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FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT: A DARK LEGACY


SHADY ANCESTRY - THE OPIUM AND PILGRIM CONNECTION

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first American ancestor is Philippe de Lannoy. The young Walloon-Flanders separatist was a zealously religious refugee at Plymouth, Mass. in 1621. Wampanoag communities had warily observed the accompanying Puritan wave for 30 years (Indian Country Media Network).

de Lanoy, also cousins to infamous Pilgrim John Cooke, "purchased" Dartmouth acres in 1652 from Chief Massassoit. Philippe de Lanoy previously volunteered for the Pequot War. Relations grew more tense until the King Philip War, wherein de Lanoy saw an opportunity to claim tribal land.

The Fortune was a darkly applicable name for the vessel that landed the first Delano. Sea trading became a family heritage. It hardly stood as the only one. Their maritime commerce has always displayed questionable ethics. Warren Delano I made an active living off of whale oil refineries and the booming China Trade in east Asia. Guangzhou (then Canton) was the only Qing port for Western merchants. New England and Mid-Atlantic firms were major economic players overseas but were blocked from inland trade routes.

Warren Delano II had far loftier goals than whale oil. He learned the more egregious import aspects, and reached Canton in 1833. The Delanos exchanged tea and Industrial Revolution technologies for opium like many elite families. Delano II profited incredibly off of the illicit trade, as he and sibling Edward partnered at Russell and Company (Fairhaven Office of Tourism).

The firm served as a prominent liaison for opium mercantilism in southern China. Warren Delano II was Chief of Operations during his nine-year stay (FDR's Delano Forebears). He even participated politically as U.S. acting consul (FDR Library). However, the careless devastation found immediate impact in America and East Asia. It catalyzed the Opium Wars (1839-42).

Russell and Company's factories were stormed by 8,000 Chinese men.

Two million Bostoners and 10 million or more American people battled opium addiction by 1856 (WBUR). 12 million Chinese citizens used the drug dependently (FDR's Delano Forebears).

Delano II even sent shipments to Union troops via the War Department's Medical Bureau. And that is the least ominous discovery. Connections between the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and Guangzhou opium were made immediately.

"The kind of expertise [Perkins and Co.] bring to [opium] in terms of managing goods and finances is something that starts in the slave trade," Dael Norwood offers insight as a Binghamton University assistant professor (WBUR). He studies this particular history in detail.

"It's the capital that ties it all together."

The First Federal Congress gave China Trade merchants and their routes special access in the Canton region. Simultaneously, advocates for plantation slavery sought to cut off Asian immigrants. This North-South rift created the true hostile nationalism we experience today.

Xenophobic sentiment stemmed from hypocrisy about Chinese commerce and American slave economy. If the South could not monopolize Black exports and labor, then their every effort channeled into the North's financial failure (Norwood, Commerce and China).

Indeed, the Boston Connection reshaped job markets beyond city borders. European-American, specifically Irish-, workers were gradually substituted with Chinese and other East Asian laborers. They filled occupational gaps from clerks and chefs to maids.

Delano II completed one last "trade mission" in 1859 for another five years after the 1857 Panic. He eventually returned to America post-Civil War with spareable wealth.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt coincidentally attended Harvard University, a well-known Boston opium beneficiary, as a legacy student. Warren Delano II paved the crooked way for his entire family and generations after him.


MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR UNIVERSAL INSURANCE

August 14, 1935 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Banking Holiday, Glass-Steagall Act established bank protections, plus the Security Exchange Commission's increased investors' safety net.


THE FDR ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN - HIGH-PROFILE, HIGH COST

Harry Anslinger served as U.S. Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the DEA's predecessor, from 1930 to 1962. Though current legislation can trace their origins back to the Roosevelt era (1932-1945). Anslinger and FDR jointly headed an international and domestic campaign that bordered on paranoia. This began the modern War on Drugs.

Anslinger wanted continual influence on drug distribution and opinion after co-drafting the 1931 Narcotics Limitation Convention in Geneva. He also participated in drug policy abroad (the Bahamas, Holland, and Italy) (The War On Drugs: An International Encyclopedia, pg. 5). Prohibition weakened his political position since alcohol, opium and cocaine were restrictively regulated. So Anslinger adopted a pitchfork tactic despite a prior neutrality on cannabis.

The Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act was drafted in 1934 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. It halted the use and sale of any drugs deemed narcotic in addition to the Harrison Act, which targeted doctors, farmers and any bureaucratic violations for opioid prescriptions. Indeed, the latter created 1/3 of federal prisoners by 1928 (Blowing Smoke, pg. 38). And imprisonment rates would only increase.

President Roosevelt came to aid in that fight. He expressed a desire to implement the same restrictions within the U.S. FDR's letter signifies a "moral campaign" to World Narcotic Defense Association President Richard Hopson in 1935 (American Presidency Project). This occurred two years before the Marihuana Tax Act.

"Between March 4 and April 10, 1933, 20 other countries deposited their ratifications and the Treaty went into operation on July 9, 1933. It was my privilege, as President, to proclaim, on that day, that this Treaty had become effective throughout the jurisdiction of the United States.

Since then, nineteen additional ratifications have been deposited at Geneva and the Treaty has now become the basis of international accord on narcotics. Already its influence has produced a profound effect upon the supply and the distribution of illicit narcotic drugs." Nine states approved of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act before FDR's message. All 49 joined the effort afterward.

Anslinger propagated opinions that hurried the adoption along. Birmingham, AL's Age-Herald stressed their approval for cannabis restriction in 1935. The Washington Post belabored a similar view with a pro-FBN attitude in 1934, and the Saint Louis Star Times commonly rejected cannabis (Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Technical Papers of the First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Appendix, Vol. 1, pg. 489). Local worries were a microcosmic event that were caused by misinformed authority.

MARIHUANA TAX ACT - A SOCIOECONOMIC DISASTER

President Roosevelt endorsed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. However, this extended an anti-narcotics crusade in opposition to any compassion for addicted people. And there was little supporting evidence. The commissioner's yearly overviews doubled as research submissions to the League of Nations Opium Advisory Committee.

No peer-reviewed measurements or records were widely available so he could manipulate data easily. This facilitated Anslinger's representation of the U.S. at the 1936 Conference for Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs (Blowing Smoke, Rethinking the War on Drugs, pg. 38).

 The FBN's "Gore File" (biased police reports for drug offenses) falsely blamed cannabis for Victor Licata's mental illness and murder case. Hearings had far more basis in racial classism. The medical field's uproar mirrored cultivation debate today. Why? Anslinger's Marihuana Tax Act conflated "marihuana" with cannabis and hemp, specifically to spark nativism against neighboring Mexico and newly freed African-Americans.

Clinical physicians protested the Marihuana Tax Act for its medical cannabis antagonization. The American Medical Association disagreed about its purpose at first (Marijuana Decriminalization, pg. 532).

The Marihuana Tax Act had been prepared secretively and without official review. Dr. William C. Woodward represented the AMA in 1934. He testified as legislative council before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

Woodward pointed out that the legislation's incorrect term foreshadowed little thought on cannabis law and its aftereffects. Members were not objective or welcoming. Here is the full congressional transcript (Historical Research on Drug Policy). Read the abridged below.

"Mr. Chairman and gentlemen. It is with great regret that I find myself in opposition to any measure that is proposed by the government and particularly in opposition to any measure...for the purpose of suppressing traffic in narcotics. I cooperated with Hamilton Wright in drafting the Harrison Narcotics Act.

I have been more or less in touch with the narcotics situation since that time. During the past two years I have visited the Bureau of Narcotics probably 10 or more times. Unfortunately, I had no knowledge that such a bill as this has been proposed until after it had been introduced.

There is nothing in the medicinal use of cannabis that has any relation to cannabis addiction. I use the word "cannabis" in preference to the word "marihuana" because cannabis is the correct term for describing the plant and its products. So if you will permit me, I shall use the word "cannabis" and I should certainly suggest that if any legislation is enacted the term used be "cannabis".

Woodward objected the government's de-facto attacks on doctors and farmers as well.

"In all that you have heard here so far, no mention has been made of any excessive use of the drug by any doctor or its excessive distribution by any pharmacist. And yet the burden of this bill is placed heavily on the doctors and pharmacists of the country. And I may say very heavily, most heavily, possibly of all on the farmers of the country.

To say however as been proposed here, that the use of the drug should be prevented by a prohibitive tax, loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for cannabis."

Harry Anslinger was hellbent on federal surveillance of cannabis and its reclassification as a narcotic, no matter to what end. He criticizes the Harrison Narcotics act and even Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act while promoting the Marihuana Tax Act. His aggressive policies reflect in court.

