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Friday, January 14, 2011

Henry Ford and the National Recovery Act

"He can take that Blue Eagle and stick it up his ass" - Henry Ford to Ernest Liebold in a conversation about Roosevelt's NIRA Program.

Henry Ford was opposed to charity, yet he ran what was possibly the biggest charity in the State of Michigan, maybe the country- the Henry Ford Hospital on Grand Blvd. in Detroit. This is yet another contradiction of the great mind of Henry Ford. He followed no rhyme or reason and certainly no pattern. He carried the banner of nobody. As you'll read below he certainly didn't carry the NRA banner!

As the Depression worsened in 1933, US President Franklin Roosevelt with his New Deal(IE Liberal Democrat) policies created the National Industrial Recovery Act in June of that year.

Brigadier General Hugh "Old Ironpants" Johnson was put in charge of the program and set about to pitch the program to the public and show it in a favorable light.

The same day that the NIRA act was signed into effect- June 16, 1933; Henry Ford made a statement to the press about it and he said "We know that the President wants to do the right and helpful thing" but was highly critical of people "whose particular genius is to try and run other people's businesses. The government has not any too rosy a record in running itself so far. I was always under the impression that to manage a business properly you ought to know something about it."

Needless to say this didn't sit too well with Old Ironpants Johnson, who had spent considerable times hyping up the NIRA and the liberal policies and tax breaks it would extend to manufacturing firms, Ford Motor Company included.

Ironpants Johnson tried in vain to get Ford to sign on, hoping by his signing on other automobile manufacturers would do likewise, however this was not to be. Arthur Brisbane, the famed Hearst columnist and Ford confidant agreed with Henry Ford that he had nothing to lose by not signing on with the NIRA.

Ford still held out and even Charles Edison, the son of inventor Thomas Edison tried to talk Ford into signing but he too was met with a firm "NO" after receiving Charles Edison's letter.

Henry Ford sent a letter to Edison, rumored to be composed & typed by Ford's mouthpiece, William Cameron and the language of the letter still showed a staunch disapproval of the act. "I have never bargained with my men, I have always bargained for them" and "the nation has never seen a stranger spectacle" and closing with " There is nothing in the law requiring a man to sign, only requirement is to obey"

Edison showed the letter to President Roosevelt who sharply criticized Ford as "being a damn fool and to call me on the phone as I'd be glad to talk to him"

The press ate this stuff up, and so did John Q. Public. Letters flooded into Ford's Dearborn office praising the actions of Henry Ford. "Henry Ford should be commended for his great Americanism he is displaying right now" wrote one. Another wrote "I hope you lick the hell out of the NRA" and yet another "Permit me to congratulate you upon your stand with the present damned  rotten administration"

While all this was going on, Pierre DuPont  was throwing a party in New York and Ford was invited. Why Ford even went to the party is beyond me, as if there was ANYONE in the world Ford hated- it was the DuPonts. I can't express the hatred Ford had for the DuPonts, it was that great.

At any rate Dupont got Ford over to the side at this party and told Henry Ford- "I want you to go along with us on the NRA, that Blue Eagle is my baby" Ford looked at DuPont for a second and said "that's all the more reason I don't want to have anything to do with it, like I told Roosevelt you can stick it your ass and I'll help you if need be"

This is but one example of the continued hatred Henry Ford had towards the US Government. In future posts we will dive into other examples of this, because here at Vintage Ford Facts we  may not give a popular view, but we give the facts.

If you'd like to read more about the National Industrial Recovery Act here are a couple of links:
Wikipedia Page on the NIRA
More information here...

I hope you enjoyed reading this. It's a condensed version of the events, but the purpose of Ford Facts is not to lay all the cards on the table, but rather to give you enough to get an idea if you want to know more about the topic at hand, while pertaining only to Ford material.