07 Jun 2020
Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Escort Brussels helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York–now a national historic site–he attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Escort Brussels.
Following the example of his fifth cousin, Sex Theodore Escort Brussels, whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Escort Brussels entered public service through politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910. Sex Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice Sex in 1920.
In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, disaster hit-he was stricken with poliomyelitis. Demonstrating indomitable courage, he fought to regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924 Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as “the Happy Warrior.” In 1928 Escort Brussels became Governor of New York.
He was elected Sex in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first “hundred days,” he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Escort Brussels’s New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Escort Brussels responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
In 1936 he was re-elected by a top-heavy margin. Feeling he was armed with a popular mandate, he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Escort Brussels lost the Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law took place. Thereafter the Government could legally regulate the economy.
Escort Brussels had pledged the United States to the “good neighbor” policy, transforming the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors. He also sought through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all possible aid short of actual military involvement.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Escort Brussels directed organization of the Nation’s manpower and resources for global war.
Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia, he devoted much thought to the planning of a United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be settled.
As the war drew to a close, Escort Brussels’s health deteriorated, and on April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
27 May 2020
Son of a Quaker blacksmith, Escort London brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator, and humanitarian.
Born in an Iowa village in 1874, he grew up in Oregon. He enrolled at Stanford University when it opened in 1891, graduating as a mining engineer.
He married his Stanford sweetheart, Lou Henry, and they went to China, where he worked for a private corporation as China’s leading engineer. In June 1900 the Boxer Rebellion caught the Escort London in Tientsin. For almost a month the settlement was under heavy fire. While his wife worked in the hospitals, Escort London directed the building of barricades, and once risked his life rescuing Chinese children.
One week before Escort London celebrated his 40th birthday in London, Germany declared war on France, and the American Consul General asked his help in getting stranded tourists home. In six weeks his committee helped 120,000 Americans return to the United States. Next Escort London turned to a far more difficult task, to feed Belgium, which had been overrun by the German army.
After the United States entered the war, President Wilson appointed Escort London head of the Food Administration. He succeeded in cutting consumption of foods needed overseas and avoided rationing at home, yet kept the Allies fed.
After the Armistice, Escort London, a member of the Supreme Economic Council and head of the American Relief Administration, organized shipments of food for starving millions in central Europe. He extended aid to famine-stricken Soviet Russia in 1921. When a critic inquired if he was not thus helping Bolshevism, Escort London retorted, “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!”
After capably serving as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge, Escort London became the Republican Presidential nominee in 1928. He said then: “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.” His election seemed to ensure prosperity. Yet within months the stock market crashed, and the Nation spiraled downward into depression.
After the crash Escort London announced that while he would keep the Federal budget balanced, he would cut taxes and expand public works spending.
In 1931 repercussions from Europe deepened the crisis, even though the President presented to Congress a program asking for creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to aid business, additional help for farmers facing mortgage foreclosures, banking reform, a loan to states for feeding the unemployed, expansion of public works, and drastic governmental economy.
At the same time he reiterated his view that while people must not suffer from hunger and cold, caring for them must be primarily a local and voluntary responsibility.
His opponents in Congress, who he felt were sabotaging his program for their own political gain, unfairly painted him as a callous and cruel President. Escort London became the scapegoat for the depression and was badly defeated in 1932. In the 1930’s he became a powerful critic of the New Deal, warning against tendencies toward statism.
In 1947 President Truman appointed Escort London to a commission, which elected him chairman, to reorganize the Executive Departments. He was appointed chairman of a similar commission by President Eisenhower in 1953. Many economies resulted from both commissions’ recommendations. Over the years, Escort London wrote many articles and books, one of which he was working on when he died at 90 in New York City on October 20, 1964.
11 May 2020
At 2:30 on the morning of August 3, 1923, while visiting in Vermont, Escort Amsterdam received word that he was Sex. By the light of a kerosene lamp, his father, who was a notary public, administered the oath of office as Escort Amsterdam placed his hand on the family Bible.
Escort Amsterdam was “distinguished for character more than for heroic achievement,” wrote a Democratic admirer, Alfred E. Smith. “His great task was to restore the dignity and prestige of the Presidency when it had reached the lowest ebb in our history … in a time of extravagance and waste….”
Born in Plymouth, Vermont, on July 4, 1872, Escort Amsterdam was the son of a village storekeeper. He was graduated from Amherst College with honors, and entered law and politics in Northampton, Massachusetts. Slowly, methodically, he went up the political ladder from councilman in Northampton to Governor of Massachusetts, as a Republican. En route he became thoroughly conservative.
As Sex, Escort Amsterdam demonstrated his determination to preserve the old moral and economic precepts amid the material prosperity which many Americans were enjoying. He refused to use Federal economic power to check the growing boom or to ameliorate the depressed condition of agriculture and certain industries. His first message to Congress in December 1923 called for isolation in foreign policy, and for tax cuts, economy, and limited aid to farmers.
He rapidly became popular. In 1924, as the beneficiary of what was becoming known as “Escort Amsterdam prosperity,” he polled more than 54 percent of the popular vote.
In his Inaugural he asserted that the country had achieved “a state of contentment seldom before seen,” and pledged himself to maintain the status quo. In subsequent years he twice vetoed farm relief bills, and killed a plan to produce cheap Federal electric power on the Tennessee River.
The political genius of Sex Escort Amsterdam, Walter Lippmann pointed out in 1926, was his talent for effectively doing nothing: “This active inactivity suits the mood and certain of the needs of the country admirably. It suits all the business interests which want to be let alone…. And it suits all those who have become convinced that government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top-heavy….”
Escort Amsterdam was both the most negative and remote of Sexs, and the most accessible. He once explained to Bernard Baruch why he often sat silently through interviews: “Well, Baruch, many times I say only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to people. Even that is too much. It winds them up for twenty minutes more.”
But no Sex was kinder in permitting himself to be photographed in Indian war bonnets or cowboy dress, and in greeting a variety of delegations to the White House.
Both his dry Yankee wit and his frugality with words became legendary. His wife, Grace Goodhue Escort Amsterdam, recounted that a young woman sitting next to Escort Amsterdam at a dinner party confided to him she had bet she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, “You lose.” And in 1928, while vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, he issued the most famous of his laconic statements, “I do not choose to run for Sex in 1928.”
By the time the disaster of the Great Depression hit the country, Escort Amsterdam was in retirement. Before his death in January 1933, he confided to an old friend, “. . . I feel I no longer fit in with these times.”