Marginal Concerns: Lynching,
Massie, Pardons, Lindbergh,
and Bonus Army
The fears in the hearts of millions of mothers were lifted.1
Between their first days in office and their last, all presidents encounter marginal concerns, all of which take them away from priorities or detract from their positive historical legacies. Accordingly, presidents tend to avoid or delegate marginal concerns in the natural interest of time management or personal or political lack of interest. Of course, there are costs to avoiding marginal concerns, but they are not usually recognized in advance.
This chapter is devoted to five marginal events affecting Hoover's federal justice initiatives: lynchings of blacks, the Massie murder case, pardon requests in controversial cases, the Lindbergh kidnapping case, and the Bonus Army disturbance. The conceptual substance of these events was represented in Hoover's scheme of federal justice administration. But conditions of occurrence or challenges they posed to the philosophy of the policy agenda relegated each to marginal status.
Hoover was in a better-than-average position of the presidents after Lincoln to have opposed lynchings, particularly lynchings of blacks. His attachment to progressive social reforms, his candor in