Jouett Shouse (1879-1968)

By Richard Sanders, Editor, Press for Conversion!

Shouse was a key founder and the spokesman for the American Liberty League, he was on its Initiating Executive Committee and its president (1934-1938).

Shouse worked his way up from newspapers, to railways, to banking, to state and federal politics. From the top position in the Democratic Party’s executive committee, he stepped into the presidency of America’s top fascist group, the American Liberty League. His career began at the Lexington Herald, where he worked as editor (1898-1904). He stayed in the news business until 1911 and was the Lexington Chamber of Commerce secretary. He then become vice president and treasurer of the Kansas, Mexico & Orient Railroad and Kinsley Bank director (1911-1913). He became a Democratic State Senator in Kansas (1913-1915) and then represented Kansas in Congress (1915-1919) and was President Wilson’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1919-1920).

In 1928, former GM director and du Pont lawyer, John Raskob, became chair of the Democratic National Executive Committee and led Al Smith’s failed bid for U.S. president. Raskob ensured that his protégé, Shouse, became executive director of the Democrat’s top committee (1929-1932). Like Raskob, Shouse used his party position to oppose prohibition. Roosevelt never liked their fanatical efforts which had almost torn the party apart. Shouse left his top party post and became president of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA), 1932-1933.

In early 1934, Raskob and Shouse created the American Liberty League, drawing on wealthy AAPA contacts who strongly opposed FDR’s “New Deal.” By the spring, Shouse met with FDR to discuss the League’s imminent launch. Shouse feigned support for FDR, who feigned support for the League. A week later, at a media conference in his National Press Building office in Washington, Shouse announced the League’s birth. He proclaimed that it would be a mass movement uniting “several millions of people from all walks of life.” He said it had “no covert purposes,” was not “antagonistic to the administration” or “anti-Roosevelt,” but wished to protect “property and constitutional rights.” He said “if a tendency towards extreme radicalism developed... we might be most helpful with our organization in which we expect to enlist 2,000,000 to 3,000,000.” The next day, J.P. Morgan’s paper The New York Times kindly reprinted the League’s statement (written by Shouse and Raskob). FDR’s responded that the League preached “’love thy God but forget thy neighbor,’ and God in this case appeared to be property.’” This was the start of battles between the League and the White House.

Shouse eventually went back to practicing law and later, in 1953, he chaired the board of Anton Smit and Co. This company continues to make industrial cutting tools with diamonds and is now a Division of Diamond Productions, one of the largest such U.S.-owned companies.


The Jouett Shouse Collection

Miscellaneous Catalogs

Anton Smit

Source: Press for Conversion! magazine, Issue # 53, "Facing the Corporate Roots of American Fascism," March 2004. Published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

Order a Copy: Order a hard copy of this 54-page issue of Press for Conversion! on the fascist plot to overthrow President F.D.Roosevelt and the corporate leaders who planned and financed this failed coup.