National Union for Social Justice (organization)

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National Union for Social Justice
Leader Charles E. Coughlin
Founded 11 November 1934
Dissolved 1936
Merged into Union Party
Headquarters Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
Newspaper Social Justice
Ideology Distributism
Solidarism
Christian corporatism
Anticapitalism
Political position Third Position
International affiliation None

The National Union for Social Justice was a United States political movement formed in 1934 by Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and radio host. It heavily criticized communism, capitalism, and the presidential administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt , while also advocating for the nationalization of utilities and banks.

History[edit]

The National Union for Social Justice was one of the most powerful movements to challenge Roosevelt's New Deal policies.[1] NUSJ fought for social equality and promoted populist ideologies. Membership was open to all Americans regardless of race, economic background or religious faith. At the height of the Union's popularity, it reached a membership of 7.5 million people, including African Americans, who were registered voters.[2]

Coughlin promoted the National Union for Social Justice by spreading the word on his weekly radio program, Hour of Power. His program helped spread the organization's ideologies and practices through its viewership.[3] Coughlin fused his political rants with his organization and would promote that his organization's political views would combat capitalism and big business.

The National Union for Social Justice also created their own publication, titled Social Justice, in 1936. This publication promoted the ideologies of NUSJ and promoted anti-Semitic themes as well. However, Social Justice did not last long. In 1942, the publication's mail permit was revoked under the Espionage Act of 1917.[4]

The National Union for Social Justice served as a foundation for the formation of a third political party, called the Union. It was formed to challenge Roosevelt in the election of 1936. Its founding members included Father Charles E. Coughlin, activist Francis Townsend, and politician Gerald L. K. Smith. Their goal was to propose a populist alternative to the New Deal reforms made by Roosevelt, as well as to help draw democratic voters away from Roosevelt so a Republican could be voted into office. This short-lived party broke up following the re-election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.[5]

The National Union for Social Justice did not impact the election as they had anticipated, and their political agendas were becoming unfavorable in the United States. The NUSJ eventually ended in 1937.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brinkley, Alan. Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression. New York: Knopf, 1982. Print.
  2. ^ Carpenter, Ronald (1998). Father Charles E. Coughlin: Surrogate Spokesman for the Disaffected. Westpoint, Connecticut: Greenwood. ISBN 9780313290404.
  3. ^ Warren, Donald (1996). Radio Priest: Charles Coughlin, the Father of Hate Radio. New York: New York Free. ISBN 9780684824031.
  4. ^ Jeansonne, Glen (July 2012). "The Priest and the President: Father Coughlin, FDR, and 1930s America." The Midwest Quarterly 53 (4).
  5. ^ Phillip, Grant (January 1990). "The Priest in Politics: Father Charles E. Coughlin and the Presidential Election of 1936." America: History & Life 101 (1)