Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Often Americans tend to think that our government is somehow far better than anyone else's, because "we've never come close to a coup of any kind in the last one hundred years!"

Disturbingly, this may quite possibly not be the case. In 1934, during the height of the Great Depression, the McCormack-Dickstein Committee convened by the United States House of Representatives concluded, after weeks of investigation and testimony, that there existed a plot devised by business leaders to overthrow the Roosevelet Presidency. The plot was uncovered when Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, a popular war hero, came forward and informed Congress that he had been approached to head a half million man army to march on Washington, with $30 million in financial backing from the DuPonts, Al Smith (noted opponent of FDR), and various Wall Street clientele. After the military had seized Washington, supposedly Butler was to have recieved the position of "Secretary of General Affairs," and assumed most executive authority while the President was coerced into a mere figurehead role.

The most commonly agreed motive behind this was fear that FDR's move away from the gold standard to create some economic stability and support of the American banking system would instead cause an even greater financial collapse. The plotters supposedly felt that Butler was popular enough to serve as a rallying point for revolt, while simple-minded enough that he could be manipulated.

More information on this entire episode, including what is available of the Congressional testimony on this, can be found in the wiki article on the "Business Plot," and sourcework for people to go and form their own opinions on how dangerous this plot might have been can be found here. Even if the plot did not exist, the frameworks proposed during the testimony highlight how truly fragile democracy can be when under stress... and why we need to constantly fight to ensure that our freedoms are not stripped away, no matter how good the intended motives might be.


Blogger Captain Steve said...

My dear friendling:

I as well have a blog, though it is considerably less well thought out and markedly less deep than your own. How goes things? When do you graduate?

5:52 PM  

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