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Favorable or Unfavorable #48: Francis Biddle


Favorable or Unfavorable #48: Francis Biddle  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #48: Francis Biddle

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Francis Biddle of PA is of a political dynasty that was significant from Revolution until Jackson. In fact, the president of the US bank during Jackson's Bank War was a Biddle. After that, you have some Biddle admirals, but you don't have a politician Biddle until this one. 

His actions:

Biddle, Francis 1941 Confirmed Att Gen for FDR, serving through WWII
Biddle, Francis 1941 Begins using Espionage Act and Smith Act to prosecute left-wing activists and organizations
Biddle, Francis 1942 Ordered first federal investigation into civil rights case (lynching of Cleo wright)
Biddle, Francis 1943 Only high-ranking FDR official opposed to Japanese internment camps; failed in attempt to close them
Biddle, Francis 1945 Compelled by Truman to resign; sent as judge to Nuremberg
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I like everything he did except for prosecuting left-wing groups, obviously since I probably would align partially with some of those groups, but I think the bulk of what he did was good. Most of the groups he went after were Socialist and Communist activists and organization who opposed the war effort. It's almost enough for me to ignore everything else Biddle did that was good. He's saved by being the one FDR Admin official to oppose the internment camps and for using the executive branch to investigate civil rights within the states. That's huge. 

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The Espionage Act could be bad too, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about its uses during World War II to really comment. Obviously it was used to lock up political opponents during WWI, but it was used for some good during the Cold War and recently with drumpf. So it would really depend on whether Biddle was using it to lock up political opponents or actual spies.

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