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No. 46 "The Return to Democracy" Speech by Jouett Shouse, July 1, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_46 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 46 "The Return to Democracy" Speech by Jouett Shouse, July 1, 1935. American Liberty League. American Liberty League. Washington, D.C. 1935. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Pamphlets Available â˜… Copies of the following pamphlets and other League literature may he obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Why, The American Liberty League? Statement of Principles and Purposes Progress vs. Change Speech by Jouett Shouse American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget Message Analysis of the $4,880,000,000 Emergency Relief Appropriation Act Economic Security The Bonus Inflation Democracy or Bureaucracy? Speech by Jouett Shouse The Thirty Hour Week The Pending Banking Bill The Holding Company Bill "What is the Constitution Between Friends?" Speech by James M. Beck Where Are We Going? Speech by James W. Wadsworth Price Control Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow The Labor Relations Bill Government by Experiment Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers How Inflation Affects the Average Family Speech by Dr. Ray Bert Westerfield The AAA Amendments Political Banking -Speech by Dr. Walter E. Spahr The Bituminous Coal Bill Regimenting the Farmers Speech by Dr. G. W. Dyer Extension of the NRA Human Rights and the Constitution Speech by R. E. Desvernine The Farmers* Home Bill The TVA Amendments The New Deal, Its Unsound Theories and Irreconcilable Policies Speech by Ralph M. Shaw Is the Constitution for Sale? Speech by Capt. William H. Stayton How to Meet the Issue Speech by William E. Borah The Supreme Court and the New Deal The Duty of the Church to the Social Order Speech by S. Wells XJtley An Open Letter to the President By Dr. Neil Carothers The Revised AAA Amendments AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. The Return to Democracy â˜… â˜… â˜… Speech by JOUETT SHOUSE President of the American Liberty League over the Red Network of the National Broadcasting Company July 1, 1935 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE National Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. Document No. 46 The Return to Democracy â˜… A-S STATED by the announcer, I speak to you tonight as President of the American Liberty League. Our organization was formed less than a year ago. Its objectives are quite definite to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, and to teach the necessity of protection of personal and property rights. Some of those inclined to be critical of our movement have urged that the Constitution was in no danger, but recent decisions of the Supreme Court make clear the facts. In the few minutes I speak tonight I shall try to show specifically how the protection to you as an individual which the Constitution provides is being threatened and the dangers to you of that situation. In prior administrations it has been the accepted custom for the committees of Congress to write legislation, accepting or rejecting, as they might see fit, suggestions that came from the Executive. Also it has been the custom that in each house there should be adequate opportunity for debate and amendment. Under the present administration proposed bills have been prepared at the White House and not in the committees of Congress. Moreover they have been sent to Congress with orders that they should be passed without change, without the opportunity for either amendment or debate. Thus there has arisen the pernicious custom of legislating by gag rule. Under it a member of the House not only has had no opportunity to try to aid in shaping legislation, but he has not been allowed even adequately to discuss it. The excuse has been the emergency. But be not deceived. When your Representatives in Congress are mere rubber stamps for an Executive, no matter how worthy his motives, your rights are being destroyed and your protection under the Constitution threatened. I recall very distinctly my service in Congress 3 in the administration of an eminent Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson. Even in the stress of war, with the fate of the peoples of the world hanging in the balance, no attempt was made to deprive either branch of Congress of its privilege of proper consideration of legislation. Take the Draft Act, for example. Here was a proposal the importance of which could not be overestimated, which had to be passed before America could make plans for participation in the war, and yet it was debated for six full legislative days and the debate upon it changed the attitude of the House completely and enabled the passage of the Act. The Revenue Act of 1917 was considered for eleven legislative days and the Revenue Act of 1918 for ten legislative days in the House. It should be added that none of these measures came to the floor until after an exhaustive study in the committee charged with the responsibility of fostering it. Now let us look at some of the important legislation of the present administration. I refer only to procedure in the House of Representatives. The National Recovery Act had but two days of debate. The Agricultural Adjustment Act also but two days of debate in the House. The Federal Emergency Relief Act was debated for only two days and the Securities Act of 1933 was considered and passed in a single day. During the present session the Work Relief Appropriation Act, which wrote a blanket check to the President for $4,880,000,000 to be expended in any way he might see fit, was given only two days of discussion in the House without any prior committee consideration, and the Wagner Labor Relations Bill was passed with only one day of debate and without the opportunity for a roll call. Last week it was proposed to jam through both houses a tax measure of tremendous import with only five days time for both committee work and debate. There is an orderly and proper method of legislating. The President is empowered by the Constitution to "give to the Congress information of the state of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The committees of Congress are supposed to weigh the President's suggestions and if approved to frame legislation to carry them into effect. In each house there should be permitted the opportunity for debate in which any member can participate and the opportunity for the consideration of all pertinent amendments. That is the orderly way to legislate. That is the way the Congress of the United States has legislated prior to the present administration. But latterly we have seen Congress treated with such contempt that the Executive branch of the Government has written the bills and has ordered Congress to pass them without change and to pass them without any opportunity for adequate debate or amendment. That is the disorderly way to legislate. It is the way of dictatorship. It is the method employed by autocratic governments. It is in direct contrast to every principle of democracy. BuT that is not all. A few weeks ago when the Supreme Court held unconstitutional two of the pet measures of the administration and one dictatorial Executive act, the President made astounding comments on the decisions. At a conference with newspaper men four days after the Supreme Court had acted he delivered a lengthy speech. At the outset he disclaimed any intention of criticizing the Court and then for approximately an hour and a half he bitterly condemned the Court's decisions. He complained that the Court's interpretation of the interstate commerce clause meant a reversion to "horse and buggy days." He complained of the unwisdom of allowing each sovereign state to regulate its own affairs in accordance with its constitutional powers. He spoke of the need of the "restoration" to the Federal Government of alleged powers which it never possessed and which the Supreme Court had just stated clearly it never possessed. The interpretation put on the President's speech by the entire press of the Nation was that he contemplated an attempt to restrict the authority of the Supreme Court and thus to enlarge the powers of the Executive at the expense of the Judiciary. What may he his intentions in this regard only the future can disclose. It is not surprising that his plans were set back by strikingly unfavorable reaction of the country to his suggestion. However, it is notable that two members of his Cabinet and an Under Secretary who have frequently been employed as Presidential spokesmen, in highly publicized speeches since the President's blast, have made bitter attacks upon the Supreme Court decision. Could there be more striking evidence of our need for a return to democracy? ThE very antithesis of democracy is bureaucracy. Bureaucracy ia a government by bureaus, a government by clerks, interference by officials vested with temporary power in the private affairs of the citizen and in the conduct of his business. Bureaucracy represents the accumulation of power in the Executive branch at the expense of the Legislative branch. In a broad sense the issue of bureaucracy concerns the extent to which government properly may apply its regulatory powers over the life and property of individuals. Today we are facing the menace of bureaucracy in a manner and to an extent both unparalleled and unbelievable. A democratic government is being displaced by a bureaucratic autocracy. Do my words seem extreme? Then let us particularize. In the realms of industry and agriculture alike this administration has attempted a policy of regimentation. It is true that the attempt in the first instance was outlawed by the Supreme Court. Equally, it is true that eminent legal authorities hold the Agricultural Adjustment Act to be as unconstitutional as the National Industrial Recovery Act, and on practically the same grounds. But despite the decision in the Schechter case with its widespread implications the administration goes blithely on Us way asking for enlarged powers. Pending amendments to the Agricultural Adjustment Act would extend rather than limit the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. Instead of having merely the power he now possesses to curtail production and to assess processing taxes he would be given dictatorship over all who handle food-stuffs of whatever kind. Indirectly he could thus control the producers who sell to the processors. This would give him authority over the prices that must be paid by the housewife for practically everything she buys. The Oil Administration established under the National Industrial Recovery Act fixed in a bureaucratic board absolute dictation over a major industry and permitted production only as Washington might elect. Under the pretense of reform the Administration Banking Bill now pending in the Senate would take from you and your banker control over your money on deposit in the bank and lodge it in a political board. The Wagner Labor BiU, which has passed both houses and is now in conference, would deprive the employer of any real authority over his employees and would set up a government bureaucracy to define the labor conditions that shall be maintained in his plant. The Bituminous Coal Bill would establish complete governmental domination of an important basic industry and would create bureaucratic boards to put its mandates into effect. The Public Utility Holding Company Bill, as demanded by the President and passed by the Senate, would cause the dissolution of these holding companies within a specified time regardless of the loss of hundreds of millions to security holders through forced liquidation. Moreover, it would place the whole utility industry under stringent government regulation and control. The Thirty-hour Week Bill would make mandatory a system which would be detrimental alike to labor and to industry. Do YOU realize that over a hundred thousand employees have been added to the government payroll under this administration and that every day there will be further increases ? Let me cite an example of the way bureaucracy grows. In March of 1933, Professor Tugwell appeared before the Senate Committee to support