The Roosevelt Coup D´etat of 1933-40

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THE HISTORY OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT EVER MADE BY MAN TO GOVERN HIMSELF WITHOUT A MASTER
By STERLING E. EDMUNDS
Of the St. Louis Bar
Originally printed in 1940

CHAPTER 2

The Federal Children’s Bureau as an Agency for Social Reorganization of American Family Life

There can be no adequate understanding of this agency, the Federal Children’s Bureau, the first of its kind in any modern government, and of the inspiration of those who have guided it, without a reference to the remarkable woman whose generalship forced its creation after seven years of unremitting lobbying from 1905 to 1912, and who subsequently nurtured it with the logical care of a mother. This woman, whose sincerity and zeal were of a high and self-sacrificing order, was Florence Kelley, born in Philadelphia in 1859, the daughter of William D. Kelley, at one time a member of Congress. In 1882 she graduated at Cornell and shortly thereafter went abroad to study in Zurich and at Heidelberg.

Zurich, at the time, had become the rendezvous and asylum of many of the leading radical socialists of Germany as the result of repressive action against them by the German government following the two attempts made upon the life of the aged Emperor, William I, on May 11 and on June 2, 1878. While the would-be assassins had apparently acted on their own initiative, the Socialists were nevertheless denounced as responsible. In October, 1878, a law was passed by the imperial parliament forbidding all associations, meetings and publications having for their object "the subversion of the social order," or in which "socialistic tendencies" should appear. The suspicion of police officials was sufficient to expel subjects from Germany as suspected or accused of being Socialists. Agitation and propaganda, however, continued to be carried on from Zurich.

Later the government of Bismarck sought to allay the sowing of discontent among the workers by various social legislative acts; among these were the sickness insurance law of 1883, the accident insurance laws of 1884-1885, and the old age insurance law of 1889. Bismarck wished the State to bear the entire expense but the Reichstag would not agree. Finally, with respect to accident insurance, employers were made to bear the burden alone. In the case of sickness insurance the employer was charged with 1/3 and the employee 2/3, and in the case of old age and incapacity insurance the premiums were paid by the employer, the employee and, to some extent, by the state.

In 1903 the cost of old age and incapacity insurance was paid each by employer and employee with some small contribution from the public treasury.

This social legislation enacted under Bismarck, is practically what has been adopted in the Roosevelt era and put into practice without any constitutional authority. However, the system of benefits, including youths, mothers and children, has gone far beyond the German program.

It was during Mrs. Kelley’s sojourn in Zurich that she married, though little is known of her husband beyond the fact that his surname was Wischnewetzky, which she used for a short period after her return to the United States in 1886, and as the translator of one of the works of Frederich Engels, the patron and associate of Karl Marz. From the contacts that she made abroad she became fired with the theories of Socialism and made the acquaintance and gained the friendship of Engels. Neither Das Kapital of Marx nor any other of his or Engels’ writings had at that time been translated from the German, and Florence Kelley eagerly sought the opportunity to introduce them to American readers. Engels permitted her to undertake to translate a work of his, "The Condition of the Working Classes of England in 1844." She returned to the United States in 1886 to complete it and to find an American publisher.

The character of this volume may be judged from the following paragraph in her translation:

"The war of the poor against the rich now carried on, in detail and indirectly, will become direct and universal. It is too late for a peaceful solution. The classes are divided more and more sharply; the spirit of resistance penetrates the workers, the bitterness intensifies, the Guerilla skirmishes become concentrated in more important battles, and soon a slight impulse will suffice to set the avalanche in motion. Then, indeed, will the cry resound through the land, ‘war to the palaces, peace to the cottages,’ but then it will be too late for the rich to beware."

There are extant a number of letters written to Mrs. Kelley by Engels between 1885 and 1888. Excerpts from the appear in a small volume of communist literature entitled, "The Little Red Library, No. 6, Marx and Engels on Revolution in America," published by The Daily Worker Publishing Co." in Chicago. These letters are full of explanation and instruction as to the development of the "class war." In one dated June 3, 1886, Engels writes:

"What the breakdown of Russian Czarism would be for the great military monarchies of Europe – the snapping of their mainstay that is, for the bourgeoisie of the whole world, the breaking out of class-war in America."

In a letter dated January 27, 1887, Engels explains the most effective method for introducing Socialism in America, saying:

"Our theory is a theory of evolution, not of dogma to be learned by heart and to be repeated mechanically. The less it is hammered into the Americans from the outside and the more they test it through their own experience…. The more will it become part of their own flesh and blood."

That is to say, it should be introduced by successive steps in legislative acts, after the manner adopted by President Roosevelt, transferring functions to the State which the individual, if left independent, would perform in his own self-reliance. Since that time the Socialists in the United States have successively formulated a number of specific planks or "demands" many of which have been adopted, including graduated and ever heavier inheritance taxes for the confiscation of large fortunes; graduated and ever heavier income taxes; unrestricted equal suffrage for men and women; a federal Department of Education for the regimentation of education; abolition of the Senate and abolition of the power of the Supreme Court to declare an act of Congress void. And in the 1932 Socialist platform there were "demands" for a federal appropriation of five billions for relief; five billions for public works; resettlement of the unemployed; compulsory unemployment compensation; old age pensions; minimum wage legislation; enforced collective bargaining; public ownership of mines, oil and power, public utilities, transportation, communication; socialization of credit; shift farm taxes to incomes and inheritances; recognition of Soviet Russia, many of which are realized in the "new order."

All of these "demands" not yet realized are repeated in the Socialist platform adopted in Washington in April, 1940, together with that for public ownership and operation of essential industries to replace the capitalist profit system

On May 14, 1887, Florence Kelley appeared in the role of a militant Socialist in an address before the New York Association of Collegiate Alumnae entitled "The Need of Theoretical Preparation for Philanthropic Work." A few quotations will reveal the completeness of her conversion to Marxian Socialism:

"Our bourgeois philanthropy, whatever form it may take, is really only the effort to give back to the workers a little part of that which our whole social system, systematically, robs them of, and so to prop up that system yet a little longer…

"It is the workers who produce all values, but the lion’s share of what they produce falls to the lion – the capitalist class – and enables the capitalist arbitrarily to decide what he will do with it and whether or not he will use a part of the spoils for the good of the despoiled, a part of the plunder for the good of the plundered; and, however, disinterestedly individual men and women may devote themselves to this task of restitution, the fact remains that, for the capitalist class as a whole, all philanthropic effort is a work of restitution for self-preservation…

"Shall I cast my lot with the oppressors, content to patch and darn, to piece and cobble at the worn and rotten fabric of a perishing society? Shall I spend my life in applying palliatives, in trying to make the intolerable endurable yet a little longer?

"Shall I not rather make common cause with these, my brothers and sisters, to make an end of such a system?…

"As loyal members of the ruling class, our work must, I repeat, be merely palliative. For a radical cure of the social disease means the end of the system of exploiting the workers.

"Another of the indispensable books is ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England,’ by Frederich Engels, which is especially valuable for American readers, because the conditions described in it as they prevailed in England at the time of its appearance in Germany are reproduced upon a still larger scale in America now, at the moment of its publication in an English translation. It is the best introduction to the study of modern scientific political economy and of the fundamental work par excellence thereof, ‘Capital,’ by Karl Marx."

Mrs. Kelley’s address was printed in pamphlet form and a copy of it was sent to Engels. He acknowledged its receipt, without a word of comment, in a letter dated September 15, 1887. It appears from a letter dated May 4, 1887, written to F. A. Sorge, a Communist lieutenant, sent to the United States by Marx and Engels in 1857, that Engels was not pleased with the American edition of his book. He wrote:

"I think simpler fare more digestible for the untheoretic matter-of-fact Americans, we having gone through a history outlined in the (Communist) Manifesto, which they have not. My Book has been completely bungled by Mrs. Wischnewetzky, who gave Miss Foster carte blanche, and she gave it to the publishers. I protested immediately but it was already done. Mrs. W. has bungled everything she has undertaken. I will never give her anything more and she can do what she likes, and I shall be glad if she ever does anything good, but I have had enough, and in future she must leave me in peace."

However, Engels exhibited no dissatisfaction in subsequent letters to Mrs. Kelley, which he invariably subscribed, "I remain, dear Mrs. Wischnewetzky, very sincerely yours, F. Engels."

F. A. Sorge had long been associated with Marx and Engels. After the abortive revolution in Germany, in 1848, which they had fomented there and in France, he fled to Switzerland. In 1851 he joined them in England, where they had found asylum and where they were proselytizing among the English workers. In 1887 Sorge was sent to the United States to break ground in the new American soil and sow the seeds for the coming "class war." The history of his work is set out in the Communist booklet previously mentioned. He formed the first Communist Club, which later became the American section of the First International, upon which has since been erected the Communist Party and all the mischief it has been guilty of in the United States in recent years.

Before his heath in Brooklyn in 1906, Sorge collected Engels’ letters and other writings pertaining to American activities, and published parts of them in a volume entitled "Briefe und Auszuge Aus Briefen Von Frederich Engels, Karl Marx U. A. and F. A. Sorge and Anders."

The appearance of Engels’ English translation in America seemed to have stimulated much alien interest in the progress Communism was making among us, manifested in visits from various leading Socialists from abroad. In 1886, Dr. Aveling and his companionate wife, Eleanor Marx, arrived from England. There is no public record of what they did, but, apparently Mrs. Kelley complained of them to Engels on some ground. In a letter of May 4, 1887, to Sorge, he wrote:

"The Avelings have sent you ‘Time,’ with their article on America. I suppose you have received them (March-April-May). Even the Tory ‘Standard’ praises them. The Avelings are now doing more than all the others here, and their work is far more useful, and I am to quarrel with them on account of Mrs. W. and her childish scruples!!!"

In 1888, Engels himself came for a visit, as did Sidney Webb and E. R. Pease, secretary of the Fabian Society. The headquarters of the general council of the First International had been transferred to New York in 1872, following the suppressed revolutionary outbreak in Paris in 1871. Sorge continued in his work of organization from New York until his death.

In 1890 Mrs. Kelley left New York for Chicago and settled down at Hull House Settlement, where her long association with Jane Addams began. From 1893 to 1896 she was chief factory inspector for Illinois by appointment of Governor Altgeld. During this time she obtained a law degree from Northwestern University.

In 1899 she assisted in organizing and became General Secretary of the National Consumers’ League, and returned to New York, taking up her residence with Lillian Wald in Henry Street Settlement. Here she passed many busy years in the exercise of an unusual talent for organization and leadership, and in lobbying for "social" legislation before Congress. Her active associates during most of these years included Jane Addams of Hull House, who was President of the International League for Peace and Freedom; Mrs. Raymond Robbins, founder of the International Federation of Working Women; Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, former President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and founder and honorary President of the National League of Women Voters; Owen R. Lovejoy, a Socialist, General Secretary of the National Child Labor Committee, which she an Miss Addams and Miss Wald founded in 1904; Anna Louise Strong, a Communist, now Editor of the Moscow News; and others.

The organizations which Florence Kelley brought into being or largely dominated or used, and which for many years served her purposes in promoting legislation before Congress, included:

  • The Inter-Collegiate Socialist League, now the League for Industrial Democracy – chief promoter of Socialism in our schools and colleges – of which she was president.
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association, of which she was vice-president, and whose organ, The Woman’s Journal, sheds much light on the period.
  • National Consumers’ League, of which she was General Secretary.
  • The American Assn. For Labor Legislation.
  • The National Women’s Trade Union League.
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  • National Congress of Mothers and Parent and Teachers’ Associations.
  • National Council of Jewish Women.
  • The W. O. T. U.
  • American Association of University Women.
  • National Child Labor Committee, of which she was a founder.
  • Women’s Joint Congressional Committee, the lobbying spearhead which she organized and directed as representing all of the organizations previously enumberated.

The program of national legislation which she promoted during a period of more than thirty years, some of which was realized after her death in 1932, includes:

  1. Creation of the federal Children’s Bureau in 1912.
  2. Keating-Owen Act of 1916, forbidding shipment in interstate commerce of goods the product of young workers, declared unconstitutional in 1918.
  3. Act of 1918, imposing a ten percent super tax on net earnings of employers of young persons under certain ages, which was declared unconstitutional in 1922.
  4. The Sheppard-Towner Maternity Act of 1921-29.
  5. The "Child Labor" Amendment, proposed in 1924, as yet ungratified.
  6. The Smith-Towner education department bill, 1919.
  7. Social Security Act, 1935, with grants for mothers’ and children’s pensions:
  8. The Wage and Hour Act, 1938, containing provisions for control of employment of minors in the States.
  9. The Wagner Health Bill of 1939, contemplating annual appropriations of about $300,000,000 to be matched by the States.

The first venture into lobbying for national "social" legislation was in connection with the creation of a federal children’s bureau in 1905. And the first measure, drafted for Mrs. Kelley by Professor S. M. Lindsay of Columbia University, provided for a chief, an assistant chief, a private secretary to the chief, one chief clerk, one statistical expert, 22 clerks, 2 copyists, 1 messenger, and 2 special agents, with an appropriation for the first year of $51,820.

The bill encountered serious opposition and made very little progress, but the women returned at each session of Congress to press for its enactment. In the Senate its sternest opponents were Senators Bailey of Texas, Gallinger of New Hampshire, Heyburn of Idaho, Overman of North Carolina, Stone of Missouri, and Works of California. They viewed the measure as seeking not only to arrogate to the federal government a sphere of the general police power reserved to the States by the Constitution, but also as one based upon ideas of the relation between the individual and the State that were alien to those upon which our institutions rest, ignoring particularly the conceptions of the inviolability of the home, the sanctity of the family and a jealous regard for the rights and responsibility of parents in the matter of their children.

But Mrs. Kelley, Miss Wald, and others considered such a bureau a national necessity. Appearing before the House Committee on Expenditures in the Interior Department on January 27, 1909, Mrs. Kelley said:

"If any stupid, illiterate farmer up near Catskill in New York, wants to know something about raising artichokes on his farm, all he has to do is get his son or the village postmaster to write the Department of Agriculture, and he will be supplied with information not only about artichokes, but about everything relating to agriculture, in every mail, much of it very valuable. But how different is the situation with regard to children?"

Miss Wald submitted a statement at the same hearing, in which she said:

"Whereas the government, as such, has been active and done its part for a great many interests in the community, by a strange and almost incomprehensible way, the children, as such, have never been taken within the scope of the federal government…. The full responsibility for the wise guardianship of these children lies upon us…. No longer can a civilized people be satisfied with the casual administration of that trust…. In the name of humanity, of well-being, let us bring the child into the sphere of our national care and solicitude."

Thomas F. Walsh of Denver, head of the Colorado Bureau for the Protection of Children and Animals, and an associate of Judge Ben Lindsey of the Denver Juvenile Court, also urged the creation of a children’s bureau, in the work of which he said, "Our national government should take a parental lead."

Also present, at his own request, was Mr. S. N. D. North, Director of the Census, who objected to the new proposed bureau as one that would, in part, duplicate the work of his office. He said:

"The Census is a purely statistical office. Its function is to collect the cold-blooded facts and analyze and interpret them and leave to the public at large the duty of drawing the ethical or moral or industrial conclusions which those facts convey. I feel very strongly that if any legislation is enacted which in any way modifies the function of the Census Office in that regard, it will be highly detrimental to the work of the Office. I feel that the Census Office cannot engage in the business of propaganda; and that will be the main work of this new bureau, as I read the bill."

At the conclusion of the hearing, Mr. Hardy, a member of the Committee, made this comment:

"When we get the bureau of health, the bureau of education, and the bureau of morals, and the bureau of children, what is there left for local government to do?"

The Senate Committee report of August 14, 1911, of hearings on the children’s bureau proposal, quotes the following from a statement of Jane Addams:

"How absurd State lines are when it comes to industrial questions…. These great questions of education and child labor cannot be adequately cared for by the States whose boundaries are determined by rivers and mountains…. We cannot confine ourselves to child labor and detach it from all other things which pertain to children; and then we are forced into a consideration of education, of health, of recreation – into all sorts of other questions."

By 1911 the propaganda and agitation on the part of what appeared to be many women’s organizations was taking effect. In that year Anna Louise Strong conducted "child welfare" exhibits in many American cities, with the dramatization that the subject naturally lends itself to. There seemed to be an overwhelming demand for a Children’s Bureau on the part of America’s mothers. Senator Borah of Idaho was now championing the measure in the Senate and Congressman Andrew Peters of Massachusetts, was behind it in the House.

Judge Ben Lindsey of the Denver Juvenile Court, one of the chief speakers for the bill in the campaign, wrote an article appearing in The Woman’s Journal on February 10, 1912, which was reprinted and widely circulated as campaign literature. In an ironic paraphrase of the Earl of Chatham’s fine description of the "right of castle," he said:

"An economic earthquake has shaken the ‘old home’ to pieces. The foundations are crumbled, the walls are spread, the winds of the world blow through…. The Nation, the State, the Municipality, these have stepped in, assumed practical control of the family in its most intimate relations, and are over parents."

The measure then pending was defended by Senator Borah as creating a mere "statistical agency," with no powers to trench upon any rights of the American family. It provided that such proposed bureau "shall investigate and report to said department (then of Commerce and Labor) upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people, and shall especially investigate the questions of infant mortality, the birth rate, orphanage, juvenile court, desertion, dangerous occupations, accidents and diseases of children, employment, legislation affecting children in the several States and Territories."

On January 30, 1912, Senator Heyburn, speaking against the bill, said:

"While upon the face of this measure it merely provides for the taking of statistics, the accumulation of knowledge, yet we know from other measures which have been introduced, some from the same source, that it contemplates the establishment of a control through the agencies of government over the rearing of children…. There may go into the household of the poor man, who is defenseless against this inquisition, a man stamped with authority, or who thinks he is, and he may ask the resident questions as to his habits, as to his wife’s habits, as to whether they play cards or drink or gamble or dance, and then you have made a record by which the child is to be judged or the parent or guardian is to be judged. You have indulged in an inquisitorial proceeding, which, except for the purpose of discovering crime or enforcing the law against it, we ought never to permit under the laws of this country."

Senator Heyburn was moved by that keen sense of legal right that once permeated the breasts of all American freemen, and saw in the violation of the rights of others an attack on their own persons. It was a generous sentiment which Americans once were quick to feel at the thought of governmental intrusion into the home, and courageous enough to resent. The home was still, at that time, the American’s "castle," and his rights within it continued as inviolable as were the Englishman’s, as the inspiring symbolism of the Earl of Chatham depicted it:

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."

Americans of that period also recalled the principles of protection accorded the citizen under Amendment IV against "unreasonable searches," as particularized in the notable decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Boyd vs. U.S. in 1886, where they were termed "the very essence of Constitutional liberty and security;" and, further:

"They apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking down of his doors and the rummaging of his drawers that constitutes the essence of the offense, but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property."

When the Children’s Bureau measure came up for passage in the Senate on April 4, 1912, Senator Culberson offered this amendment, which was adopted:

"But no official or agent or representative of said bureau shall, over the objection of the head of the family, enter any house used exclusively as a private residence."

Although this first campaign for "social" legislation had been crowned with success, it was short of what was desired. The total appropriation allowed for the first year was only $21,936.45.

In its issue of April 6, 1912, The Woman’s Journal printed a striking cartoon entitled, "Pigs versus Children," depicting Uncle Sam in an armchair with two pigs in his lap, scowling at the pathetic figures of a mother and child standing before him, and an accompanying editorial, which said:

"Congress, which appropriates $8,000,000 to promote the health of pigs and other animals, has at last appropriated the meager sum of $80,000 for a Children’s Bureau…. This is the outcome of seven years of indirect influence of Mrs. Florence Kelley and many other earnest women."

In its issue of May 11, The Woman’s Journal said:

"We shall not be willing to let the establishment of the Children’s Bureau mean simply investigation – it must mean power to change things."

Mrs. Kelley’s ambitions and interests were too expansive to be confined within the limited sphere of an administrative public office; she wanted none of them for herself, and when the bureau was set up she reached back into Hull House for Miss Julia C. Lathrop, a social worker, and brought about her appointment to the position of first Chief of the bureau, where Miss Lathrop served until 1921.

Also brought from Hull House was Miss Anna Louise Strong, as "exhibit expert," or publicity director, of which there was to be great need in the subsequent flow of propaganda, in innumerable studies and reports, and in the bureau magazine, The Child, in striving after enlarged power and appropriations. Miss Strong left the bureau in 1916 and settled in Seattle. She immediately identified herself with radical labor leaders. She was elected to the School Board in 1917 but in 1918 she was recalled. In that year, according to a volume, entitled "Americanism vs Bolshevism," written by Mayor Ole Hanson of Seattle, she conspired with Leon Green, (Butowsky), William D. Hayward, national secretary of the I.W.W., and others, to bring on the general strike, which was declared on February 6, 1919, in an attempt to sovietize the city. Only the presence of United States troops prevented the most violent excesses.

From Seattle, Miss Strong went to Russia in 1918 as correspondent for American Communist newspapers, and became a co-worker in the cause, not only aiding in establishing "children’s colonies," but as a prolific writer of propaganda. In 1930 she organized, with the Soviet government’s approval and support, the Moscow Daily News, the first English newspaper to be published in Russia under the Communist regime. In 1932, she married a Communist fellow-worker, Joel Shubin of Moscow. She returns to the United States freely on propaganda tours and has been welcomed as a lecturer at many women’s colleges, including Wellesley, Smith and Vassar, and at Columbia and Stanford Universities.


The History Of The Most Successful Experiment Ever Made By Man
To Govern Himself Without A Master
Table of Contents 
CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7   

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
–Justice of the Supreme Court, William O. Douglas
Judge Learned Hand said: "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; if it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

FEDERAL. Of or pertaining to, or founded upon and organized by a compact or act of union between separate sovereign states, aa (1) by a league for common interest and defense as regards external relations, the internal sovereignty of each member remaining unimpaired, as the Hanseatic League or the German Confederation; or (2) by a permanent act of union founded on the consent of the people duly expressed, constituting a government supreme within the sphere of the powers granted to it by that act of union, as the United States of America. – The constitution of the United States of America is of a very different nature than that of the German Confederation. It is not merely a league of sovereign States for their common defence against external and internal violence, but a supreme federal government or compositive State, acting not only upon the sovereign members of the Union, but directly upon all its citizens in their individual and corporate capacities. Wheaton Elements International Law § 52, p. 78[L. B. & CO. ‘66] – From 1776 to 1789 the United States were a confederation; after 1789 it was a federal nation. A Standard Dictionary of the English Language, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1903.

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