Abstract

This article explores the ideology of the leaders of the Farmers’ Independence Council of America (FIC) in order to understand why they created a conservative front group. FIC leaders Stanley Morse, Dan Casement, and Kurt Grunwald admired big business, favored limited government, and wanted to increase farm efficiency. The FIC leaders viewed the farmer romantically as the conservator of American values but also as an easily swayed member of mass society. Their loss of faith in the American farmer inspired them to take an end-justifies-the-means approach to political suasion. They formed the FIC to counter the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which they labeled as communist. After the FIC disbanded in 1936, some of its leaders tried to carry on its goals by forming a secret central committee for the nation’s conservative groups. Stanley Morse initiated the effort by attempting to unite two farm groups with different policy goals—the Associated Farmers of California and the Corn Belt Liberty League—under the broader umbrella of anti-communism. Though this effort failed, FIC leaders eagerly served the interests of big business, even at the risk of being labeled a front group, if it furthered their conservative ideas.

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