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McFadden calls for end to Jim Crow at House restaurant: 1934 | by Washington Area Spark
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McFadden calls for end to Jim Crow at House restaurant: 1934

Louis Thomas McFadden (left) was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, serving from 1915 to 1935 and is shown in a March 3, 1924 photograph.


A banker by trade, he was an opponent of the Federal Reserve System and was the chief sponsor of the 1927 McFadden Act, which limited nationally-chartered banks to only open branch banks within the state in which the main branch was situated.


He was perhaps better known as an anti-Semite and perhaps as a bit unhinged.


On June 10, 1932, McFadden made a 25-minute speech before the House of Representatives, in which he accused the Federal Reserve of deliberately causing the Great Depression. McFadden also claimed that Wall Street bankers funded the Bolshevik Revolution through the Federal Reserve banks and the European central banks with which it cooperated.


After the expulsion from Washington D.C. of the veteran petitioners of the Bonus Army, which he called "the greatest crime in modern history", McFadden moved to impeach President Herbert Hoover in 1932.


The impeachment resolution was defeated by a vote of 361 to 8; it was seen as a big vote of confidence to President Hoover from the House. According to Time magazine McFadden was “denounced and condemned by all Republicans for his ‘contemptible gesture’."


The Central Press Association reported that he was "virtually read out of his party ... [had] his committee posts ... taken away from him…was ostracized by Republicans [and] called crazy. Sen. David A. Reed (R-PA) said “We intend to act to all practical purposes as though McFadden had died.”



In 1934, he made several anti-Semitic comments from the floor of the house and in newsletters to his constituents wherein he cited the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, claimed the Roosevelt administration was controlled by Jews, and objected to Henry Morgenthau, Jr. becoming Secretary of the Treasury because of his Jewish heritage.


Drew Pearson claimed in his "Washington Merry-Go-Round" column that, in a publication by the American fascist Silver Shirts, McFadden had been "extensively" quoted "in support of Adolf Hitler". In September the Nazi tabloid Der Stuermer praised McFadden. He was also lauded by the publications of William Dudley Pelley, leader of the Silver Shirts, on several occasions.


He was an odd choice for Oscar DePriest to recommend to Speaker Henry Rainey for a committee investigating Jim Crow in the Capitol restaurants.


Nevertheless he supported DePriest’s position that Jim Crow should be ended and the public House restaurant opened to all.


McFadden lost his bid for re-election in the fall of 1934.


For a detailed blog post on the fight against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol restaurants, see


For related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is a National Photo Company photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-npcc-25417 (digital file from original)

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Taken on March 3, 1924