J. William Fulbright

"The tone and tendency of liberalism...is to attack the institutions of the country under the name of reform and to make war on the manners and customs of the people under the pretext of progress."
- - - Benjamin Disraeli, Speech In London, June 24, 1872

J. William Fulbright was born on April 9, 1905 in Sumner, Missouri, son of Roberta Waugh and Jay Fulbright. He married Elizabeth Williams. He is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas(A.B., 1925), Oxford University where he was a Rhodes scholar(B.A., 1928; M.A., 1931), and George Washington University(LL.B., 1934).

In 1934, Fulbright was admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C. and became an attorney in the anti-trust division of the Justice Department. He moved onto the staff of the National Recovery Administration but when the NRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Fulbright was out of a job. He stayed in Washington for another year, lecturing on law at George Washington University.

From 1936 until 1939, Fulbright was a lecturer in law at the University of Arkansas and, from 1939 until 1941, he was president of the University. But then he was fired from that position by Governor Homer M. Adkins. For a short time, thereafter, Fulbright devoted most of his energies to the lumber business.

In 1942, Fulbright was elected to the House of Representatives, where he served one term. His two years in the House were distinguished by his vote against the continuance of the Special Committee on Un-American Activities(the Dies Committee). Fulbright said that the investigation of Communists in government or anywhere else was "unnecessary and moreover was not in the interests of maintaining good relations with our allies[the Soviet Union]." Also, as a freshman Representative, Fulbright succeeded in having the House adopt its first one-world resolution - the Fulbright Resolution by which the House went on record as favoring "the creation of appropriate international machinery, with power adequate to establish and maintain a just and lasting peace among the nations of the world, and [favoring] the participation of the United States...through its constitutional processes." The Senate followed the House in adopting the Resolution. All of this in advance of the creation, and America's membership, in the United Nations.

When some congressmen suspected that the Fulbright Resolution could lead to a sell-out of American sovereignty, Fulbright began a career of invective against patriotic Americans: "The professional patriots beat their breasts and wave the flag and shout 'sovereignty,' hoping thereby to frighten us like sheep, into the corral of isolationism. In the minds of many, the word 'sovereignty' has some mystical connotation in some way associated with divinity." Fulbright's demagoguery and sound-bytes played as well then as they do today.

Fulbright's stand against the investigation of Communists and his flair for internationalism made him the darling of the left and, since 1943, the Mahatma of American socialists and internationalists. Walter Lippmann had been Fulbright's tireless cheerleader.

In 1944, Fulbright did not run for re-election to the House but chose to run for the Senate. He was elected and re-elected three times. Two months after he took his seat in the Senate, Fulbright made his maiden speech and introduced what became some of his favorite themes. He castigated those Americans who were anxious to preserve American sovereignty. According to Fulbright, such Americans were confused. They should be ready to sacrifice sovereignty and other of their "most cherished prejudices," in the interest of internationalism - a policy which would demonstrate "respect and consideration for a valiant ally[the Soviet Union] in peace as well as war."

Before Fulbright had completed his first year as a Senator, he established himself as one of that body's most fervent apologists for Soviet Dictator Stalin and his regime. Said Fulbright, in one of his most apolgetic moments: "The Russian experiment{sic} in socialism is scarcely more radical for modern times than was the American Declaration of Independence in the days of George III."

Added to Fulbright's pro-Communist, pro-internationalist, anti-patriot rantings were his fulminations against the Constitution of the United States. Here Fulbright's Rhodes scholar heritage shone through as he stumped for a parliamentary system of government, modelled on Mother England's, to replace the American system. When both houses of Congress were held by Republican majorities in 1946, Fulbright went so far as to urge Democratic President Truman to resign since that is what a British Prime Minister would do in a similar situation.

Fulbright's contempt for the Constitution, which he had sworn "to support and defend," was never better demonstrated than in a speech he delivered to a Stanford University conference in 1961. Said Fulbright on that occasion:

"The President is hobbled in his task of leading the American people to consensus and concerted action by the restrictions of power imposed on him by a constitutional system designed for an 18th century agrarian society far removed from the centers of world power.

"It is imperative that we break out of the intellectual confines of cherished and traditional beliefs and open our minds to the possibility that basic changes in our system may be essential to meet the requirements of the 20th century....

"He [the President] alone, among elected officials can rise above parochialism and private pressures. He alone, in his role as teacher and moral leader, can hope to overcome the excesses and inadequacies of a public opinion that is all too often ignorant of the needs, the dangers, and the opportunities in our foreign relations....

"Public opinion must be educated and led if it is to bolster wise and effective national policies. Only the president can provide the guidance that is necessary, while legislators display a distressing tendency to adhere slavishly to the dictates of public opinion....

"I do not know if the American people can be aroused in time from their current apathy and indifference and educated to the necessity for challenging tasks and policies that break sharply with the tradtions of our past."

It was also in 1961 that Fulbright issued his infamous Memorandum which was designed to prevent military and naval officers from making public statements against Communism. Fulbright's excuse was his opinion that most military officers had neither the education, training, nor experience to make balanced judgements on the Communist menace nor the proper methods to combat it. Evidently, Fulbright discounted common sense and love of country as adequate fortifications to reject his internationalism and submission to servitude. But behind Fulbright's excuse was his fanatical hostility toward anti-Communists, genuine Americans. Fulbright's public ravings have been larded for a quarter of a century with his references to "super-patriots," and, the most accursed, the "radical right extremists."

Fulbright's longevity in the Senate brought him to the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he took advantage of his position to push hard for appeasement with the Soviet Union, recognition for Red China, and, for abject withdrawal of the United States from Vietnam. So obvious was Fulbright's pro-Communist position that, in January 1968, the Communist newspaper Izvestia in Moscow announced that it would translate and publish Fulbright's book The Arrogance of Power, a bitter critque of an anti-Communist American foreign policy and a plea for accomodation with the Communists.

J. William Fulbright would, indeed, be very pleased with his protege of today, William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States of America, who is equally as contemptious of the American people, and disdainful of their Constitution.

More Sketches:

Building Enemies|ACLU|IPS|CNSS|Rhodes|AFSC|CDI|FOR|NLG|FRB|Teacher Unions

Return Arrow

Return to Charleston Voice