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American Liberty League

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American Liberty League
The American Liberty League was an American political organization formed in 1934 by conservative Democrats to oppose the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was active for just two years. Following the landslide re-election of Roosevelt in 1936, it sharply reduced its activities and disbanded in 1940.

Formation and leadership
Thecreation of the League was announced in Washington, D.C., on August 22, 1934, by a group of Democrats and a smaller number of Republicans. Jouett Shouse, who had been prominent in Democratic politics and the anti-Prohibition movement, became the group's first chairman. The makeup of the League's executive committee was designed to demonstrate its bipartisan nature. It included: John W. Davis and AlSmith, former Democratic candidates for president; wealthy businessman Irénée du Pont, who left the Republicans to support Al Smith in 1928 and Roosevelt in 1932; and two New York Republicans, Nathan L. Miller, the state's former governor, and Representative James W. Wadsworth.[1] The moving spirit behind the launch of the organization was John Jacob Raskob, a former chairman of the DemocraticNational Committee and the foremost opponent of prohibition, former director of General Motors and a board member of the DuPont.[2] Reaction to the League formation was generally skeptical of its non-partisan nature.[3] President Roosevelt told a press conference that the League seemed founded "to uphold two of the Ten Commandments," stopping at protecting property and drawing no inspiration from thecommand to "Love they neighbor as thyself."[4] Arthur Krock wrote a few weeks later, just after the November election, that the League was prepared to announce more eminent members of its leadership group "to eradicate the purely political and anti-administration tinge that colored the league in the beginning."[5] The League proceeded to name a National Executive Committee of 25 and a NationalAdvisory Council of about 200. Those named constituted a geographically diverse group, almost all drawn from the upper echelons of American industry. Among the notable exceptions were Hollywood movie producer Hal Roach and naval hero Richmond Pearson Hobson. More typical were Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. of General Motors and J. Howard Pew of Sun Oil Company.[6] Membership exceeded 36,000 in July 1935, only27% of whom were contributors. It doubled by January 1936, peaked at 125,000 in the middle of 1936, and then declined rapidly following the 1936 election.[7] The League targeted college students for membership and had particular success at state universities. There were 345 chapters with more than 10,000 members by April 1936. Academics played a variety of roles. For example, New York Universityeconomist Walter Spahr gave speeches that the League reproduced in pamphlet form, though an attempt to organize a committee of academic economists failed.[8]

Philosophy
The League said in its founding statement that it was a "nonpartisan organization founded to defend the Constitution and defend the rights and liberties guaranteed by that Constitution."[9] It eschewed participation inelections. Its stated goal was:[10] to teach the necessity of respect for the rights of persons and property as fundamental to every form of government...to teach the duty of government, to encourage and protect individual and group initiative and enterprise, to foster the right to work, earn, save and acquire property, and to preserve the ownership and lawful use of property when acquired. It proposed toeducate the public and legislators on legislative issues. In particular, it proposed to help the Roosevelt administration with its research and denied it was anti-Roosevelt either at present or with regard to the 1936

American Liberty League presidential election.[10] [11]

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Financing
On the national level, the League's total expenditures over its six-year life amounted to $1,200,000,...
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