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No. 96 "Seventeen Months of the American Liberty League: Report of Jouett Shouse, President of the American Liberty League, to the Executive Committee and National Advisory Council of the League, Meeting in Joint Session, January 25, 1936.
No. 96 "Seventeen Months of the American Liberty League: Report of Jouett Shouse, President of the American Liberty League, to the Executive Committee and National Advisory Council of the League, Meeting in Joint Session, January 25, 1936. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_96 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 96 "Seventeen Months of the American Liberty League: Report of Jouett Shouse, President of the American Liberty League, to the Executive Committee and National Advisory Council of the League, Meeting in Joint Session, January 25, 1936. American Liberty League. American Liberty League. Washington, D.C. 1936. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). 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Pamphlets Available â˜… Copies of the following pamphlets and other League literature may he obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Statement of Principles and Purposes American Liberty League Its Platform The Bonus Inflation The Thirty Hour Week The Holding Company Bill Price Control The TVA Amendments The Supreme Court and the New Deal The President's Tax Program Expanding Bureaucracy Lawmaking by Executive Order New Deal Laws in Federal Courts Consumers and the AAA Dangerous Experimentation Economic Planning Mistaken But Not New Work Relief The AAA and Our Form of Government Alternatives to the American Form of Government A Program for Congress The 1937 Budget Professors and the New Deal The President Wants More Power (leaflet) Straws Which Tell How to Meet the Issue Speech by W. E. Borah "Breathing Spells'* Speech by Jouett Shouse The Duty of the Lawyer in the Present Crisis Speech by James M. Beck The Constitution and the Supreme Court Speech by Borden Burr Our Growing National Debt and Inflation Speech by Dr. E. W. Kemmerer Inflation is Bad Business Speech by Dr. Neil Car others Arousing Class Prejudices Speech by Jouett Shouse The Fallacies and Dangers of the Townsend Plan-^Speecft by Dr. W. E. Spahr What of 19S6? Speech by James P. Warburg Americanism at the Crossroads Speech by R. E. Desvernine The Constitution and the New Deal Speech by James M. Carson The American Constitution Whose Heritage? Speech by Frederick H. Stinchfield The American Form of Government Let Us Preserve It Speech by Albert C. Ritchie The Redistribution of Power Speech by John W. Davis Time to Stop Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers The President Has Made the Issue Speech by Charles I. Dawson â˜… AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. Seventeen Months of the American Liberty League â˜… â˜… â˜… Report of Jouett Shouse, President o The American Liberty League, to the Executive Committee and National Advisory Council of the League, Meeting in Joint Session, at Washington, D. C, January 25, 1936 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE National Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. Document No. 96 Seventeen Months of the American Liberty League â˜… Following the delivery of the appended report by Jouett Shouse, President of the American Liberty League, motion was made by the Hon. James W. Wadsworth, of Geneseo, New York, that the report be endorsed and printed. By a rising vote the motion was passed unanimously. W. H. Stayton, Secretary. Out of the courage and patriotism of a few men and women the American Liberty League was created. Its growth and development and expanding influence prove that there was real need for its establishment. In August of 1934 a charter was taken out under the laws of the District of Columbia. The purposes of the League set forth in that charter cannot be too thoroughly emphasized: "To defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States and to gather and disseminate information that (1) will teach the necessity of respect for the rights of persons and property as fundamental to every successful form of government and (2) will teach the duty of government to encourage and protect individual and group initiative and enterprise, to foster the right to work, earn, save and acquire property, and to preserve the ownership and lawful use of property when acquired." To those purposes the League has rigidly adhered. It has not been diverted by either temptation or abuse. Announcement of the organization was given to the press on August 23, 1934. Immediately there was widespread response from every state 3 of the Union, from people of all classes and of all conditions of life. An initial membership was thus immediately secured. It was a voluntary membership and the mounting membership that has been added from week to week and from month to month has likewise been a voluntary membership. There was no intention on the part of the Executive Committee of the League to have it participate even remotely in the Congressional elections of 1934. The autumn of that year was devoted to the building up of a proper staff and preparation for the important task ahead. With the convening of the Seventy-fourth Congress in January of 1935 the active work of the League began. Immediately there was undertaken a factual study of important legislative measures as they arose, and from week to week the League gave to the country an analysis of these various measures that fulfilled a definite need. So complete, so accurate, so fair have been these documents issued from League headquarters that they constitute the most valuable report that was ever had on legislative proposals within a stated period. And it is a notable fact that while representatives of the administration, from the President down through his Cabinet to clerks of the lowest spoilsman's grade, have bemeaned the League in every manner possible, there has been no responsible attempt to answer the arguments that it has put forth or to question the facts that it has adduced. A total of approximately ninety pamphlets have been issued, part of them speeches and part of them analytical studies. Not only have they been circulated among League members but they have gone to all members of the Congress, to the daily newspapers and to public and college and high school libraries throughout the land. They have reached people in all walks of life. In many instances requests have been so numerous that two and even three re-printings of some of the documents have been 4 required. The recent excellent radio speech of Dr. W. E. Spahr, of New York University, on "The Townsend Plan," brought more than five thousand individual letters and post cards asking for copies of the speech. In connection with each publication there has been a competent summary for newspaper release. The several press associations have sent to their subscribing papers hundreds of columns of news dispatches embodying League material. Newspapers of every section have commented editorially from week to week. There have been hundreds of thousands of individual news items of greater or lesser length, columns of discussion from the pens of feature writers and altogether a publicity coverage such as probably never attached to any other organization aside from the two major political parties within the same length of time. Within the last few weeks a special service has been inaugurated for weekly papers and 1,363 are now accepting it. It is no exaggeration to say that the League has been the most discussed and in some high quarters the most "cussed" organization in the recent history of America. When before has a President of the United States, pretending to address the Congress on the state of the Union, devoted a large part of his speech to an organization such as this? And the very fact that Mr. Roosevelt attempted to damn the League, the fact that his Cabinet members and his other official spokesmen have by abuse and innuendo and often outright misrepresentation made continuous effort to destroy it, is the most striking evidence of the need for the work which the League is doing. Closely allied in importance with the research and publicity activities at headquarters has been the task assumed by the National Lawyers Committee of the League under the Chairmanship of R. E. Desvernine. That Committee was organized last summer. It embraces sixty-one of the leading lawyers of America. It has been engaged in the study of the constitu- tional features of outstanding pieces of legislation since the present administration came into power. It has not attempted to deal with either the economic or the social phases of questions involved. The first report of the Committee was on the National Labor Relations Act. It was issued September 19, 1935. Subsequently reports have been made public on the Bituminous Coal Conservation Act and on the Potato Act, both issued in December. Others are now practically completed and will be published shortly. Although it had prepared admirable reports on both the AAA and the TVA the Committee wisely withheld them from publication after cases involving these particular pieces of legislation had come to the Supreme Court for decision. The appreciation and gratitude of the League to the members of the National Lawyers Committee is thus publicly recorded. At marked personal sacrifice they have given of their time and their brains in a constructive effort. Nor have they been deflected or disturbed by the criminations which have been heaped upon them. Under the National Lawyers Committee a General Lawyers Committee of the League has been organized which now numbers 2,139 members. These lawyers in every section of the country have enlisted to help propagate the aims and purposes of the League and in most instances have volunteered to assist in organization work in their respective communities and to respond to any calls for public speeches that may be made upon them. Thus there has been created an invaluable list of speakers, nationwide in its scope, prepared and ready to discuss constitutional government and the maintenance of the American system, wherever and whenever the opportunity offers. As a result of a suggestion of Dr. E. W. Kem-merer, of Princeton University, a valued member of the League's National Advisory Council, a movement was started during the recent ses-6 sion of the American Economic Association in New York to organize a group of economists to act as a committee for the League. A substantial basis has already been secured and it is the judgment of those dealing with the situation that a number of economists will shortly join in this effective and valuable effort. A year ago the League began the organization of chapters in the colleges and universities. At first it was slow work with many obstacles and many discouragements. Now, however, we have active chapters in twenty-six institutions and chapters in process of organization in one hundred and twenty-five institutions. Moreover, at the present time, under a system of voluntary membership enrollment, we have for the past month been enlisting college students at the rate of seventy-nine per day. There could be no more valuable work for the League than to attempt to instill in the minds of college men and women the sound reasons for the maintenance of constitutional government in America. Heretofore it has been considered the smart thing for young people in colleges to ally themselves to some radical group. Now the scene is changing and the liberal and progressive forces find themselves challenged by the serious turn of affairs that threatens the Constitution and basic American institutions. As stated in the beginning, the membership of the League, now approaching 75,000, constitutes a voluntary enrollment. Your Executive Committee has taken the position that prior to any effort to build up a large membership the foundation of the League should be effectively and substantially laid. The work of the past year has been devoted to that endeavor. Now the time has come for expansion on a broad scale if such expansion seems wise. Already we have regional offices in New York and Chicago and we have state divisions with active headquarters in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 7 Nebraska, Missouri, Alabama and California, while