the proposed Agricultural Adjustment Administration Bill. In reply to a direct question he suggested that it would not take more than fifty people in Washington to administer the Bill. On April 30, 1935, according to the government's own report, there were 5,362 individuals employed in Washington alone in the administration of the AAA, apart from several thousand employed as field and county agents. What is true here applies in multiplied other instances. Instead of attempting to curb the number of government employees the administration has given unbridled rein to every effort to increase them. There was written at Chicago at the Democratic National Convention of 1932 the best political platform that any party has ever put forward in this country. The nominee of that Convention Governor Roosevelt flew from Albany to Chicago in order to give immediate one hundred per cent endorsement, as he said, to every plank of the platform. One of the outstanding planks read as foUows: "We advocate immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of Federal government." In addition to his personal endorsement, Governor Roosevelt in a speech at Pittsburgh on October 19, 1932, announced that it was his intention if elected to exact a pledge from every man entering his Cabinet, the first item of the pledge being "absolute loyalty to the Democratic platform and especially to its economy plank." It IS not my intention here to dwell upon the question of governmental extravagance. The ghastly record of the Roosevelt administration in its unbridled and wasteful expenditures, in its squandering of public funds for every conceivable purpose, in its total disregard of a continuance of the deficits which Candidate Roosevelt so bitterly and properly condemned in connection with the Hoover administration these form material for a speech of very real length. I am speaking now of the promise of the Democratic platform to abolish useless commissions and offices and to consolidate departments and bureaus. Instead of any attempt to achieve such result save in the first two or three months of his administration, every piece of legislation proposed or endorsed by the President has contemplated a vast increase of Federal employees, a vast growth in the dangerous un-American and undemocratic authority of the appointed bureaucrats who for the moment are in absolute control of the affairs of this Nation. And yet the Democratic platform of 1932 stated, and stated truly, that "a Party platform is a convenant with the people to be faithfully kept by the Party when entrusted with power, and the people are entitled to know in plain words the terms of the contract to which they are asked to subscribe." Time does not permit any detailed discussion of the President's recent so-called tax program. I merely wish to observe in passing that in no sense can it be considered a serious effort to balance the Federal budget in accordance with Mr. Roosevelt's reiterated campaign promises. The estimated yield thus far suggested is about $340,000,000. To consider such a proposal as a budget balancing effort is like trying to shoot an elephant with a pop-gun. Make no mistake about it. This bill is not primarily a revenue bill. It is a political gesture pure and simple. The reckless dissipation of national resources is bound to necessitate very heavy additional taxes. But the money to meet the billions of debts which this administration is piling up will not be raised through any demagogic "Soak the Rich" or "Share Our Wealth" tax program. The bills being incurred in your name by the present administration are going to be paid by crushing taxes upon the average man and woman of this Nation for many years to come. I cannot here dwell upon other aspects of recent legislation. Suffice it to say that much of it would have suited the picture perfectly had it originated on the basis of the platform of the Socialist Party rather than the platform of the Democratic Party. If any experiment could be more radically socialistic or more wholly contrary to the whole basic conception of our government than the TVA I am at a loss to imagine it. And the acts of administration of the confused medley of alphabetical agencies have veered from the extremes of fascism to the limits of socialism. To refer once more to an out-moded but sound document, the Democratic platform of 1932 advocated "the removal of Government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest." Instead of observing that dictum we have seen Government literally thrust into every possible business by the present administration regardless of destruction of legitimate investments or curtailment of the rights and opportunities of citizens. Speaking on behalf of the American Liberty League, I call upon you to join us in the effort to preserve the ideals of America and to perpetuate orderly Government. Your membership in the League will be welcome. Simply address American Liberty League, National Press Building, Washington, D. C, and you will be enrolled. Upon each of you rests individual responsibility. If through indifference or neglect you permit the form of your Government to be changed, if you are unwilling to fight for a return to democracy, you will have only yourselves to blame for the perversion or the destruction of the most successful governmental experiment that the wit of man thus far has devised. A. RETURN to democracy offers the way out. That means a return to orderly Government. Why were the restrictions placed by the Constitution upon the powers of the Federal Government? Some would have you believe that these restrictions work to your detriment and should be removed. Why are they there? They are there simply for your protection. They guarantee your rights and privileges and opportunities. If they are taken away, if they are broken down, your liberties are in danger. No emergency can justify the assumption of arrogant power. One of the wisest of Americans, that old philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, spoke a great truth when he said: "A nation that gives up its liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety."