Celebrate Social Security “birthday,” August 14, 2012 at FDR Library

August 1, 2012

Press release from the FDR Presidential Library and Home; some informational links added here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For press inquiries: Cliff Laube (845) 486-7745

FDR Presidential Library and Museum to host

2012 NATIONAL BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY

August 14, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home

Reservations are required as seating is limited. For reservations call co-chair Stefan Lonce at (914) 629-4580.

HYDE PARK, NY — The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will host a 2012 National Birthday Party for Social Security at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. Event co-chair Dr. Christopher Breiseth, Francis Perkins Center board member and former President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, will lead the festivities. The program will celebrate the 77th Anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with readings of the 1935 and 1983 social security signing statements, “A Promise to All Generations: Stories and Essays about Social Security and Frances Perkins” (co-edited by Dr. Breiseth), and “Driving with FDR: A Calendrical Biography.” The forthcoming book “Driving with FDR” is written by event co-chair Stefan Lonce, editor of The Montauk Sun newspaper.

Attendees will celebrate the occasion with refreshments — including two special birthday cakes — and free admission to the Roosevelt Library’s current special exhibition, “The Roosevelts: Public Figures, Private Lives,” the largest photography exhibit ever assembled on the lives and public careers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. This program will be held in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home.

Reservations are required as seating is limited. For reservations call co-chair Stefan Lonce at (914) 629-4580.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving historical material and providing innovative educational programs, community events, and public outreach. It is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. For information about the FDR Presidential Library call (800) 337-8474 or visit www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.

Historic Hyde Park is a group of government and private non-profit organizations based in Hyde Park, New York. Each has a unique mission, but all are united in their dedication to extending the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to new generations. HHP includes the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. For more information about HHP visit www.HistoricHydePark.org.

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Composite photo of people at FDR's signing of Social Security Act -- SSA image

From Social Security Administration: There were many photographs taken of the Social Security Act signing ceremony. The posing was different in many of the photographs and in no single photograph are all the participants visible. This composite photograph shows all of the participants in a single image. (See identification below)

People listed in the photograph, according to the Social Security Administration, “Who is who, and why they were there”:

1. Rep. Jere Cooper (D-TN). Cooper was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and would go on in subsequent years to become something of an expert on Social Security topics and he was a major force in Social Security legislative developments during the 1940s to the mid-1950s. Mr. Cooper also rose to the position of Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee during the Eighty-fourth and Eighty-fifth Congresses.

2. Rep. Claude Fuller (D-AR). Fuller was a member of the Ways & Means Committee and was generally opposed to the Administration’s bill. During Committee consideration he made motions seeking to strike key provisions of the legislation. But when his efforts failed, he compromised with the Administration and joined in voting for passage of the bill.

3 . Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC) was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. As such he was the principal official sponsor of the legislation in the House.

4. Rep. Frank Buck (D-CA) was a second-generation industrialist and fruit grower from California. He was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which had jurisdiction of the bill in the House. He graduated from Harvard Law School and served five terms in Congress, from 1933 until his death in 1942. (Representative Buck has often been misidentified in photos of the signing as being Edwin Witte. Witte, in fact, was not in the signing photographs.)

5. Rep. John Boehne, Jr.(D-IN) succeeded his father as a representative from Indiana. He was first swept into office in the 1932 elections with President Roosevelt and strongly supported FDR’s programs. At first, he was against the Social Security bill and wanted to exempt industrial employers with their own pension systems.

6 . Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY) was born in Germany, immigrated to New York City, attended law school and was elected to the Senate in 1926. He served four terms. He was a close associate of Frances Perkins and helped draft several early New Deal measures. Wagner introduced the bill into the Senate. His son, Robert F. Wagner, was mayor of New York City for 16 years.

7 . Sen. Alben Barkley (D-KY) was a seven-term Congressman before being elected to the Senate in 1926. By 1937, he was Senate Majority Leader and a decade later, Vice President of the United States. He was an ardent New Dealer and helped shepherd the Social Security Act through the Senate. He argued for “a universal and uniform program in general.” He didn’t want to exempt certain private groups merely because they already had pension systems, as was proposed by some conservatives in the Congress.

8 . This individual is presently unknown.

9 . Sen. Robert LaFollette, Jr., (PROG-WI) was the eldest son of Robert LaFollette, a progressive Senator from Wisconsin and one-time presidential candidate. When his father died in 1925, Robert Jr., then only 30 years old, was appointed to succeed him. Initially elected as a Republican, LaFollette changed his party affiliation to the Progressive Party in 1934. LaFollette served on the House-Senate conference committee that drafted the final version of the Social Security bill. He served in the Senate until 1946, when he was defeated by Joseph McCarthy. In 1953, LaFollette committed suicide in Washington, D.C.

10 . Rep. John Dingell, Sr. (D-MI). Rep. Dingell was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He was a prominent leader in Congress in sponsoring social insurance legislation and teamed with Senator Wagner he authored a couple of important precursor bills to the Social Security Act. (Several authors have identified Dingell as “unidentified man” in some versions of the signing photo.)

11. Sen. Augustine Lonergan (D-CT) was a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Yale University. Although he was a four-term Congressman, he served only one term in the Senate. During the discussions on the Social Security bill, Lonergan gave information about various private insurance annuities to show how they compared to the social insurance program that was being proposed.

12 . Frances Perkins was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1933, making her the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position. Like FDR, she was a child of privilege, but became a strong advocate for the poor and working class. She began her career in New York City as a social worker and held several responsible State government jobs. She served as head of Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security, set up in 1934. The Social Security legislation sprang from this committee.

13. Rep. Frank Crowther (R-NY) was a Republican member of the House Ways & Means Committee;

14. Sen. William H. King (D-UT). King was a conservative Democrat and member of the Senate Finance Committee. King expressed persistent opposition to many features of the bill as it was being considered, and his support of the legislation was in doubt until the last possible minute. In the end, he voted for passage of the Social Security Act. (Senators King and Harrison have often been confused in the signing photos, including,we are embarrassed to admit, in SSA’s own OASIS magazine. Clue: King has a bowtie, Harrison has a regular long tie.)

15. Rep. David J. Lewis (D-MD) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and was probably the leading expert on social insurance legislation on the Committee. It was Lewis, a former coal miner and self-taught lawyer, who introduced the Social Security bill into the House on January 17, 1935. However, Chairman Doughton, exercising what he took to be the Chairman’s privileges, made a copy of Lewis’ bill and submitted it himself. Then he persuaded the House clerk to give him a lower number than Lewis’ copy. Newspapers then began calling the bill “The Wagner-Doughton bill.” When Lewis found out, he sputtered and swore, then went to work to understand every sentence and master the arguments in favor of the bill. And when David Lewis walked down the aisle of the House to debate on the bill’s behalf, he received a standing ovation–a subtle rebuke to Chairman Doughton’s high-handed treatment.

16 . Sen. Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison (D-MS) was a Congressman for 8 years before being elected to the Senate in 1918. In his book “The Development of the Social Security Act,” Edwin Witte gives Harrison credit for his “adroit” handling of the Social Security bill in the Senate Finance Committee. According to Witte, Title II would not have been approved by the Committee without Sen. Harrison’s help. Harrison went on to serve in the Senate for the rest of his life and was elected President pro tempore 6 months before his death in June 1941. (In other versions of the signing photo, Sen. Harrison can be more clearly seen wearing a white suit and tie and holding his trademark cigar.)

17. Sen. Joseph Guffey (D-PA) was 65 years old at the time the Social Security Act was passed, although he was only a first-term Senator. From Pennsylvania, he served two terms before being defeated in 1946. His vote on the Social Security bill was in doubt until the final roll call.

18. Senator Edward Costigan (D-CO), a member of the Finance Committee.

19. Rep. Samuel B. Hill (D-WA) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.

20. Rep. Fred Vinson (D-KY) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He would go on to serve as Secretary of the Treasury and as a Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

21 . President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

NOTE: For more biographical information on any of the members of Congress see the U. S. Senate Biographical Directory of the United States Congress on the Senate website

Astonishing to me that one person in the photograph remains unidentified.  Can you help identify the man?

More:


Stimulus spending: Texans remember how the CCC helped save the nation

January 20, 2012

New video history piece from the Texas Parks & Wildlife people:

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Uploaded by on Jan 17, 2012

The Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs for over 3 million young men during the Great Depression and helped establish the foundation of our nation’s park system. 70 years after the creation of the CCC, Conservation Corps veterans reunite in one of the parks they helped build, sharing stories and rekindling old memories.

A pictorial map showing Texas State Parks with significant work performed by the CCC:

Map of Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy Parks in Texas - TPWD image

Map of Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy Parks in Texas - TPWD image - Click on map for original, larger version


FDR on Social Security — “Our Plain Duty”

November 1, 2011

A film from the Pare Lorentz Center and FDR Library:

This film, produced by the Pare Lorentz Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Social Security. The film asks the question: Is it still Our Plain Duty?

Big question.  Do we have an obligation to continue Social Security, especially now that everyone has a pension from their employer, no one has any difficulty getting access to health care, there are no homeless people in the streets, and no older Americans live and die in poverty?

2,671 views at posting

Haunted by Santayana’s Ghost: FDR warns about Republican hypocrisy and sarcasm, from 1936

July 23, 2011

A haunting by Santayana’s Ghost:

Was this a convention speech?  I wonder when and where it was.  Can anyone help?

_____________

Ha!  In comments, SBH points us to the text of the speech.  FDR addressed the New York State Democratic Convention, in Syracuse, on September 29, 1936 (Can you imagine — does any state have such thing still —  state party conventions so late in the year, today?).  He found it at UC-Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project website.  Here’s the text of the excerpt above, plus a little:

In New York and in Washington, Government which has rendered more than lip service to our Constitutional Democracy has done a work for the protection and preservation of our institutions that could not have been accomplished by repression and force.

Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories. No one will forget that they had their golden opportunity—twelve long years of it.

Remember, too, that the first essential of doing a job well is to want to see the job done. Make no mistake about this: the Republican leadership today is not against the way we have done the job. The Republican leadership is against the job’s being done.


No, Henry Wallace would not have been president long, had FDR died a few months early

March 25, 2011

Oh, it’s a technical quibble, I know.

Henry Wallace campaign button from 1948

Henry Wallace campaign button, probably from 1948. R. Emmett Tyrell worries unnecessarily that Henry Wallace might have been president, had FDR died a few months earlier.

I’ve read R. Emmett Tyrell for years.  Back in the day, when American Spectator was scratching to get anyone to read, they sent me free copies — I presume because they got my name off of a list for National Review.  At some point they decided they could actually get someone to pay for the magazine, and I fell off their list.

It was a fun read back then.  American Spectator showed up on newsprint, not slick paper.  There was a college newspaper feel to it.  They had a great section called “Brayings from the barnyard,” in which they’d quote stupid things that people said.  That was the first place I encountered the old saw, “Those whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.”

And I’m sure that, had he thought about it for three minutes, he wouldn’t have written it.  But Tyrell didn’t think.

In the on-line blog for the Spectator, in the traditionally-named “The Current Crisis,” Tyrell wrote:

Progressives have long been in favor of One World vouchsafed by the United Nations. Henry Wallace, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s second vice president and the 1948 presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, spoke of it often. On the campaign trail in 1948 he spoke of “jobs, peace, and freedom” that “can be attained together and make possible One World, prosperous and free, within our lifetime.” He too promised to coordinate policy through the United Nations. Had President Roosevelt died but six months earlier, America would have had this fantastico in the White House. As it was, in one last act of cunning for his country, Roosevelt maneuvered Wallace out of the vice presidency and Harry Truman in. Harry was green but he was not naïve. We came that close to Henry Wallace and his “Gideon’s Army” in the White House.

Does Tyrell really believe that?

Henry Wallace could not have succeeded to the presidency at any time after noon, January 21, 1945, and had he succeeded to the presidency any time before January 21, he’d have served only until January 21.  Had Roosevelt died any time after November 7, 1944, Harry S Truman would have been inaugurated on January 21, 1945.  Had Roosevelt died between the Democratic Convention and the election, one could make an argument that Truman would not have won the nomination nor the presidency — we’ve never had a candidate die before election day, nor between election and inauguration (though William Henry Harrison sure pushed it).

Berryman cartoon, 1948, Truman v. Tom Dewey

Berryman cartoon, probably from the Washington Star, 1948 — New York Gov. Thomas Dewey was expected to handily defeat President Harry S Truman; the election was held anyway. Elections have consequences.

Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.  Six months earlier quickly calculated would have been October 12.  [I goofed when I submitted a comment at the Spectator site, and calculated December — too quick a calculation!]  Wallace, then the vice president to FDR, almost certainly would not have won the Democrats’ nomination for president.  It may have been possible for the party to name a new ticket, and if so, it would not have had Wallace on top.  One can make a case that Truman wouldn’t have been on top of a new ticket, either — but even October 12 may have been too late to change the ballot, for pragmatic purposes, prior to the election.  Most discussions I’ve seen suggest that the vice presidential candidate would be moved up in such a case.

So, had Roosevelt died months prior to April 12, 1945, we would have had Henry Wallace as president for only a few weeks, until inauguration day the next January.  Then we would have had Harry S Truman, or Thomas E. Dewey.  Dewey ran against Truman in 1948, and lost.  There’s a good case to be made that Truman would have defeated Dewey in 1944, had they run against each other then.  Truman would have had the sympathy vote, and he would have been thought to have been the heir to the Roosevelt legacy and policies near the end of World War II.  With Hitler and Tojo on the run, it would have been a bad time to switch parties and policies.

We’ll never know, but Tyrell need not worry.

Harry Truman and Chicago Tribune from November 4, 1948

Harry Truman and Chicago Tribune from November 4, 1948


FDR’s First 100 Days – tailored for the classroom

April 4, 2009

The FDR Library in Hyde Park has an exhibit on FDR’s legendary First 100 Days.  Accompanying the exhibit is a flyer, available on-line in .pdf, that is tailor made for a quick PowerPoint on the events.

Cover of the .pdf flyer on the FDR Librarays exhibit on the First 100 Days

Cover of the .pdf flyer on the FDR Libraray's exhibit on the First 100 Days

A 24-page guide to the exhibit is also available, with even more details — though a lot of the images would be more difficult to put into a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

For government classes, these guides might offer a project on comparing Roosevelt’s first three or four months to Obama’s first months in office.

I’m wondering about printing at least a class set of the guide . . .

Resources:


FDR takes over

March 31, 2009

Leisure Guy, in his leisure no doubt, has some time to look seriously at political criticism and its accuracy.  For example, recently he wondered about the claim that FDR didn’t do anything to help the U.S. out of the depression, and perhaps helped prolong it.  [I have corrected a minor error; he had FDR being inaugurated in January of 1933.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the last president to be inaugurated in March; the term was changed to start in January during his presidency.]

This graph is from an interesting post by Paul Krugman, but I was fascinated to see that you can tell when FDR took office. He was elected, as you know, at the end of 1932, and he took office in late January [March] of 1933. Can you find that spot on the graph?

1931

But of course, Right Wingers will tell you that FDR made the Depression worse. Some will even say that FDR started the Great Depression.

Leisure Guy didn’t include a link to Krugman’s post, drat it.  It doesn’t appear to be this one, though it covers some of the same territory.  Update: Oh, here it is:  “Partying like it’s 1931.”


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