Chapter X
Disillusion: The New Deal (1933-1936)

The strains placed by the early depression years upon the conservative tradition seemed as nothing after the New Deal burst upon the American scene. James M. Beck opposed this new force with his accustomed vigor, principle, and determination. As a Congressman he waged eloquent warfare on the principles and legislation of the New Deal's first "Hundred Days." Declining to seek re-election in 1934 because of his conviction that Congress had become a "rubber stamp" of the Executive, he went on to fight the New Deal in private correspondence, on the lecture podium, and before the Supreme Court. He played a prominent role in the activity leading to the formation of the American Liberty League, and challenged the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission in major court litigation.

He died in April, 1936, when he was busily engaged in an attempt to obtain a truly conservative Republican candidate and platform for the fall election. Had he lived to see the November verdict, he would only have been strengthened in an underlying conviction that the fight for conservatism was, after all, a hopeless one. Indeed there was good cause to think that the creed to which he so passionately adhered had succumbed to the remorseless pressures of change in modern America.

-240-

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