May 16, 1936 - Article - In And Out - The Experiences Of The First AAA Administrator (pt. 1), by George N. Peek with Samuel Crowther
I went into the Roosevelt Administration because I saw a chance to do something for agriculture and, through agriculture, for the nation. I got out when I saw I had no chance there to do anything either for agriculture or for the nation. I am in politics for agriculture - not in agriculture for politics.
I had left the Republican Party to support Alfred E. Smith in 1928 because he promised to put into effect the farm program which I had been working on as far back as 1922. I worked for the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt because he seemed to comprehend the farm situation and promised to try to solve it along the lines a group of us had been steadily advocating. I entered what I thought was a Democratic Administration, not because it was Democratic but because it was pledged to a certain course of action. I eventually found that I was not in a Democratic Administration but in a curious collection of socialists and internationalists that were neither Republicans nor Democrats.
They, fanaticlike, believed that their objectives transcended the objectives of ordinary human beings and therefore they could not allow themselves to be hampered by platform pledges, or by the Constitution.
There were two broad general groups - the socialists and the internationalists. The socialists or, more strictly, the collectivists seemed - for nothing was in the open - to be headed by Felix Frankfurter, Rexford G. Tugwell and Jerome Frank. They gained the mind of the Secretary of Agriculture and had a good deal of sway throughout the Department. The internationalists ruled by the State Department and were headed by Secretary Hull and Assistant Secretary Sayre. Those within the groups had many divergent aims. Secretary Wallace, who had an elastic mind capable of any stretching, alone managed to be in both groups. (pg. 5)
A plague of young lawyers on settled on Washington. They all claimed to be friends of somebody or other and mostly of Felix Frankfurter and Jerome Frank. They floated airily into offices, tool desks, asked for papers and found no end of things to be busy about. I never found out why they came, or what they did or why they left. Perhaps all of them expected to be hired and perhaps some of them were hired. I only know that in the legal division were formed the plans which eventually turned the AAA from a device to aid the farmers into a device to introduce the collectivist system of agriculture into this country.
Practically all the young lawyers who swarmed into Washington dangling Phi Beta Kappa keys were enveloped in the delusion that they carried with them the tablets containing the new dispensation. They were going to inform the established lawyers and the Supreme Court what the law really was. (pg. 7)
Comments: The "plague of young lawyers" were no doubt hired law writers. The ones that fit in with the New Deal way of thinking probably got a job and they helped, under the supervision of their New Deal bosses, to write the laws that Congress rubber-stamped. The Congress that was elected by the people back then surrendered their legislative powers to a bunch of lawyers in the Executive branch that were hired by the President and his close associates, such as soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. This is not the way legislative powers are supposed to be exercised in compliance with constitutional process, but this is the way it has been now for over 70 years. The New Deal philosophy, however, was going far beyond gaining the mind of other politicians, for it was progressively gaining the minds of vast majority of the American people. The plague of lawyers continues in America today. In a short article in the newspapers recently, it was reported that, in America, 1 out of 274 people are lawyers. In China, the ratio is 1 lawyer in 12,745 people. In Washington D.C., the seat of the Federal Government, the ratio is the densest, where it is 1 lawyer in 14 people. This information was found in Parade Magazine, March 5, 2006 issue. It would seem that government of the people, by the people and for the people; has been replaced with government of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers.