President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His dissatisfaction over Supreme Court decisions holding New Deal programs unconstitutional prompted him to seek out methods to change the way the court functioned. The Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 (frequently called the “court-packing plan”) was a legislative initiative proposed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roosevelt’s purpose was to obtain favorable rulings regarding New Deal legislation that had been previously ruled unconstitutional. The central and most controversial provision of the bill would have granted the President power to appoint an additional Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, up to a maximum of six, for every sitting member over the age of 70 years and 6 months. During Roosevelt’s first term, the Supreme Court had struck down several New Deal measures intended to bolster economic recovery during the Great Depression, leading to charges from New Deal supporters that a narrow majority of the court was obstructionist and political. Since the U.S. Constitution does not mandate any specific size of the Supreme Court, Roosevelt sought to counter this entrenched opposition to his political agenda by expanding the number of justices in order to create a pro-New Deal majority on the bench.
Opponents viewed the legislation as an attempt to stack the court, leading them to call it the “court-packing plan”. The legislation was unveiled on February 5, 1937 and was the subject, on March 9, 1937, of one of Roosevelt’s Fireside chats. Shortly after the radio address, on March 29, the Supreme Court published its opinion upholding a Washington state minimum wage law in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish by a 5–4 ruling, after Associate Justice Owen Roberts had joined with the wing of the bench more sympathetic to the New Deal. Since Roberts had previously ruled against most New Deal legislation, his perceived about-face was widely interpreted by contemporaries as an effort to maintain the Court’s judicial independence by alleviating the political pressure to create a court more friendly to the New Deal. His move came to be known as “the switch in time that saved nine.” However, since Roberts’s decision and vote in the Parrish case predated the introduction of the 1937 bill, this interpretation has been called into question.
Roosevelt’s initiative ultimately failed due to adverse public opinion, the retirement of one Supreme Court Justice, and the unexpected and sudden death of the legislation’s U.S. Senate champion: Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson. It exposed the limits of Roosevelt’s abilities to push forward legislation through direct public appeal and, in contrast to the tenor of his public presentations of his first-term, was seen as political maneuvering. Although circumstances ultimately allowed Roosevelt to prevail in establishing a majority on the court friendly to his New Deal agenda, some scholars have concluded that the President’s victory was a pyrrhic one ROBBER BARONS-Robber barons is a derogatory term applied to wealthy and powerful 19th century American businessmen. By the late 1800’s, the term was typically applied to businessmen who used what were considered to be exploitative practices to amass their wealth. These practices included exerting control over national resources, accruing high levels of government influence, paying extremely low wages, squashing competition by acquiring competitors in order to create monopolies and eventually raise prices, and schemes to sell stock at inflated prices to unsuspecting investors in a manner which would eventually destroy the company for which the stock was issued and impoverish investors. The term combines the sense of criminal (“robber”) and illegitimate aristocracy (“baron”).
The term derives from the medieval German lords who charged tolls on ships traversing the Rhine without adding anything of value. (see robber baron). There is dispute over the term’s origin and use. U.S. political and economic commentator Matthew Josephson popularized the term during the Great Depression in a 1934 book by the same title. He attributed the phrase to an 1880 anti-monopoly pamphlet about railroad magnates. Like the German antecedents, Josephson alleged that American big businessmen amassed huge fortunes immorally, unethically, and unjustly. The theme was popular during the Great Depression amid public scorn for big business. After the Depression, business historians, led by Allan Nevins, began challenging this view of American big businessmen by advocating the “Industrial Statesman” thesis.
Nevins, in his John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise (2 vols., 1940), took on Josephson. He argued that while Rockefeller may have engaged in some unethical and illegal business practices, this should not overshadow his bringing order to industrial chaos of the day. Gilded Age capitalists, according to Nevins, sought to impose order and stability on competitive business, and that their work made the United States the foremost economy by the 20th century. WORLD WAR 2-“WWII” redirects here. For other uses, see WWII (disambiguation). For Winston Churchill’s history, see The Second World War (book series).
World War II (WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that was underway by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis SAMUEL GOMPERS-Samuel Gompers (January 27, 1850 – December 13, 1924) was an English-born American cigar maker who became a labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and served as that organization’s president from 1886 to 1894 and from 1895 until his death in 1924. He promoted harmony among the different craft unions that comprised the AFL, trying to minimize jurisdictional battles. He promoted “thorough” organization and collective bargaining to secure shorter hours and higher wages, the first essential steps, he believed, to emancipating labor. He also encouraged the AFL to take political action to “elect their friends” and “defeat their enemies”.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT-The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 is a United States federal law that was designed to regulate the railroad industry, particularly its monopolistic practices AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT-The (sometimes called “Triple A”) was a United States federal law of the New Deal era which restricted agricultural production by paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land (that is, to let a portion of their fields lie fallow) and to kill off excess livestock ELLIS ISLAND-formally opened on January 1, 1892, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1924. WESTERN FRONT WW1-Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. MANN ACT- White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act, is a United States law, passed June 25, 1910 (ch. 395, 36 Stat. 825; codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421–2424). It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann, and in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes.
FOURTEEN POINTS-The “Fourteen Points” was a statement of principles contained in a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The points encompassed war aims as forwarded by Wilson, and a general guideline for a post-war order and frontiers. The address was intended to assure the country, and the world, that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe. JACOB RIIS-Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914) was a Danish American social reformer, “muckraking” journalist and social documentary photographer. Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890 – January 29, 1946) was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. JOHN SCOPES (August 3, 1900 – October 21, 1970) was a teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, who was charged on May 5, 1925 for violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools.
He was tried in a case known as the Scopes Trial. IMPERIALISM-Imperialism, as defined by the People of Human Geography, is the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination MUCKRACKERS- refers to reform-minded journalists who wrote largely for popular magazines, continued a tradition of investigative journalism reporting, and emerged in the United States after 1900 and continued to be influential until World War I, when through a combination of advertising boycotts, dirty tricks and patriotism, the movement, associated with the Progressive Era in the United States, came to an end. HERBERT HOOVER- (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933). Hoover, born to Quaker parents of German, Swiss, Canadian, English, and Irish descent, was originally a professional mining engineer and author. He achieved American and international prominence in humanitarian relief efforts and served as head of the U.S. Food Administration before and during World War I