March 4, 1933 Today in History

EIGHTY YEARS AGO today in 1933, Franklin D Roosevelt was inaugurated for his first term as President of the United States. It was not a propitious celebration. A quarter of the nation’s workers were unemployed, farm income was down by 60%, industrial production had declined by 50% and one out of every five banks had already failed. As bad as things are now, it was worse then.

Yet President Roosevelt was willing and able to act. During the first hundred days of his term, he pushed for an Agricultural Adjustment Act to stabilize farm income, organized a Works Project Agency to put the unemployed to work, established a Home Owners Loan Program to prevent foreclosures, funded a Federal Emergency Relief Administration to distribute aid to the hungry and homeless, passed the Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial banking from investment banking to prevent the bankster shenanigans experienced then and replayed again in 2008 and experimented with a National Recovery Act to organize industry. He didn’t whine, he didn’t equivocate, he didn’t temporize, he acted.

When the the monied interests set their lobbyists loose and poured millions into fighting the “New Deal”, as Roosevelt’s program came to be called, and even attempted to fund a coup d’etat to overthrow him *, Roosevelt fought back. In his subsequent re-election campaign in 1936, he had this to say,

“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They [Wall Street] had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob . . . . They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

This is the courage and determination that we need today!

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* It is not well known but it is well documented that agents working for the Dupont and Morgan financial interests planned to fund armed veterans of the American Legion in a coup to overthrow the Roosevelt Administration by force. See, Jules Archer, The Plot to Seize the White House (1973)

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