several Southern heritage groups mobilizing against him, it seems more likely that he has committed a major blunder that will haunt his re-election efforts in 1998.

In a televised speech to the State in November, the governor came up with a number of transparently phony reasons why the flag has to go. “I have a question for us tonight,” he intoned to his fellow Carolinians, “Do we want our children to be debating the Confederate flag in ten years? . . . And the debate will not subside, but intensify. I don’t want that for my children or yours.”

But of course there would be no debate at all if it were not for the governor’s own proposal to get rid of the flag. Similar proposals were roundly rejected in 1994, and State law now requires that the flag continue to fly. The debate was settled. Only by reviving this divisive issue himself has Mr. Beasley insured that the “debate” will intensify.

And so what if the “debate” does live on? Why is it a bad thing for South Carolinians to think, talk and argue about the flag and its meaning? Maybe in the process of doing so, some of them – not least the governor and his allies – will learn something about their own heritage and why erasing it is not a good idea.

Mr. Beasley also maundered on about the evils of “racism” and alluded to several recent “hate crimes,” while denying that the flag itself was a racist symbol. If it isn’t, then why drag in the hate crimes, and why take it down at all?

“Hate-filled cowards cover their heads and meet under the cloak of night, scattering their seeds of racism in the winds of deceit about the flag and its meaning.”

The governor’s argument seems to be that since many blacks and not a few whites have come to regard the Confederate Flag as a symbol of “racism” and “hate,” then the flag is divisive and needs to come down. There is no question of trying to correct their flawed view of the flag’s meaning. The burden is not on those who invest the flag with meaning it never had but on those who want to retain the meanings it has always represented.

For the business elites, the flag and the controversy about it are “hurting economic growth,” according to the New York Times. How they do so is not quite so clear, nor is it clear why economic growth should take precedence over preservation of a cultural identity, but then Economic Man never likes to consider that question.

For the racial enemies of the flag, the goal is their own empowerment, a goal they know cannot be attained until the flag is removed and the heritage it represents and they despise is wiped clean. “That symbol only embraces the heritage of a particular people,” sneers one flag enemy, black lawyer Carl Grant. It’s not the flag but the heritage he seeks to destroy.

But whether driven by race or greed, the foes of the flag agree on one thing, that as long as the flag over the Capitol waves, the people of South Carolina will know that the heritage it represents retains some official meaning.

Only when it is removed will the people be separated from their heritage, and only then can they be easily persuaded to pursue whatever goals the enemies of their real heritage desire.” (published January 7, 1997)

 

Wilson's League of Economic Exploitation

Behind the façade of Woodrow Wilson’s utopian idealism at Versailles in 1919 was the reality of the victor’s retribution and the predictable result of their repressive terms for peace. Lenin was already consolidating his merciless regime in Russia, the British were busy seizing Middle Eastern oil fields as their own, and the French desired an independent Rhineland. General Tasker Bliss wrote his wife” “The submerged nations are coming to the surface and as soon as they appear they fly at somebody’s throat. They are like mosquitos, vicious from the moment of birth.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Wilson’s League of Economic Exploitation

“According to all the Paris dispatches, President Wilson has authorized the statement that the league of nations plan is to be an integral part of the peace treaty. If this be true, we regard it as a deliberate attempt to dragoon the Senate of the United States, and as such, a logical and fitting climax to the whole discreditable course of the Paris Conference.

It is a familiar trick of the “rider.” The people of this country want the peace treaty signed and out of the way, the business interests being especially impatient of delay. At the same time, they are very imperfectly informed about the implications of the league covenant, and reluctant to wade through the diplomatic jargon which half-conceals its sinister purposes.

We may be quite sure . . . that every agency at the disposal of the [Wilson] Administration will do its utmost to manufacture and strengthen public sentiment against the opposition of the Senate . . .

This alliance of victorious Governments, masquerading under the pretentious lying title of a league of nations, organized for sheer economic exploitation, has nowhere in its constitution sincerity enough to make fitting one single inch of furtherance by aid of any honorable means whatsoever. It should continue and end under no other that the auspices of its beginning.

[There is no reason economically for the league as] the removal of economic barriers and restrictions now imposed by political governments upon industry and trade would, we believe, at once effect the same free economic union among world states that now prevails among the United States of America; and we think that a free economic union is the only one that will have stability or permanence.

