TAU BETA PI INITIATION THESIS.
J. ROBERT ESHER, JR.
In the past, events have occurred, the study of
which has led this writer to believe that if we are not
careful we may some day become a Fascist nation. I cite
examples of a latent spirit of Fascism and warn the reader
to beware of intolerance and other characteristics of that
despieed form of government*
We are now engaged in the greatest war of all
times* We are fighting this war for the avowed purpose of
exterminating that font of government known as Fascism. I
dont believe that any decent American has any doubts con-
cerning the necessity of winning this war. we must win and
we will win.
But there ie another and much older war against
Fascism which we have fought and must continue to fight*
The Fascism being combat ted in this older war is not sym-
bolized by the faeces or the swastika nor is it imported
from Furope or Japanj it is not even formally organized.
It is a homegrown, native-American variety which only too
often chooses for its emblem the American flag. It takes
the form of nativism or nationalism invariably disguised as
patriotism, of unwillingness to listen to the other side of
an argument, of occasional mob violence rather than resort to
the orderly processes of the law, and of the dozens of those
little prejudices we all uave. Most of all it takes the form
of a quick willingness to condemn the one who does not con-
form to the pattern of those about him* (NOTF) These charact-
eristics of American Fascism can be compared with those of the
German variety listed in Propaganda and Dictatorship , Article 1
edited by Harwood L. Childs, published Princeton University
Although traces of a Fascist spirit are found in the
religious intolerance of the earliest American colonies it must
be remembered that this wag an intolerant age. Tne ideas of
William Penn and Roger Williams on religious freedom and of
John Locke on political freedom had not yet begun to circulate.
v.e must, in all fairness, disregard these early Fascist
tendencies for this reason, of much greater concern to us,
however, is a series of happenings which occurred near the
middle of the 19th century.
During the third and fourth decades of the 19th
century the immigration of Irish began. These people at
once made themselves unpopular with labor by being willing
to work for low wages. Later, as they became organised and
acquired political power, they became unpopular with the
moneyed class. A dislike for a people brings a dislike for
their religion and soon all Roman Chtholics, natives or
immigrants alike, weie distrusted. In 1840 anti-Catholic
rioting broke out in Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia.
Soon thereafter the Native American Party was formed for the
purpose of restricting immigration. The Mexican War diverted
the interest of the people before the Party could acquire
After the war nativism again appeared with the form-
ation of the United Order of Americans. This organization grew
and absorbed such groups as the American Brotherhood , the
United Daughters of America? Sons o_f Amer ica^ and The Order of
the sta r spangled Banner * Shortly thereafter the combined
organisations entered politics and were known as the Know
The characters of the parents can be known from the
character of the child and the character of the Know Not hinge
was black indeed. Two of the membership requirements of the
party are especially interesting. They were that a member of
the party must always vote as the party officers instructed
him to, and that no person shall be admitted to membership
who has any family connect! . n with t e Homan Catholic rel-
igion, one can well imagine what sort of things the parent
organizations, flaunting such patriotic names, must have been.
The Know Nothing party acquired considerable power but soon
made some serious political mistakes and disintegrated.
The story of intolerance could be con inued in this
way almost indefinitely. Negro persecution in the South, the
public hysteria during tae first World War, the post-war
"professional patriots" and tiie followers of Coughlin, Pelley,
Winrod, et. al, today are more examples of a spirit here at
home that thinking Americans must do all they can to quell.
Channing. A History of the United States, Macinillan,
New York, 1936.
Childs, Pro paganda and Dictat orship, Princeton Univ-
ersity Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1936.
Hapgood, P rof essi onal Pa t ri o t s ,_ Boni, New York, 1928.
Hicks. The Federal union, Houghton Mifflin, New York,
Recent America, Crowell, New York, 19 41.