the very flourishing Liberty Leagues separately incorporated in the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware are affiliates of our national organization. In addition there are local units in a number of cities. The groundwork is laid for the establishment of state divisions elsewhere as soon as it may be determined to follow such a course. Last summer the League accepted the invitation of the University of Virginia to sponsor a round table at its Institute of Public Affairs. Under the direction of Demarest Lloyd and Wm. C. Murphy, Jr., a program of such interest and such outstanding excellence was arranged that it held the spotlight of the Charlottesville show. At Town Halls and Public Forums throughout the country, over the radio and on the platform League speakers by the score have won the attention of limitless thousands of listeners. Tonight there is the amazing spectacle of a League dinner from which five thousand applicants have been turned away because of a limitation of facilities, while a whole nation awaits in breathless interest the utterance of a League spokesman. This man holds no office, he exercises no authority, but is abundantly endowed with the greatest of all gifts, the divine gift of common sense and forthright honesty. A year ago your Executive Committee created a small administrative committee with full authority to act on all questions. Meetings of the Administrative Committee are held each Thursday. Its members are diligent in attendance, untiring in their work. Every League pamphlet has been reviewed and revised by the Administrative Committee. Save for its cooperation the work of the League could scarcely have been carried on. It is perhaps worth while briefly to direct attention to the national political situation that existed at the time the League was organized in the autumn of 1934. An administration which had received a large majority in both the pop- ular vote and the electoral college was facing the Congressional elections of its mid-term. In those elections it achieved another overwhelming victory. The opposition to it was not effective. Members of the opposing political party in both houses of the Congress had voted in large numbers for the New Deal legislative measures and they were consequently in a position of embarrassment to wage a political campaign against those measures. After a momentary start to carry out the economy promises of its platform, this administration had soon reversed its entire policy and had entered upon an orgy of extravagant expenditure of public funds such as knows no counterpart in history. One after another, revolutionary measures were sent to the Congress with instructions, on the basis of acute emergency, that they must be passed without change, without consideration and without debate. And the Congress, abdicating its constitutional duty, ignoring the functions of its creation, had yielded to Executive demands. It had done more than that. The legislative arm of the government had almost ceased to exist, because it had voluntarily relinquished to the Executive many of the powers which were the sacred heritage of its creation. And so we were witnessing the spectacle of a legislative program which the American people did not understand and which no one made the effort to explain to them, being completed, piece by piece, with the inevitable consequence of an entire change in the structure of our government and subversion of its two basic concepts, viz: (1) the balance of power as between the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches and, (2) the unsurrendered rights of the states. We were witnessing the creation and the development of the most gigantic bureaucracy that was ever attempted among a free people. We were witnessing the centralization of every power conceivable in the hands of the President at the expense of the Congress, at the expense 9 of the states and at the expense of the people. And we were witnessing as an inevitable result the appalling spectacle of fear in the hearts of men, who, realizing the enormity of what was going on, were yet afraid to speak out lest they themselves should suffer reprisal. We were witnessing, furthermore, the apparent political acceptance of the fact that the present administration could not and would not be defeated and that what had been under way since March of 1933 would continue to be carried forward at least until the end of 1940. It is not here even remotely suggested that the marked change in public opinion, the definite popular reaction that has taken place during the past twelve months, is due to the American Liberty League. It is, however, stated and stated confidently that the courage of the men and women who organized the League, their willingness to stand up and be counted, their willingness to face abuse and misrepresentation, their willingness to bear the consequences of their course no matter what, did much to re-inspire in America a spirit of self-respect and self-assertion. Fortunately now the people have awakened. Fortunately a large part of them have begun to understand the insidious and dangerous thing that was being accomplished under the guise of relief and recovery. Fortunately through the League and other important agencies of public opinion the truth has been made clear. The common sense of America is beginning to re-assert itself. The sanity of America is beginning once more to control. There could be no more proper way in which to close this brief report of League activities than to record once again our gratitude and reverence for the Supreme Court. In a time of national peril, in a period of national aberration it has held steadfast as the anchor of American freedom. Without bombast, without ostentation, without fear, it has enunciated the constitutional principles upon which this gov-10 ernment was founded and under which it has developed. The fury of defeated purpose, the rancor of thwarted ambition directed against it from the White House and the halls of Congress alike will not sway it from its honest purpose and, please God, will not weaken the faith of the American people in this the outstanding institution for the protection of their liberties.