Your Country At War and What Happens To You After A War by Charles A. Lindbergh Sr.
On a spring day in 1918 several government agents entered a printshop at Washington, D. C., where the original edition of this book was being printed. “Destroy all the Lindbergh plates in your plant,” they told the head of the institution. He was forced to comply. The hysteria of war-time brooked no delays. Not only were the plates of this book “Why Is Your Country at War ?“ destroyed, but also the plates of Congressman Lindbergh’s book “Banking and Currency,” written in 1913 and attacking the big bankers and Federal Reserve Law. So was the pat painstaking effort of months wiped out. Only a few hundred copies of this book had been printed, and they were sent to Minnesota for use in Congressman Lindbergh’s campaign for the governorship of that state. In 1923 Dorrance & Company issued Congressman Lindbergh’s “The Economic Pinch,” long out of print, as are his other writings, so that the present volume is the only one of Lindbergh’s books available to the American reading public today. Lindbergh transferred the copyright to me late in 1923, when I was associated with him in the practice of law at Minneapolis. We intended to use the book in his 1924 campaign for governor, but death took him on May 24, 1924, and the project was halted. As the years have passed the book has become more and more amazing. In the light of things now happening it is a most uncanny prediction of economic trends, twenty years ahead of its time. The Pecora investigations of “big bankers” and “high finance” are revealing things in 1933 and 1934 that were foretold by Lindbergh, in 1917, with real accuracy. The book even predicts the use of a plan almost identical with the NRA and Lindbergh’s discussion of the results of such a plan is interesting. Every person, giving thought to economics, realizes that, we are entering into a “New Deal,” a realignment of the social and economic order. Just how far this adjustment will go nobody can foretell. Our country is as truly at war as when the armed millions of men were marching in Europe. The first day I met Congressman Lindbergh he was chased out of Minnesota by a sheriff. The author of this book had been indorsed for governor of Minnesota by the Farmers Nonpartisan League, which had a paid membership in Minnesota alone of 67,000 members. This organization was founded in North Dakota in 1915 and gained complete control of the state in the 1916 election. The League then expanded into twelve other states, signing thousands of farmers on a platform demanding state ownership of terminal elevators, flour mills, packing plants; a state-owned bank; state hail insurance; and other planks of an advanced nature. The custom was for each precinct to elect a delegate to district conventions, these in turn to send men to a state convention to draft candidates to run for office. In the spring of 1918 Lindbergh was select by the farmers in joint convention with organized labor to run for governor. In addition to the state ownership planks, Lindbergh’s platform demanded conscription of wealth for carrying on the war, attacked profiteering, and protested against the fixing of prices paid to farmers while the price of what the farmer bought was not limited. This campaign was one of the most vicious ever waged. The hysteria of war times was freely used for political purposes. Halls or theaters were seldom used. No hall was big enough to hold the immense crowds that greeted Lindbergh and his fellow speakers and townspeople were so bitterly hostile against the League candidates that halls could not be rented at any price. Generally the Home Guards were drawn up in military array, when Lindbergh attempted to speak in a town or village, so most of the gatherings were on a friend farm. The day I met the Congressman he was scheduled to address a crowd of some ten thousand people in a grove. The meeting had just started when the sheriff, accompanied by thirty townsmen sworn in as special deputies marched to the platform and announced that no League meet was going to be held in his county and under no circumstances could Lindbergh or anybody else speak that day. The crowd started milling and booing, and bloodshed was imminent when the crowd started toward the stage to manhandle the deputies who stood with drawn guns. Then Lindbergh stood up and raised his hands. The best description I can give of him is that he closely resembled his son, Colonel Lindbergh. The father also stood about six feet two inches in height, slender, with narrow, athletic face, keen blue eyes and light wavy hair. “Friends,” he began, “we are a peace loving people. We are governed by laws and certain men are chosen to enforce laws, and among those so selected is the sheriff here. While I think these officers are wrong in their action of willfully suppressing free speech, a discussion of the serious economic issues confronting us, nevertheless it would do our cause more harm than good to have riot and possible bloodshed here. I suggest that we adjourn a few miles south into the State of Iowa which still seems to be part of these United States.” A farmer announced that his place was available and in ninety minutes the thousands of automobiles and occupants had been transported to the neighboring state and the meeting held without further trouble. This was one of many similar incidents in Lindbergh’s campaign for governor. In some towns electric light wires would be cut; Home Guards broke up dozens of meetings and in one county a warrant was issued for Lindbergh, charging him with conspiring to obstruct the war. This case was never prosecuted, however. Through all of the exciting and dangerous time the candidate was calm and serene, although determined to carry his messages to the people. A last-minute roorback defeated Lindbergh for the Republican nomination for governor. In this book you will find a discussion