United States and American History: 1935

About the history of the United States in 1935, Sinclair Lewis writer It Can't Happen Here, the Wagner Act allows collective bargaining, Huey Long assassinated and the CIO formed.


--The largest salary earned during the year was that of William Randolph Hearst; the 2nd largest was Mae West's.

--Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, a novel about the coming of Fascism to America, was a best seller. Lewis's Fascist leader was Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, the "Professional Common Man." The embodiment of American democracy (ultimately defeated in the book) was Doremus Jessup, editor of a small-town Vermont newspaper. "In the humorous, friendly, happy-go-lucky land of Mark Twain," wrote Lewis, "Doremus saw the homicidal maniacs having just as good a time as they had had in central Europe."

July 6 The Wagner Act, guaranteeing the worker's right to collective bargaining, became law.

Sept. 8 Huey Long, the dictatorial, populist governor of Louisiana, was assassinated in the marble corridor of the State capitol. Long's most memorable statement was: "If Fascism came to America it would be on a program of Americanism." (See also: Assassinations, Chap. 9.)

Sept. 24 Joe Louis knocked out former heavy-weight champion Max Baer. Thousands of blacks listening to the fight on the radio poured into the streets in spontaneous celebration. Richard Wright, writing in New Masses magazine, described the scene he witnessed on Chicago's South Side: "It was a feeling of unity, of oneness...a fluid mass of joy.....Here's the real dynamite that Joe Louis uncovered."

Oct. 10 George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess opened in New York.

Oct. 18 The American Federation of Labor refused to recognize industrial unions as an appropriate form of labor organization. John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, left the AFL after landing a powerful right cross on the jaw of William Hutcheson, president of the Carpenters and an opponent of industrial unionism. He struck his blow in full view of all attending the AFL convention. In less than a month's time, the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) was formed with Lewis at its head.

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