Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 28, 1932: tanks deployed in Washington, DC

An AP story, titled Report: Bush mulled sending troops into Buffalo, concerning proposed actions related to what would become the Lackawanna Six, concludes with the text:

Scott L. Silliman, a Duke University law professor specializing in national security law, told the Times that a U.S. president had not deployed the active-duty military on domestic soil in a law enforcement capacity, without specific statutory authority, since the Civil War.

One recalls the use of the US Army in Washington, DC on July 28, 1932. From -->

During the same summer [1932], 25,000 World War I (1914–1918) veterans, led by former sergeant Walter W. Waters, staged the Bonus March on Washington, DC, to demand immediate payment of a bonus due to them in 1945. They stood passively on the Capitol steps while Congress voted it down. After a riot with police, Hoover ordered the U.S. Army to clean the veterans out of their shanty-town, for fear they would breed a revolution.

[In passing, the link also includes: In 1932, a crowd of 50 men fought for a barrel of garbage outside the back door of a Chicago restaurant. ]

The americanheritage website gives more details:

And, in fact, the troops had been called out by the President at the written request of the District commissioners before the two bonus marchers had been killed. They were under the direct command of Brigadier General Perry Miles, but General MacArthur, accompanied by Major General George Van Horn Moseley, his deputy Chief of Staff, personally took the field. (Contemporary accounts virtually ignore the Army’s liaison man with the police department, an amiable West Pointer named Dwight Eisenhower.) A cavalry squadron, an infantry battalion, and a platoon of tanks were to participate in the operation—General MacArthur explained in his official report that in dealing with “riotous elements” a display of “obvious strength gains a moral ascendancy.”

The bonus marchers read in the early editions of the afternoon papers that the troops had been summoned. For nearly three hours they waited in the summer sun, some taking front-row seats in windows of the partly wrecked buildings to be evacuated, others napping in the shade of Pennsylvania Avenue’s sycamores or hawking the B.E.F. newspaper to the gathering crowd of women shoppers, civil servants, and curious passers-by. Street vendors bobbed up with cold lemonade and frozen puddings. As the Star reported next day, “It might have been a crowd at a country fair.”

At 4:45 P.M. [July 28, 1932] four troops of cavalry appeared, sabers raised, with six tanks lumbering behind them, their machine guns hooded. Infantrymen in steel helmets, with blue tear-gas bombs dangling from their belts and bayonets drawn, trotted on the double behind the tanks. The crowd, still in a carnival mood, set up a loud cheer that was echoed from the windows of the old red-brick hulks packed with veterans. “No one in the crowd, any more than the veterans from their high perches, seemed disposed to take the cavalry seriously,” the Star reported. The cavalry might well have been riding to the rescue of an embattled wagon train. Laughter and applause greeted an anonymous wag in one of the tanks who thrust a wire through an opening in the armor and waved a white handkerchief.

In the shadow of the Capitol the cavalry deployed along the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue, the infantry column along the south side. “As the soldiers approached more closely, a few brickbats, stones and clubs were thrown,” according to the official report, but Thomas L. Stokes of the United Press saw no evidence of resistance, nor did his colleague Paul Y. Anderson, who heard a command and saw the cavalry charge the crowd with drawn sabers: “Men, women and children fled shrieking across the broken ground, falling into excavations as they strove to avoid the rearing hoofs and saber points. Meantime, infantry on the south side had adjusted gas masks and were hurling tear gas bombs into the block into which they had just driven the veterans.”

***Scott Silliman is a Professor of the Practice of Law, as well as Executive Director of Duke's Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security. He teaches national security law not only at Duke, but also in adjunct status at the University of North Carolina and at North Carolina Central University. He is the author of the law review article Teaching National Security Law, 1 J. Nat'l Security L. & Pol'y 161

The oldest case cited in the 2005 law review involves the Curtiss-Wright company (yes, going back to Glenn and Wilbur and Orville), delegation of powers and sets the facts:

On January 27, 1936, an indictment was returned in the court below, the first count of which charges that appellees, beginning with the 29th day of May, 1934, conspired to sell in the United States certain arms of war, namely fifteen machine guns, to Bolivia, a country then engaged in armed conflict in the Chaco, in violation of the Joint Resolution of Congress approved May 28, 1934, and the provisions of a proclamation issued on the same day by the President of the United States pursuant to authority conferred by § 1 of the resolution. In pursuance of the conspiracy, the commission of certain overt acts was alleged, details of which need not be stated. See US v. Curtiss-Wright, 299 U.S. 304; 57 S. Ct. 216; 81 L. Ed. 255; 1936 U.S. LEXIS 968

And yes, the topic of intellectual property arises in the case:

In Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 57, the constitutionality of R. S. § 4952, conferring upon the author, inventor, designer or proprietor of a photograph certain rights, was involved. Mr. Justice Miller, speaking for the court, disposed of the point by saying: "The construction placed upon the Constitution by the first act of 1790, and the act of 1802, by the men who were contemporary with its formation, many of whom were members of the convention which framed it, is of itself entitled to very great weight, and when it is remembered that the rights thus established have not been disputed during a period of nearly a century, it is almost conclusive."

***US Army troops, under famed Civil War general John Gibbon, were deployed in Seattle, Washington during the Anti-Chinese riots of 1886. Ten years earlier, Gibbon was involved in a coordinated attack against the Sioux, which ended badly for George Armstrong Custer.

***Whiskey rebellion

In 1794, President Washington called up state militia to combat citizens of the State of Pennysylvania.
From wikipedia: The militia force of 12,950 men was organized, roughly the size of the entire army in the Revolutionary War. Under the personal command of Washington, Hamilton, and Revolutionary War hero General Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee, the army assembled in Harrisburg and marched to Bedford, Pennsylvania the site of Washington's headquarters, then on to western Pennsylvania (to what is now Monongahela) in October of 1794.

**Thirteen years later on July 28, 1945:

A U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City's Empire State Building. 14 people were killed and 26 were injured.


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