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Neutrality In America 80 Years Ago – 1935

Texas Congressman Maury Maverick - staunch believer in neutrality; no matter what
Texas Congressman Maury Maverick – staunch believer in neutrality; no matter what

Congressman Maury Maverick on Neutrality in America -November 11, 1935 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Even as far back as 1935, with only the beginnings of what would become another World War, there was already resistance to our involvement in anything that didn’t deal with us directly. Taking an isolationist approach – letting the rest of the world get involved in armed conflict and America staying out of it.

Texas Congressman Maury Maverick was one of the most outspoken critics of any involvement the U.S. could possibly take in any future conflict.

In this address, given on Armistice Day 1935, Maverick reminds the audience of the sacrifices America made in the “Great War“, ended just 17 years earlier, and how it was no business of the U.S. to involve itself in another conflict. A progressive and ardent New Dealer, Maverick saw our commitment to domestic responsibilities far more important than fighting a war in another country. He was part of a group dubbed The Mavericks, who were pushing for legislation to clean up slums, create more all-encompassing social programs as well as vigorous defending Free Speech. It cost him re-election, but it got him elected as Mayor of San Antonio, where he remained for only one term, but his far-reaching reforms lasted for generations.

Maverick’s political career extended well into the 1950s and 60s. As a member of the Texas House, he broke with fellow Democrats over the banning of books and the anti-communist hysteria prevalent during the McCarthy era. And later, he broke with fellow Texan and long-time friend Lyndon Johnson over his position regarding the Vietnam War.

In recent years, Maury Maverick’s name was hi-jacked by the McCain Presidential campaign. Maverick had come to mean a person outside the mainstream – a name coined by those who knew and worked with Maury Maverick. Maverick’s heirs were not amused when McCain, along with running mate Sarah Palin referred to themselves as “Mavericks”.

Here he is, in a rare radio address, given on Armistice Day 1935, November 11th.

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