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1933 Fifty Years Ago

July 2024
1min read

The Blue Eagle—the American thnnderbird with outstretched wings- began to appear in office and plant windows in August, soaring above the proud motto “We Do Our Part.” This was the emblem of the National Recovery Administration established by Franklin Roosevelt in the hope that American industry, in a spirit of selfless concern for the commonweal, could and would regulate itself, stop destructive competition, rehire the jobless, and stimulate spending. Congress suspended the antitrust laws for two years and authorized the formulation of legally enforceable industrial codes designed to shorten hours, raise wages, and so forth. The public was urged to boycott businesses operating without the Blue Eagle and, to some extent, it did.

Roosevelt appointed Gen. Hugh S. Johnson to lead the NRA. Johnson, with great prescience, was not optimistic: on his appointment he remarked that “it will be red fire at first and dead cats afterwards. This is just like mounting the guillotine on the infinitesimal gamble that the ax won’t work.” His angry war against “chiselers,” as he called them, was not conducive to a spirit of cooperation with the industrialists, and Roosevelt forced him to resign after a year. The United States Supreme Court declared that the NRA was itself unconstitutional ( Schechter v. United States ) in May 1935, on the grounds that Congress had delegated too much power to the code authorities. The defendants, four brothers who were engaged in slaughtering chickens in New York City, were not involved in interstate commerce.

AUGUST 2 : Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants pitched his forty-fifth consecutive scoreless inning.

AUGUST 18 : Lou Gehrig breaks the record for consecutive games played: 1,308.

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