[The proposed league] has no quality or characteristic which essentially differentiates it from treaties that have heretofore bound the European states into competitive and predatory groups. The war has made the liberal spirit impatient of opportunism and compromise. If all the cost and sacrifice involved in the struggle to “make the world safe for democracy” have purchased nothing better than a rescript of old treaties, if it has not brought about the practical affirmation of a single democratic principle, we cannot see any place for opportunism in judgment. Faith, under such circumstances, is not faith, but indolent, shirking credulity.

What we have [in the league] is a calm, arrogant, and ruthless formulation of a plan of world-domination by the five conquering powers, a device for causing the exploitable territories of the earth to stand and deliver without the risk and cost of war.

The Governments of the United States, Great Britain, France Italy and Japan are the league of nations; they are the executive council; they appoint the dummy directors; they pass finally on the qualifications of candidates; they are, in short, an absolute and irresponsible oligarchy.

International commerce cannot be carried on except at their pleasure, under their jurisdiction, and, it is surely by this time superfluous to add, to their profit. Teleologically considered, we are offered an economic alliance which has as its primary object, in general, the exploitation of a property-less dependent class of the world over, and, as between nations, the exploitation of the vanquished by the victors, and of weaker nations by the stronger.

It is an organization of what Mr. Frederic C. Howe calls “financial imperialism” raised to its highest possibility. It contemplates only a political peace, and that a pax Romana. Of economic peace it gives no hint; on the contrary, it contemplates the inauguration of unprecedented economic war.”

(The End of the Means, Albert J. Nock, The State of the Union, Essays in Social Criticism, C.H. Hamilton, editor, Liberty Fund, 1991, pp. 76-77; 79)

Unrestricted Presidential Foreign Policy

Eisenhower was an internationalist and moved ahead of conservative Robert A. Taft for that reason by the GOP leadership in 1951. This successor to FDR and Truman would not relinquish control of United States foreign policy to Congress and helped organize opposition to the Bricker Amendment in 1953. For reference, Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides that the President “shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur . . .”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Unrestricted Presidential Foreign Policy

“[Eisenhower] usually had Democratic support for an activist, presidentially-dominated foreign policy. Many of his fellow Republicans, however, had a lingering fear from the Roosevelt-Truman years of the chief executive’s preeminence in international affairs. Such Republicans – basically the Midwestern and Western, formerly [Robert A. Taft supporter], element in the GOP – furnished most of the support for the effort to limit presidential power in foreign policy. That effort took the form of the Bricker Amendment.

As early as 1951 Republican Senator John Bricker of Ohio had introduced a constitutional amendment which, though taking several different forms over the next three years, retained three main provisions: (1) The executive branch could enter into no treaty that conflicted with the Constitution. (2) Any treaty, to become effective as internal law in the United States, must have supporting legislation “which would be valid in the absence of a treaty.” (3) In addition to the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the Senate must approve a treaty, Congress would gain the power to reject or regulate all executive agreements with foreign countries just as if they were formal treaties.

Although Bricker had originally offered his amendment out of opposition to Democrat foreign policy, especially the Yalta agreements, he revived the measure early in the Eisenhower administration with the backing of a majority of Republican senators. The amendment also had the support of the American Bar Association, the American Legion, the American Medical Association, and other powerful organizations.

It was the second article . . . evocation of States’ rights — that generated the greatest controversy, rallied the opposition in both parties, and eventually caused the amendment’s demise. The administration could charge that the “which” clause, by forcing the State Department to square every treaty with existing laws in every State, would reduce foreign policy to its feeble condition under the Articles of Confederation.

Contenting himself with platitudes and suggestions for compromise, Eisenhower shrewdly left the major attack on the Bricker Amendment in the hands of the State Department. Privately . . . Eisenhower exploded, “I’m so sick of this I could scream. The whole damn thing is senseless and plain damaging to the prestige of the United States.”

As the debate over the amendment dragged through 1953 into the next year, the administration finally succeeded in organizing the “internationalist” opposition inside and outside Congress. In the end the administration narrowly won its case [and defeated the amendment].

The failure of the Bricker Amendment left the Eisenhower administration with a relatively free hand in foreign policy. Building upon the inherited frameworks of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States (OAS), the ANZUS treaty with Australia and New Zealand, and various bilateral pacts, Secretary [John Foster] Dulles brought into being an elaborate global system of alliances. Supplemented by more bilateral treaties, the expanded American alliance system encircled and pointed SAC’s nuclear power at the hearts of the Soviet Union and mainland China.

Moreover, while they paid more heed to congressional opinion than would their successors, the President and Secretary of State were usually able to commit American armed forces whenever and wherever they perceived a threat to the global status quo.