Every large metropolitan hub with Balkan, Black and Latino communities passed punitive acts and regulation on cannabis (Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century: Theory, Behavior, and Policy, pg. 82-84). El Paso was the first in 1914, and followed by other Southern and Southwestern states.

Anslinger coined an inaccuracy about cannabis that's still common: "the gateway drug". He also testified that half of violent offenses in Greek, Hispanic and Black American districts were perpetrated after cannabis (pg. 84).

The commissioner allowed "concerned" testimonies about marihuana-induced malbehavior. PTO's, women's groups, community crime watch and law enforcement rallied for support. NC Congresssman Robert Doughton could be expected to lead a virtue campaign. He was a devout Christian and Republican who not only co-drafted the MTA's prototype, "House Resolution 6385, but presided as chairman over Marihuana Tax Act court hearings.

The process was corrupt from conception to conclusion. No public health service experts submitted a counter-report, so the Federal Bureau of Narcotics chose a pharmocologist who only examined effects on canines! (Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, pg. 122).

Testimonies came from the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and the PTA board (Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century, pg. 84). WCTU's Union Signal significantly inspired public urgency for Anslinger. And it had definitive connections to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

"As is the case at present with respect to opium, coca leaves and their respective alkaloids, the uniform state law does not completely solve the law enforcement problem with respect to marihuana. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics under the Marihuana Tax Act would continue to act as an informal coordinating agency in the enforcement of the uniform state law, exchanging information as between the respective state authorities in methods of procedure." (Additional Statement of Harry Anslinger). The shameful bill took effect in 1937 with no roll call (Encyclopedia of Drug Policy, pg. 492).

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics funded 1936's sensationalist film Reefer Madness to spread public fear. The Marihuana Tax Act took flame to gasoline. Affidavits, frequent Treasury Department inspection and severe fines awaited any non-compliant parties. Prescriptions' procedure was a deterrent for its difficulty (Encyclopedia of Drug Policy, pg. 267).

This was a malicious oversight that even the New York Academy of Medicine and Drug Policy Alliance addressed during their 2014 conference (New York Academy of Medicine, "Marijuana Regulation: The LaGuardia Report at 70").

Such stringent measures created even more overpolicing. Physicians naturally were reluctant to afford the high fees for licenses or $1 postage stamp per ounce and $1 transfer ($17.26 with CPI-Bureau of Labor's inflation simulator).

Non-registered users on the street level paid $1,000 per ounce ($1,726—the average American's annual income), and a $2,000 additional fine plus five-year maximum behind bars ("Marijuana Regulation"). Privilege and race greatly shaped America's city response toward drug use whether it was addictive, medicinal or recreational.

Skyrockting incarceration was disproportionately non-Anglo and -white. Even Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia objected the FBN's research once haphazard enforcement appeared in New York. So he commissioned the New York Academy of Medicine for an investigative study. The mayor already opposed Anslinger's act publicly.

The American Journal of Psychiatry released a preliminary paper before the Academy's official findings in 1944 (Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century, pg. 85).

LaGuardia's committee had 31 scientists, the New York City Department of Hospitals' 77-patient clinical study, and a survey conducted by a six-member NYPD team (Counterpunch). The full edition is found in Schaffer Library of Drug Policy.

Socioscientific analysis made 13 crucial discoveries, the most important being these: "Marijuana"/"marihuana" mainly centered in Manhattan. "Marihuana" distribution and use/users chiefly were found throughout Harlem. Most contemporaneous marihuana abusers were Black, Latino or both. The substance was affordable, non-addictive and helped them mentally. Youth, cannabis and deliquency were unrelated. Cannabis was not a gateway drug. No crimes were specifically linked.

No one mafia or cartel distributed it. Anslinger's publicity about cannabis was groundless, and this unpredecented review disrupted FBN theories completely. LaGuardia even blamed propaganda like the film Reefer Madness, but Anslinger hounded him until the entire study was renounced. The FBN commissioner convinced the very association that rejected this Marihuana Tax Act—AMA—to follow suit (Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century, pg. 86).

So cannabis no longer existed in the pharmocological index for the U.S. after the Marihuana Tax Act. And it could not be analyzed beyond federal research anymore. Finally, hemp shifted in mass sentiment. The U.S. required its versatile material for rope and vessel-building during the Second World War. Contradictory messages like this would not be clarified by the federal government until the late 1960's when the MTA was overturned (Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, Appendix, Vol. 1, pg. 492).

