Franklin Delano Roosevelt vs. the Banks:
Morgan's Fascist Plot, and How It Was Defeated
Part IV

by L. Wolfe

Printed in The American Almanac, July 25, 1994

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Part 1 of this article was printed in American Almanac, Vol. 8, No. 24, of July 4, 1994; part 2 in Vol. 8, No. 25, of July 11; and part 3 in Vol 8., No. 26, of July 18, 1994.

Part 1 explained why the British, and their Wall Street allies, the Morgans, hated President Franklin D. Roosevelt and how FDR battled to reduce their influence and power. Part 2 continued the story of FDR's fight and laid out Morgan's counterattack, featuring a 1934 plan for a fascist coup against the FDR White House, which the Morgans hoped would be led by the Marine hero, Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler. Part 3 began the story of explosive congressional hearings in which Butler exposed the Morgan plot.

That same day, Nov. 21, 1934, MacGuire entered the committee room with his lawyer, and the doors were closed once again. Once again, he denied all charges that he had approached General Butler with plans for a fascist coup, or that he had asked Butler to lead an army of ex-soliders on Washington, D.C. He was asked about reports that he had under his control substantial sums of money for these fascist organizing purposes. Now, instead of completely denying those reports, as he had the day before, he produced records from the Committee for a Sound Dollar and Sound Currency, showing that he had received $30,000 from the banker Robert Sterling Clark. Changing his story yet again, MacGuire claimed that he and his backers were only trying to interest Butler in that committee and its fight for the gold standard; they were prepared to let Butler ``make a little money'' if he would serve their cause. He admitted that Clark, his attorney A.G. Christmas, and Walter Frew of the Corn Exchange Bank, and other powerful financiers were all members of this committee. He claimed that Clark had ``no interest in any fascist organization.''

MacGuire did not know that the investigators for the McCormack-Dickstein committee already had in their possession letters from MacGuire to Clark and Christmas describing the former's search, at the latter's request, for an appropriate fascist organization, while on his all-expenses-paid junket to Europe.

In answer to many specific questions, MacGuire feigned a loss of memory: ``It's too far back ... I can't recall.''

Emerging from the hearing room, Rep. Dickstein told reporters, supposedly off the record after MacGuire's testimony, that the bond salesman was ``hanging himself'' by contradictions in his account of events, and by forced admissions when confronted with evidence developed by investigators.

Mangling the News

The New York Times of Nov. 22 pulled the story off its front page, placing it on page 5, in one column, under the headline ``Inquiry Pressed in `Fascist Plot.'|'' It led with MacGuire's denials of all charges. Committee cochair McCormack stressed that all testimony would be withheld. Backtracking, McCormack now said that the committee was undecided as to calling any other witnesses, or if there would be a public hearing. If there were to be one, it would Dec. 17. It was only many paragraphs into the article that the Times reported that committee co-chair Dickstein had said that MacGuire had hung himself and that he had indeed gone to Europe for purposes related to establishing a fascist organization in the United States. The article then quoted MacGuire's attorney as categorically denying this and other charges about his client. It ended with denials from Legion officials of any involvement in the plot.

The Times and those who dictated its policy were clearly upset by what was occurring and didn't think it sufficient to merely mangle and manage the news. Its lead editorial was entitled, ``Credulity Unlimited,'' and began: ``A Washington correspondent asked: `What can we believe?' Apparently, anything, to judge by the number of people who lend a credulous ear to the story of General Butler's 500,000 Fascists in buckram marching on Washington to seize the government. Details are lacking to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.... The whole story sounds like a gigantic hoax. General Butler himself does not appear to more than half credit it. He and some others, however, ask us to follow the famous saying of Tertullian: `I believe it because it is impossible.' It does not merit serious discussion, but if the army and the navy authorities, or the Congressional committee can develop any `facts' about it, let them do so quickly, so as to prevent this nation from appearing as gullible as were the Germans in the case of the Hauptmann von Kopenick [the innocent person the Nazis blamed for the Reichstag fire].''

With The Times editorial setting the tone, there began a smear and ridicule campaign against Butler. New York's Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who was known as the ``Little Flower'' but who more appropriately should have been called the ``Little Fascist,'' a lover of the fascist program of Mussolini, coined the term ``cocktail putsch'' to describe the Butler story: It's a joke of some kind, he told the wire services, ``someone at a party had suggested the idea to the ex-marine as a joke.''

From Paris came a statement by Clark expressing his ``bewilderment'' at the charges. He said that he would send his lawyer to New York to clear the matter up, ``if the whole affair isn't dispatched to the funny papers by Sunday.''

Meanwhile, more corroboration of Butler's story came from the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, James Van Zandt. He had been called immediately after the August 22 meeting with MacGuire by Butler and warned that, according to MacGuire, he was going to be approached by the coup plotters for his support at an upcoming VFW convention. Butler told him, and now Van Zandt told the press, that the purpose of the proposed new soldier organization was to force the dollar back on gold and to ``get rid of the man in White House.'' He said that, just as Butler had warned, he had been approached ``by agents of Wall Street,'' who tried to enlist him in their plot.

MacGuire returned for a third and final time as a witness on Nov. 23. He now had some new twists to his already contorted story. He claimed that in September 1933, when he was supposed to be meeting Butler in Newark, and throwing $1,000 bills around, he was already at the Palmer House in Chicago. But investigators for the committee confronted him with evidence that he was lying, that he had indeed met with Butler, where and when the general had reported, and that he had in his possession $1,000 bills, drawn from a bank that very day.

MacGuire produced the bank records of the ``Sound Currency'' group, and now claimed that he had only spoken to Butler about financial backing for a contracting concern. He was confronted with records showing that he received $75,000 from the banker Clark for ``unexplained purposes,'' while also receiving $30,000 from Walter Frew. He claimed to have spent $8,000 on his ``business trip'' to Europe, but was confronted with letters to Clark and Christmas about fascist organizations, including the French ``Croix de Feu.''

The anti-fascist journalist John L. Spivak, who wrote for the Communist-linked journal New Masses, was subsequently able to confirm by independent investigation that in July 1933, as the coup plot went ``live,'' MacGuire deposited $140,000 into his account, then $150,000 a month later, and $45,000 two days after that--all preceding the meeting with Butler where the plot was laid out.

Catching the Traitors

In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, MacGuire maintained his claim to complete innocence of all charges made by Butler. He even denied that he had given Butler a speech to read at the convention, and could not remember whether Clark had told him that he met with Butler or what they had talked about, or even that Clark had called him in Chicago to give him orders on what to do about the gold standard resolution. He denied everything that he could, and then feigned loss of memory on what couldn't be denied.

At the beginning of his testimony that day, MacGuire read a cable from Albert Christmas, the Morgan preferred list member and attorney for Robert S. Clark:

``Read this wire when you testify. Reports of Butler testimony in Paris outrageous. If reports are correct, my opinion is that a most serious libel has been committed. I am returning at once so as to testify to our anti-inflation activities.''

At the end of the hearing, McCormack indicated that the committee would subpoena Clark as soon as he returned from Europe. ``As the evidence now stands,'' McCormack told reporters, ``it calls for an explanation that the committee has not been able to obtain from Mr. MacGuire.''

On Nov. 24, the committee completed the first phase of its inquiry, with additional corroborating evidence submitted by bank clerks who handled the accounts of the ``Sound Currency'' group and those of Clark and Christmas.

It was decided that, given the extreme interest in Butler's remarks and in the speculation taking place about them, the committee would issue a summary of what it had found during the executive sessions. In a statement announcing the committee's intentions, McCormack said that the committee would reveal ``several important inconsistencies'' between MacGuire's testimony and what he was telling the press--which the press was subsequently quoting and portraying as ``fact.'' The congressman emphasized that General Butler could not and should not be accused of ``publicity seeking'' in going public with his exposure of the plot.

On Nov. 26, the committee released an 8,000-word statement summarizing the testimony and providing details of the plot. In discussing the evidence, it showed that MacGuire swore several times his denial of the details of Butler's testimony about the expenditure of monies for purposes described in the general's testimony, only to have committee investigators substantiate each of the general's claims.

However, the attention of most of the press focused on the first paragraph of the summary statement: ``This committee has had no evidence before it that would in the slightest degree warrant calling before it such men as John W. Davis, General Hugh Johnson, General James G. Harbord, Thomas W. Lamont, Admiral William S. Sims or Hanford MacNider. The committee will not take cognizance of names brought into testimony which constitutes mere hearsay. This committee is not concerned about premature newspaper accounts, when given and published prior to the taking of testimony.''

Whatever was being done by the committee was being worked out directly with the White House, and most likely with Roosevelt himself. That was the reason for the hinting about the calling of big names, and then the apparent pullback from that posture. From the point that Butler had stepped forward and likely even before that, the White House knew that it had caught its enemies in the act of treason. From the point of its public revelation, prior to the committee hearing, by the reporter French, and then in the hearing itself, the attempted fascist coup was a dead letter: It could no longer happen as planned, under any circumstances.

The Morgan interests and their allies were named by Butler, and now their names appeared in the first paragraph of the committee's summary. There had been 16 people named by Butler, but of those 16, the names of Morgan lawyer Davis, Morgan partner Lamont, supposed Morgan stooge Johnson, (whom Roosevelt had fired as NRA administrator), and Morgan operative MacNider, were placed in the first paragraph. Meanwhile, left open was the possibility of calling Clark, his attorney Christmas and Grayson Murphy, the treasurer of the Liberty League.

All these people knew they were caught up to their eyeballs in a fascist conspiracy: That was the signal sent by the statement.

Dickstein had sent Roosevelt a copy of the report. Roosevelt sent the congressman a reply on Nov. 30. ``I am very interested in having it,'' wrote the President. ``I take it that the committee will proceed further.''

Dickstein had made sure that this was in fact what was stated to the press on Nov. 26, when he said that the committee would continue to look into these very serious charges of a fascist conspiracy, and would definitely call Clark.

The New York Times was unhappy with the report. The Times headlined its Nov. 26 article on it ``Committee Calm Over Butler `Plot'|'' with a subhead announcing ``Has No Evidence to Warrant Calling Johnson and Others Named, It Declares.'' Then, contradicting that statement, it featured a second larger subhead, ``But It Will Call Clark.'' Its lead paragraph boldly mangled the truth, asserting in its most cynical manner, ``The so-called plot of Wall Street interests to have Major General Smedley D. Butler head a Fascist movement to take over the national government and restore the gold dollar failed yesterday to emerge in any alarming proportions from the statement by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities on the evidence before it.''

Dickstein, with the backing of the White House, called The Times and demanded either a retraction of the story or a revised article. He threatened to go public with their distortion if they did not comply. The Times reluctantly agreed, and in its Nov. 27 edition printed a small, one-column story that headlined, ``Butler Plot Inquiry Not to Be Dropped.'' It was the first time that the paper had dropped the quote marks from around the word plot. The article quoted Dickstein as saying that the committee intended to get to the bottom of the plot, and that its statement was not intended to ``whitewash'' anyone. He said that the committee was proceeding ``carefully in such an important matter.'' In addition, the committee co-chair announced that, as opposed to what had been reported in The Times, neither Clark nor Christmas had returned to testify, though both had stated that they would do so. He repeated that the committee wanted to question both of them, and would meet again in executive session, when their testimony became possible.

Plotters Lay Low

Clark, however, was instructed to lay low in Europe. He communicated to the committee that he was delayed for ``business reasons.'' His lawyer, Christmas, was told to return, but to delay his European departure until close to the end of the year, while they maneuvered to kill the investigation on this side of the Atlantic.

The plotters also ordered an intensification of the ridicule of General Butler. The vehicle chosen was Time magazine, the Luce interests' mass circulation ``current events'' rag.

Under the headline ``Plot Without Plotters,'' the Dec. 3 Time ran an artfully crafted parody of Butler's testimony as its lead article. It opens with an account of Butler, astride a ``white horse,'' assembling 500,000 veterans at a CCC camp in Elkridge, Maryland and asking them to follow him on a march down Route 1 to Washington; they are followed by a munitions train, supplied by Du Pont and Remington Arms. It describes Butler as trailed in the leadership by several commanders of the American Legion, and General Hugh Johnson; in the back, in a limousine, are J.P. Morgan and Thomas Lamont.

After mocking other details of the plot, Time wrote ``Such was the nightmarish page of future United States history pictured last week in Manhattan by General Butler himself to the Special House Committee investigating un-American activities. No military officer of the United States since the late tempestuous George Custer has succeeded in floundering in so much hot water as Smedley Darlington Butler.''

What follows is a string of denials from the various ``participants'' in the plot and an attack on the committee for taking Butler seriously: ``Thanking their lucky stars for having such sure-fire publicity dropped in their laps, Reps. McCormack and Dickstein began calling witnesses to expose the `plot.' But there did not seem to be any plotters.... Though most of the country was laughing at the latest Butler story, the special House Committee declined to join in the merriment.... `From present indications,' said the publicity loving New York Representative [Dickstein], `General Butler has the evidence....'|''

Three pictures accompany the article. One makes Butler look a bit daft, with his finger in one ear, and is labelled ``He was deaf to dicatatorship''; a second shows a genial J.P. Morgan, Jr., and is captioned: ``Moonshine provided the amusement.'' Finally, there is a picture of a uniformed Col. Grayson Mallet-Prevost Murphy, looking every bit the suave patrician, with a caption, quoting him on the plot, ``A Fantasy.''

Interviewed 27 years later by author Jules Archer, the still-feisty McCormack commented: ``Time has always been about as filthy a publication as ever existed. I've said it publicly many times. The truth gets no coverage at all....''

The Time article and similar coverage in the Morgan-allied press only provoked a national outrage. The plotters were now caught in a backlash of the same populism that they had tried to manipulate for their fascist purposes.


From around the country, VFW posts sent letters of support to President Roosevelt, commending Butler for exposing the plot. VFW commander Van Zandt gave radio interviews supporting the statements of General Butler. Other letters went to newspapers demanding fair coverage of the general's statements. Butler himself took to the airwaves starting Jan. 4, 1935, on WCAU in Philadelphia, repeating the charges he had made before the committee and demanding that action be taken against those powerful interests, led by the Morgans, who would impose a fascist regime on America.

The day before, on Jan. 3, the committee heard its last witness--Albert Christmas--on the final day of the committee's life. There were no questions asked of the lawyer about any discussions he might have had with his client Clark about the plot or about General Butler. Christmas did his best to try to represent MacGuire as a ``loose cannon,'' a deliberate attempt to shield those who had dispatched the lowly bond salesman to do their bidding.

With the hearings concluded, Dickstein stated in February 1935, ``The country should know the full truth about these reputed overtures to General Butler. If there are individuals or people who have these ideas and plans such as he testified to, they should be dragged out into the open.''

The Morgan interests now turned their efforts to making sure that the charge of the committee would not be renewed. Their lobbyists pulled whatever levers they had to let the investigation die. It would have taken direct intervention from the White House to force the issue, but no such intervention was forthcoming.

On Feb. 15, the committee published its findings in a report submitted to the House on its full investigation. The section dealing with the Butler testimony began with the following paragraphs:

``In the last few weeks of the committee's official life, it received evidence that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country.

``No evidence was presented and this committee had none to show a connection between this effort and any fascist activity of any European country.

``There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed expedient.

``The committee received evidence from Major General Smedley D. Butler (ret.), twice decorated by the Congress of the United States. He testified before the committee of conversations with one Gerald C. MacGuire in which the latter is alleged to have suggested the formation of a fascist army under the leadership of General Butler.

``MacGuire denied these allegations under oath, but our committee was able to verify all the pertinent statements of General Butler, with the exception of the direct statement suggesting the creation of the organization. This however was corroborated in the correspondence of MacGuire with his principal, Robert Sterling Clark of New York, while MacGuire was abroad studying various forms of organizations of fascist character....''

The committee had thus stated that it had confirmed a plot to seize the government of the United States by force, organized by interests whose control by Morgan and allied circles was already widely established.

The New York Times the next day ran a front page story, not on the fascist plot being confirmed, but on the committee's request for ``New Laws to Curb Foreign Agitators''! A small subhead, at the end of the various headlines, says ``Plan for March on Capital is Confirmed.'' Four paragraphs into the article there is the following, under the subhead, ``Plan for `March' Recalled:''

``It is also alleged that definite proof has been found that the much publicized Fascist march on Washington, which was to have been led by Major Gen. Smedley D. Butler, retired, according to the testimony at a hearing was actually contemplated. The Committee recalled testimony by General Butler that Gerald C. MacGuire had tried to persuade him to accept leadership of the fascist army.''

And that was all the mention there was in The Times of the plot. An editorial on the committee report focused on the threats to the nation represented by ``Reds and communists'' and the danger of ``foreign propaganda,'' to which it concluded in the most supercilious fashion, that there are already enough propagandists in this country who are seditious.

Around the country, the media, with rare exception, took its lead from The Times and buried the news of the committee's confirmation of the ``Butler Plot.''

Nor was there any prosecution of the individuals and entities named by General Butler and confirmed by the committee to be at least contemplating a seditious, fascist plot against the lawful government of the United States.

Censorship Exposed

The story would have probably stayed buried, had it not been for a discovery made by the journalist John L. Spivak, who wrote for the Communist-linked magazine New Masses. He had been tipped by a source in Washington that the committee's report had been ``sanitized,'' that sections of General Butler's testimony had been deleted, especially the parts where he named some of the Wall Street conspirators, other than Clark, Murphy, and MacGuire, and including the references to Morgan partner Thomas Lamont and John W. Davis, the Morgan lawyer, as well General Butler's statements about the American Liberty League.

Spivak went to check out the story, and to see McCormack and Dickstein. With their approval he was told that he should look through some committee records. At this point, according to the journalist, he was ``inadvertently'' handed the unexpurgated transcript of the Butler hearings by a file clerk of the committee. He furiously copied down sections of the texts showing the deletions and then took what he found to Butler.

The general exploded, as only Smedley Butler could explode. He took to the radio in a campaign denouncing the committee for bowing to the power of Wall Street and for censoring his remarks. Meanwhile, Spivak published an exposé of the ``coverup'' in New Masses, charging a wide-ranging conspiracy to bury the true origins of the plot and political deals to protect those who would commit treason. Dickstein defended the committee's action, stating that what had been deleted had only been ``hearsay,'' but in so doing repeated the substance of General Butler's charges against the Morgan operatives and Al Smith.

It is hardly likely that a clerk would have handed the ``secret'' text of the committee proceedings to a person known to be a leftist rabble-rouser: Dickstein had deliberately ``leaked'' them, to keep the information before the public.

The furor about the ``censorship'' kept the news of the ``Wall Street plot'' circulating through veteran, labor union, and leftist circles, which in the 1930s, comprised a good portion of the electorate. It kept circulating in these layers as a minor backdrop to the 1936 election campaign, without the benefit of major media coverage.

Spivak and author George Seldes charged elements in the administration with preventing a further investigation and sabotaging indictments of the named conspirators. Butler had originally brought the information about the plot to the Secret Service, which is under the control of the Treasury Department. In early 1934, an ailing William Woodin had been replaced by covert British operative Henry Morgenthau, whose function in this period was to prevent Roosevelt from moving for a more comprehensive banking reorganization. Morgenthau killed any investigation of Butler's information, but some agents apparently informed the McCormack-Dickstein committee of the charges of the plot.

FBI Director and 33rd-degree Mason ``Gay'' Edgar Hoover was also informed, and refused to investigate.

A Missed Opportunity

With the publication of the committee report, Roosevelt had been given an opportunity to achieve a strategic victory against the British-dominated cabal that was the historic enemy of the American republic. But, Roosevelt sought no strategic victory, only a tactical advantage against his adversaries. There would be no cleaning house over the fascist plot, and he backed off from the threat of a major reform of the banking system outside the bounds acceptable to London. He sought not to defeat the power that the British-controlled Morgan represented as an enemy, but merely to tame it towards his end. His was a factional battle within the patrician camp, not some battle with evil, as it more properly had to be understood.

But this was also because Roosevelt had no real conception of the kind of economic policies that were required to defeat the Morgan cabal, and the British forces that stood behind it. His advisers and cabinet, loaded with various factions of British-allied snakes, could offer no real help. The best of his advisers were followers of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist, whose concept of monetary policy is to be sharply distinguished from Alexander Hamilton's view of credit and national banking. Keyne's concept promoted a redistribution of incomes and consumer spending, rather than the use of government credit for specific projects. In the end, such policies can only saddle government with usurious debt, with profits to be made by the cabal of bankers that controls the marketing of government securities, while creating the demand for later cuts in social spending and wages to repair escalating budget deficits.

Any effort to develop infrastructure, to expand physical economic output, and to produce ``recovery'' from economic ruin using such policies must ultimately fail.

While there were some among his advisers and cabinet who had fascist leanings, and elements of policy that they pushed, such as the National Recovery Administration (NRA), had fascist overtones, Roosevelt was himself no fascist. He was a ``presidential'' President, using the powers of the Constitution and the power to mobilize the population behind his initiatives, to implement policy. Whatever else might say, he preserved the U.S. government and the presidency as institutions, and made them function during a period when others would have destroyed them in a coup.

Over time, Roosevelt's policies, especially under the pressure of the war build up and wartime economy, were forced increasingly toward a more dirigist, more Hamiltonian approach. However, lacking true knowledge of the policy, he could only approach it.

However, in the 1933-35 period under discussion, Roosevelt had threatened to do more. That, along with his direct attack on the principal British agents in the United States, arrayed under the deployment of the House of Morgan, had made him enough of a threat that the Morgan forces were ordered to initiate a fascist coup attempt.

The public exposure of the fascist plot by Butler and others had guaranteed that no similar plot could succeed, and it appears that from mid-1935 onward, no such operation was again seriously considered by Morgan or allied groupings. At the same time, General Butler's identification of the American Liberty League as an instrumentality of the plotters continued to dog that banker-directed organization throughout its existence. As damaged goods, its attacks on Roosevelt for being a ``dictator'' and ``anti-constitutional'' rang hollow to the larger numbers of the American electorate.

Roosevelt, throughout the 1936 campaign, maintained his fire on the bankers' cabal, keeping them pinned down and defensive. When election day came around, Roosevelt scored a crushing victory, losing only the states of Maine and Vermont.

As he had desired, Roosevelt had strengthened his own tactical position. On the strength of that victory, he had placed further enormous power in the office of the President. But despite this, the patrician Roosevelt had not changed the strategic alignment of power of those who had been arrayed against him.

Despite the President's talk about economic improvement, the Morgan cabal had succeeded in choking off sufficient credit to prevent anything but modest recovery. By 1938, the economy was tumbling again into a tailspin.

Meanwhile, Morgan, which gave up its investment banking in 1935, reconsituted that function in a new firm, Morgan, Stanley and Company, a year later. Morgan and the cabal it still dominated remained in control of government credit, through the Fed, in the way that they had before Roosevelt and Pecora altered things. Acknowledging Roosevelt as a wild beast and respecting the potential power of his presidency, they sought less to provoke him and gave him most of what he wanted: Why shouldn't they? He was paying them their usurious interest!

Butler Is Tamed

As for the straight-talking General Butler, he was placed under effective control of the same traitorous crowd he sought to destroy.

Shortly after the hearings, the Mason Hoover was dispatched to personally solicit the general's ``advice'' on crime fighting; he quickly became a trusted confidant of Butler. The general who had exposed the attempt to impose a fascist police state now became a gushing admirer of Hoover and his police-state tactics. Unbeknownst to Butler, Hoover kept close tabs on all the general's activities, including his associations with ``leftists'' such as Spivak.

Becoming increasingly discouraged by Roosevelt's policy of rearmament, which he mistook as a ``racket'' directed by Wall Street, Butler broke with the President. His speeches became more and more pacifist, even as the threat of the expansion of fascism in Europe became more real. Butler fought against any use of American troops overseas, and any use of troops unless the United States itself were attacked.

However, Butler continued to make reference to the ``Wall Street plot,'' as he made thousands of talks to groups of all kinds and sizes across the country. He died on June 21, 1940 of an ailment suspected to be cancer, only hours before France was to surrender to Hitler.

The next day, The Times printed a flattering obituary, calling him ``one of the most glamorous and gallant men who ever wore the uniform of the United States Marine Corps ... a brave man and an able leader.'' The Times added that he was often a ``storm center'' and that ``It was when he ventured into public affairs that his impetuosity led him into trouble.''

President Roosevelt sent personal condolences to Butler's family: ``I grieve to hear of Smedley's passing.... My heart goes out to you and the family in this great sorrow.''

In 1971, former Speaker of the House John McCormack told Jules Archer that Roosevelt and the nation owed General Butler a debt of gratitude for his exposure of the Morgan plot:

``If General Butler had not been the patriot that he was, and if they [the plotters] had been able to maintain their secrecy, the plot certainly might very well have succeeded, having in mind the conditions existing at the time.... If the plotters had gotten rid of Roosevelt, there is no telling what might have taken place.''


It is now more than 60 years since these events. McCormack is gone; almost all the people who were players on the stage of history during those critical years of the 1930s are long gone.

Unfortunately, our nation's history has been scrubbed clean of this important story and the period in which it unfolded. American school children know little about the Great Depression and the buildup toward World War II. They have never heard or read Roosevelt's speeches against the ``money changers,'' nor have they been taught about this President's war against the House of Morgan. History books do not mention the 1933 assassination attempt against Roosevelt. The Pecora hearings, and their dramatic exposure of the power of Morgan, are but obscure footnotes in some economic and history texts.

In times of crisis, people can throw off the blinders that have been placed over their eyes by misleadership and propaganda. It is the responsibility of leadership to provide direction to that effort, to mobilize the political will for the great tasks at hand. In the 1930s, in the midst of the Depression, it was not just the banking system that lay flat on its back, not just the economy, reeling under British-directed assault from without and within. The very soul of the republic, the political will of the average citizen, was sapped by the calamity, and the nation was plunged into despair and pessimism.

It was this despair that Roosevelt sought to dispel and that the Morgan coup plotters sought to organize into a fascist movement. Hear the words of Roosevelt, informed by the coup plot that had just been defeated, and by the danger still present, as he addressed the American people, accepting the nomination for President on June 27, 1936:

``In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy--from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right to free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented people.

``And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought....''

Speaking of the emergence of a new economic autocracy in this century, Roosevelt stated:
``Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon the concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks, and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital--all undreamed by the fathers--the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

``There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even the honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

``It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for the control of the Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service, new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result, the average man once more confronts the problem faced by the Minute Man....''

``Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of the Government...

``The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live....

``The economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain about is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain, they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness, they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against dictatorship by mob rule and the overprivileged alike....

``It has been brought home to us that the only effective guide for the safety of this most worldly of worlds, the greatest guide of all, is moral principle.

``We do not see faith, hope, and charity as unattainable ideas, but we use them as the stout supports of a nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.

``Faith--in the soundness of democracy, in the midst of dictatorships.

``Hope--renewed because we know so well the progress we have made.

``Charity--in the true spirit of that grand old word. For charity literally translated from the original means love, the love that understands, that does not merely share the wealth of the giver, but in true sympathy and wisdom, helps men to help themselves.

``We seek not to make Government a mechanical implement, but to give it the vibrant personal character that is the very embodiment of human charity.

``We are poor indeed if this Nation cannot afford to lift from every recess of American life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in this world. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of human fortitude....

``Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales.

``Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistant omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

``There is a mysterious cycle to human events. To some generations, much is given. Of other generations, much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

``In this world of ours, in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have shed their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.

``I believe in my heart, that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America, we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that: It is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world....''

If such langauge sounds foreign to you, it is a reflection of the decay of the mental life of the average citizen. With these words, Roosevelt summoned a nation to war for moral principles; but that war was not fought to be won, nor fought around a program that could succeed.

There is much more to be said about Roosevelt and the Depression, as well as the period leading up to and through World War II. But limited as it was, the victory against the coup plotters during 1933-35, did at least buy time. It did allow us this second chance to succeed.

There is a crucial difference between the 1930s and the current crisis: In the Great Depression there was no Lyndon LaRouche and a movement built around his ideas and economic program. Had there been, the history of the nation and the world might have been much happier.

We must learn from the lessons of history, or we are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In the period of the coming financial blowout, we must seek now to gain the strategic victory against the British-Venetian enemy whose continued power still means the ultimate destruction of our nation.

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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.

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