Finally, the Central Intelligence Agency, with Eisenhower’s full approval and indeed enthusiastic support, vastly broadened its role and functions. Under Director Allen Dulles the CIA went beyond its original statutory responsibility for gathering data on conditions in foreign countries (i.e., espionage) and became a powerful instrument for implementing American policy and objectives.

On a number of occasions the CIA intervened clandestinely in the internal politics of other nations, sometimes to shore up shaky regimes favored by the United States, or at times to subvert and overthrow objectionable governments. The first occasion was in Iran within six months after Eisenhower entered the White House . . . [when] key portions of the American national security bureaucracy had come not only to share the British view of overthrowing [Mohammed] Mossadeq was necessary to insure Western access to Iranian oil, but to believe that Mossadeq was sympathetic to his country’s Marxist Tudeh party and was moving into the Soviet orbit.

After Mossadeq refused to give in to the new administration’s threats to withdraw its aid, the CIA began working undercover to bring him down. Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the CIA’s top covert agent in the Middle East, operated closely with the American Military Assistance Mission in Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Late in August the Mossadeq government capitulated, [pro-Western Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi] made a triumphant return, and an army general friendly to the Western powers was installed as premier.”

(Holding the Line: The Eisenhower Era, 1952-1961, Charles C. Alexander, Indiana University Press, 1975, pp. 71-74)

 

Writers and Journalists as Intellectual Terrorists

The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) lost many votes to an FDR who absorbed their policies and platforms into his Democrat party – something which deeply alienated conservative Southerners and led to the Dixiecrat party of 1948. The CPUSA of 1932, 1936 and 1940 presidential bid was led by William Z. Foster, then Earl Browder, and James W. Ford, the first black man to be on a presidential ticket.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Writers and Journalists as Intellectual Terrorists

“As the Communists rejected the middle way which was the New Deal’s faith, so they rejected the experimentalism which was the New Deal’s method. Browder condemned pragmatism as the philosophy of “the bourgeoisie in ascendancy.” Now that capitalism was in crisis, pragmatism was in crisis too; it “has failed its class creator’s in the critical moment. It is unable to give capitalism any answer to the question, “what way is out?” And its effect in confusing the working class, Browder complained, was “very poisonous.” In place of pragmatism, the Communists insisted on the dogmatism of dialectical materialism.

All this the New Dealer’s found philosophically absurd. “Let no man,” wrote Archibald MacLeish, “miss the point of Mr. Roosevelt’s hold upon the minds of the citizens of this republic.” Roosevelt fired the world’s imagination because mankind wanted to break out of the cage of dogma; people were sick of both the great bankers and the great revolutionaries, each resting their case on the idea of immutable ideology.

And Communist dogmatism was more than absurd. It was evil in the repression and persecution to wh ich it led. “Its leaders,” said MacLeish, “the writers and journalists who shape its thought, are for the most part intellectual terrorists.”

MacLeish derided the dream of “that far, far, distant classless society which Karl Marx permitted his congregations to glimpse over the million heads of many sacrificed and immolated generations – that classless society which retreats as rapidly as communism with its privileged class advances.”

“One hears from time to time,” wrote Felix Frankfurter, “much shallow talk about the elimination of politics, as though politics – the free exchange of opinion regarding the best policy for the life of society – were not the essence of a free and vigorous people . . . We have been nauseated by “purges” both in Berlin and in Moscow.”

“Like all civil liberties people,” said Upton Sinclair, “I encounter difficulties in defending the rights of Communists who themselves repudiate freedom of speech, press and assemblage, and do everything they can to deprive others of those rights.”

The essence of Communism was revolution . . . [MacLeish wrote that] the revolutionary movement was “a movement conceived , delivered and nurtured in negatives . . . Its one convincing aim is the destruction of the existing order. Its one vital dream is the establishment of repressive control.” Its portrait of the future is cruel and sterile.”

[The CPUSA] method was to invent or penetrate organizations dedicated to a plausible cause and to use agreement on this cause as a means of implicating people in a Communist-dominated movement. Between 1933 and 1935 the Communists concentrated particularly in pushing such organizations in the field of peace, youth and culture.

By February 1935 Browder could boast before a congressional committee . . . “If you want a gage on the mass following of the Communist Party, a better gage [than party membership] would be the membership of organizations which endorse the various proposals of the party . . . which number about 600,000.”

(The Roosevelt Era: The Politics of Upheaval, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Houghton-Mifflin, pp. 192-194; 198)

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