of the church and politics, a discussion based on speeches given in Congress by Lindbergh. By selecting a few lines and isolating them, the author could be made to look like an intolerant or an enemy of the church, but reading the entire text wipes out that impression. Extracts from the 1916 speeches were printed in a paper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul. Hundreds of thousands of these papers were distributed from the churches the day before the primary election. Hundreds of sermons called attention to the paper. As a result there was an overturn in twenty-four hours sufficient to defeat Lindbergh for governor—and probably change the history of aviation! With the possible exception of Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., no man has been more pilloried in modern American politics than Lindbergh. Until 1907 he had a lucrative law practice at Little Falls, living on his splendid farm fronting the Mississippi river. He decided to run for Congress in 1916 in the Sixth Minnesota district, comprising the north central part. Even to this day some of this territory is primitive and wild. Lindbergh was a lover of the out of doors; born in Sweden he was brought to America when one year old and spent his boyhood days tramping the newly developing wilderness of Minnesota, where he developed a splendid physique. In his first campaign he did not have an automobile but covered some territory on bicycles some with a team and a large part by canoeing up and down numerous lakes and rivers, calling upon the isolated settlers who seldom had visitors. They were impressed by his sincerity and personality and he was returned to Congress for four more terms. Shortly after reaching Washington he became interested in the money question and with the advance of years his absorption in this problem was almost fanatical. Every speech and writing was devoted at least in part to discussions of finance, the Federal Reserve Sys tem and “international bankers.” Early in his political career he introduced a resolution to investigate the so-called Money Trust. There was a bitter fight but it resulted in the Pujo investigation. To his last illness he opposed the system of having the Federal Reserve Board control the business, transportation and finance of the country. For this fight Lindbergh was punished by the press, receiving at times a national condemnation which would have discouraged a less courageous fighter. But he took care of his health, neither smoked nor drank, and in his silent way even enjoyed the fights. The only time I ever heard him approach profanity was when he received a letter from a New York banker notifying Lindbergh that he could not receive appointment on the War Industries Board. President Wilson in the early days of the World War intended to appoint the Congressman to this important place. But Washington was literally flooded with protests from the political opponents of Lindbergh on the ground that this book “Your Country at War” was giving aid and comfort to the enemy and that he should not be placed on such an important war body. In 1923 Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota died suddenly and a special election was called to fill the vacancy. Lindbergh filed on the Farmer Labor ticket, this party having elected Senator Henrik Shipstead the preceding year. Lindbergh telegraphed his son who was flying an Army Jenny plane in the south to come to Minnesota and drive him in the plane so he could cover more territory and attract larger crowds. Finally one balmy May afternoon when we were conducting a meeting at the fair grounds in Marshall we heard the drone of a motor in the sky and a few minutes later the future Colonel Lindbergh landed in a nearby field. I rode in the plane to Redwood Falls, our scheduled evening meeting, and distributed literature from the plane. Next day father and son flew to Glencoe—their first airplane ride together. That afternoon when the Colonel was going to take off he hit a concealed ditch on the Miley farm and cracked up, so the airplane method of campaigning came to an abrupt end. The former Congressman was certain he could not win the senatorial nomination but wanted to get over his Federal Reserve Bank speech to as many as possible, and he went through a strenuous schedule for several weeks. That trait always was peculiarly his. Office to him, as office, was nothing. Holding an office to him meant an opportunity to educate, agitate and serve. The father lived a very simple life. It was usual for him to be at his office at five A.M. and stay there until late in the evening. When writing or studying, he often slept there all night. He ate simply, but heavily, was almost careless of his clothes and devoted himself to work and then more work. During my association with him I never heard Lindbergh speak an unkind word of any person. He rarely passed a child without expressing a friendly greeting. During his last illness he was worrying more about the comfort of others than his own. One of my last recollections at the office was to see him standing in the bitter cold air after a heavy snow, window open, feeding the pigeons. “They can’t forage today,” he said. He procured a large sack of feed and soon the place was swarming with the hungry birds. In the light of events since this book was written he must stand as one of the nation’s leading economists. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, you will realize when you have read this book that “Here was a Man.”
WALTER E. QUIGLEY 330 Metropolitan Bank Bldg. Minneapolis, Minn. January 1, 1934
Re: Your Country At War and What Happens To You After A War by Charles A. Lindbergh S
hi! I just tracked down your site, via search for Lindbergh's "Your Country At War", but the pdf link here goes to some other search engine...do you have a good link to the pdf? Thanks!
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