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No. 58 "The Imperilment of Democracy" Radio Address of Fitzgerald Hall, President of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Company, July 18, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_58 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 58 "The Imperilment of Democracy" Radio Address of Fitzgerald Hall, President of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Company, July 18, 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 be obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Statement of Principles and Purposes American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget Message Economic Security Inflation The Thirty Hour Week The Pending Banking Bill The Holding Company Bill Price Control The Labor Relations Bill The Bituminous Coal Bill Extension of the NRA The Farmers* Home Bill The TVA Amendments The New Deal, Its Unsound Theories and Irreconcilable Policies Speech by Ralph M. Shaw How to Meet the Issue Speech by William E. Borah The Supreme Court and the New Deal An Open Letter to the President By Dr. Neil Carothers The Revised AAA Amendments The Return to Democracy Speech by Jouett Shouse The President's Tax Program The American Bar The Trustee of American Institutions Speech by Albert C. Ritchie Two Amazing Years Speech by Nicholas Roosevelt Fabian Socialism in the New Deal Speech by Demarest Lloyd The People's Money Speech by Dr. Walter E. Spahr The Principles of Constitutional Democracy and the New Deal Speech by R. E. Desvernine Which Road to Take? Speech by J. Howard Pew The Blessings of Stability Speech by James W. Wadsworth Legislation By Coercion or Constitution Speech by Jouett Shouse Recovery by Statute Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers Expanding Bureaucracy â˜… AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. â˜… â˜… The Imperil incut of Democracy â˜… â˜… â˜… Radio Address of FITZGERALD HALL President of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Company â˜… Under the auspices of The Kentucky Division American Liberty League â˜… July 18, 1935 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE National Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. â˜… â˜… Document No. 58 The Imperilment of Democracy â˜… FoR many centuries English-speaking peoples labored and fought to decentralize government in the interest of obtaining political, religious and economic freedom for the individual. Long and bitter experience had proven beyond a doubt that no individual or small group of individuals could be trusted with supreme power. Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States stand as enduring monuments to the sacrifices of our progenitors in bequeathing to us a government of law as distinguished from a government of men, under which each citizen is free to exercise the greatest liberty known under any government in the history of the world. Now, unhappily, we observe the spectacle of a so-called Democratic administration turning back the hand of progress a thousand years, seeking to undo the work of our forefathers, seeking to centralize practically complete power in the hands of the bureaucrats in Washington, building up a super-socialistic state under which the average individual will be a mere pawn in the hands of federal office-holders. Much that the present administration has done, is doing, and is attempting to do, is not only directly contrary to the experience of our forefathers, but is contrary to the express principles of our government as set forth in our organic law to say nothing of being inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the party whose standard it bears. I AM a country lawyer from Tennessee, and I take my political philosophy from the teachings of Thomas Jefferson. That the present misnamed Democratic administration has repudiated the principles of my beloved party and of this government, I believe I can effectually demonstrate. Thomas Jefferson wrote: "Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government." If there be anything in the experience of mankind which has been demonstrated beyond question, it is that the more power vested in and exercised by a central government, the less liberty and prosperity there is for the average individual. Yet, in the face of all experience and contrary to the fundamental concepts of our Government, this administration is striving to destroy local self-government and set up in its stead an all-powerful bureaucracy in Washington. I quote Jefferson again: "It is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into states, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every state again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within its local bounds; each county again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." We know, both on principle and by experience, that local self-government is the only sure way by which people may maintain their liberties against the office-holding class; yet, this so-called Democratic administration is attempting to consolidate and concentrate in Washington power over the most intimate affairs in the life of every individual. We are, in point of fact, now being directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, and we now know the untoward results of the insane policy of destroying wealth through the killing of animals and the plowing under of crops. JEFFERSON in his first inaugural stated certain fundamental principles of this Government: "The support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies." The present so-called Democratic administration is taking from the states and the people practically all of their rights, denying them the power to administer their domestic concerns, and is creating an anti-republican socialized government in Washington to which the once proud sovereign states are being relegated to the condition of mere tributary provinces. Again, Jefferson advocated: "Economy in public expense that labor may be lightly burthened." Yet, no government in recorded history, not even France under the Bourbon kings, wasted the public wealth as the present administration is doing. Again Jefferson advocated: "The honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith." Yet, this so-called Democratic administration has not preserved the public faith, but in substance has resorted to the practice of ancient kings in clipping the coinage of the Nation. By this procedure the honest payment of debts has been avoided, and now the Federal Congress is being urged by the Chief Executive to make it impossible for a citizen of these United States who has suffered by reason of the breaking of the plighted faith of the Nation to seek recourse even in the Temple of Justice itself. From Jefferson again: "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories . . . Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left free to individual enterprise." Yet today this so-called Democratic administration is undertaking to determine in the city of Washington how many pigs a man in Kentucky may raise; how much cotton a man in Texas may plant and sell. Our people are being denied the fundamental right of using their own private property and of running their individual farms and businesses in the manner which seems to them best. 4 Heretofore it has been considered one of the elemental rights of individuals, subject only to the jurisdiction of their immediate states, to determine whom they would employ, how much they would pay, and what hours would be required for service. Today this so-called Democratic administration is undertaking to deprive every business man, great and small, of the right to run his business in the manner which his local condition justifies and makes necessary. Not content with its efforts to regiment and enslave business, this so-called Democratic administration is out of the public purse pouring millions into governmentally operated businesses in competition with its tax-paying citizens. Again, Jefferson wrote: ". . . the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." Again: ". . . never spend your money before you have it." Today this so-called Democratic administration is spending billions, not of your money and mine, but borrowed against the property, labors and hopes of future generations. We are mortgaging posterity on the inane and insane idea that colossal expenditure of public funds by politicians creates prosperity. MR. ROOSEVELT of his own accord sought to be the standard bearer of the Jeffersonian party. He was trusted with this power on the basis of a statement of Democratic principles incorporated in the party platform. There was nothing in that platform, there was nothing in the statements of the candidate, to indicate a determination to depart not only from the fundamental principles of the Democratic party but from the fundamental principles of the Government of the United States. The "founding fathers," so much sneered at by our foreign thinking braiu-trusters, once liyed under a highly centralized government. They had learned their lesson by bitter indi-S vidual and personal experience. They knew that the power of government, even in a republic, must be subject to definite limitations, if the rights and liberties of the citizens were to be maintained. Hence, these great men, drawing not only on the wisdom of the ages, but on their own actual experiences, set up in our organic law a system of checks and balances. This wise and salutary system, so necessary to free government, has been largely destroyed by the present so-called Democratic administration. Much of the novel legislation of the last thirty months has been drawn by others than the gentlemen of the Congress. They are told by the Chief Executive what they "must" do, as if it were his province under the Constitution to direct instead of advise. Not only has the Congress ceased to be a check upon the Chief Executive, but Mr. Roosevelt now suggests to Congress that not even the limits of the Constitution of the United States should control their future votes on his fantastic measures. Every member of Congress, as well as the President, takes an oath before Almighty God to obey and defend the Constitution of the United States; and yet in the last thirty months bills have been enacted into law palpably inconsistent with the Constitution. And so bold has the Chief Executive become that in relation to the vicious Guffey Coal Bill he is reported to have written Representative Hill as follows: "I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation." In other words, the oath of a Congressman to have his official conduct conform to the organic law of the Nation is to become like so many other political promises a worthless scrap of paper. THE idea that no federal official, except the members of the Supreme Court, is bound by the Constitution is both novel and fallacious. If a member of Congress thinks that a given bill is in conflict with the organic law, it is his solemn obligation, which he took oath to fulfill, to vote against it just as much as it is the obligation of the Supreme Court to declare and enforce the fundamental law. To me it seems perfectly obvious that the Chief Executive wants to force the Congress to pass all his experimental bills, regardless of their palpable invalidity, knowing full well that many if not all of them, will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in order that he may, for political purposes in the next campaign, claim that he could have created a model state if only he had not been hampered by the "horse and buggy" Supreme Court. If there ever was a period in the history of our country which justified a written constitution with definite limitations on governmental powers, final interpretation being vested in one learned non-political, judicial tribunal, it is now, because this so-called and misnamed Democratic administration is seeking by usurpation to destroy the checks and balances of our government, to destroy the rights of the states, to destroy local self-government and in their stead set up an autocratic and all-powerful socialized state in Washington. If this country is to prosper, it must, in my opinion, rid itself of these strange men in high authority who are undertaking to set up a supreme centralized state in Washington, under which the people no longer will be masters and public officials be public servants, but each and everyone of us a political and economic slave in the hands of the bureaucrats in Washington. The time has arrived for every man to declare himself and to make his choice. On Mr. Roosevelt's side is a government of men; on the people's side is a government of law. On Mr. Roosevelt's side is an all-powerful centralized socialized state in Washington; on the people's side, liberty, independence, states' rights, and local self-government. The time has come to make our choice, and as we choose, in my opinion, depends not simply the happiness and prosperity, but the peace of these United States. "Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget."