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A Citizen Claims the New Deal is a Path Towards Socialism

This 1934 letter to Senator Robert F. Wagner protests President Roosevelt's New Deal policies. The writer argues for stimulating private business to create employment, and against increasing the role of the federal government. Since the 19th century, some Americans had feared that socialism or communism would upset America's capitalist system and threaten American liberty. These fears had been especially strong since the Red Scare following World War I. The rise of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Tojo in the 1920s and 1930s added new worries about the threat of fascism. This letter was reproduced with all of the author's original spelling, syntax, and grammar.

Hornell, New York
March 7, 1934

My Dear Senator:

It seems very apparent to me that the Administration at Washington is accelerating it's pace towards socialism and communism. Nearly every public statement from Washington is against stimulation of business which would in the end create employment.

Everyone is sympathetic to the cause of creating more jobs and better wages for labor; but, a program continually promoting labor troubles, higher wages, shorter hours, and less profits for business, would seem to me to be leading us fast to a condition where the Government must more and more expand it's relief activities, and will lead in the end to disaster to all classes.

I believe that every citizen is entitled to know the policy of the Government, and I am so confused that I wish you would write me and advise me whether it is the policy of this Administration, of which you are a very important part, to further discourage business enterprise, and eventually set up a program which eliminates private industry and effort, and replaces it with Government control of industry and labor, —call it what you will: socialism, facism, or communism, or by any other name.

I am not addicted to annoying public office holders with correspondence, but if there are any private rights left in this country, then I would appreciate an early reply to this letter, so that I may take such action as is still possible, to protect myself and my family.

With kindest personal regards,

Yours truly,
W.L.C. [male]

WLC:JFE
U.S. Senator Robert F. Wagner
Senate Building,
Washington D.C.

Source | Robert S. McElvaine, ed., Down & Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man" (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1983), 150-1.
Creator | Anonymous
Item Type | Diary/Letter
Cite This document | Anonymous, “A Citizen Claims the New Deal is a Path Towards Socialism,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed March 18, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/668.

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