President Roosevelt still elected Anslinger as international delegate to numerous European narcotics-focused conferences (The War On Drugs, pg. 5). It follows Roosevelt spheres of commercial influence within the Americas and Asia via narcotics, railroads, and shipping.

Enabling Anslinger's rhetoric for drug legislation paved the path for future devotees like Presidents Eisenhower and Truman, eventually Clinton. The Boggs Act and Narcotics Control Act amendment adopted an advanced aggression toward minimum punishment. Any repeat convictions, for example, could equal a two to ten-year prison term (Encyclopedia).

Today New York leads the nation in cannabis arrests, and over 80% of detainees are Black and/or Latino (Drug Policy Alliance). The legacy is still there.

LADY DAY - BILLIE'S HOLIDAY'S PERSECUTION BY ANSLINGER

Harry Anslinger never hid his bigotry well, as memos contained targeted hate speech about African-Americans and "jazzmen" in particular. Consequences affected non-white communities horrifically as well. Legislation immediately produced an uptake in federal inmate populations.

And Billie Holiday was a top priority in his "Marijuana and Musicians" files. Jazz was a drug scene that he advised to shoot first" (Politico). "We will have a great national round-up arrest of all such persons ("jazzmen") on a single day."

 This never led to much fanfare however since no one was willing to turn on each other, and paid mutual bail after drug raids. So Anslinger sent a fellow African-American agent to shadow Holiday for two years. Jimmy Fletcher turned Holiday in after their affair. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics stalked her until death. And all throughout this, Anslinger cited his unsourced statistics.

"The increase [in drug addiction] is practically 100% among Negro people. The Negro population accounts for 10% of the total population, but 60% of the addicts." (Politico)

Anslinger appointed a favored, notoriously sadistic agent after Fletcher: Colonel George White after her jail release. She had been apprehended in Harlem with liver cirrhosis and cardiac troubles from opiates. Bureau authorities arrested Holiday under duress. And they forcibly took her off the critical condition list to do so.

Col. White had a history of planting drugs on women, but the heroin in her hospital room went unquestioned. Protesters arrived to "Let Lady Live". Anslinger still refused her treatment to a rehabilitation clinic. Doctors administered Holiday methodone for better survival chances, until prohibited contact. Holiday was ready to give up.

"Imagine if the government chased sick people with diabetes, put a tax on insulin and drove it into the black market, told doctors they couldn't treat them, then sent them to jail...we do practically the same thing every day of the week to sick people hooked on drugs." (memoir)

Billie Holiday passed away while handcuffed to her hospital bed in 1957. And Anslinger would be quoted to jeer: "For her, there would be no more 'Good Morning Heartache'." His vision scarred America. This horrific climate has symbolically lingered on as the 'Strange Fruit' of Holiday's song--one that made her a target by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.


THE NEW DEAL'S FAILURE

The New Deal did not improve American economy. In fact, it significantly hindered any progress. And President Roosevelt's decision preceded the Depression due to government's refusal to address key factors. Manufacturing costs, higher tariffs during wartime, and inadequate public regulation all equally contributed. This oversight created the costliest programs in American history since Trump (Medium).


IMMIGRANT INTERNMENT

Executive Order 9066 - This mandatory military zoning provided federal justification for German, Italian and Japanese internment in the United States. Roosevelt's hasty move mirrored leadership today with ICE and the Border Patrol. He only waited for Senate's hour-long deliberation prior to Public Law 503.

The bill classified military order violations as both a misdemeanor, and fineable offense (a maximum of $5,000). Jail sentences could surpass a year. So 120,000 Japanese-Americans reluctantly filled the predesignated internment camps-for indefinite periods. FDR paralleled Nazi Germany.

But his prejudicial round-up also echoes former President Obama's mass detention era (ACLU). 56% of detainees were not criminally convicted on record 2009-2015 (HuffPost). 1945's internment program might have had similar statistics if such records emerged.


FURTHER READING AND SOURCES

How Profits From Opium Shaped 19th-Century Boston (WBUR, 7-31-17)

Disrupting the Myth of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Age of Trump, Sanders and Clinton (Truthout, 6-28-16)

Trading Freedom: How Commerce with China Defined Early America. (Dael Norwood, 2005)

The War on DrugsAn International Encyclopedia (Ron Chepesiuk, 1999)

Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, First Session ... May 14, 1975, Volume 2. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975)

The American Presidency Project - Presidential Documents Archive