ation of some 200,000 farmers who were imbued with a radicalrndistrust of the reigning ehtes and desperate to maintain theirrnwav of hfe against the rising tide of war and state-privileged industrialism.rnLindbergh chose the NPL as his vehicle of protest.rnhi a letter to Eva, C.A. brushed aside her concerns about hisrnnew relationship with the I.,eague and stood by his decision tornthrow his lot in with notorious radicals: “I am a radical becausernI oppose the few and stand for the masses.”rnAt a Minnesota NPL rally, Senator La Follctte answered arnheckler’s question abont the Lusitania by making the trenchantrnpoint that Wilson’s own secretary of state had implored the Presidentrnto stop Americans from setting foot on that doomed ship.rnTlic Minnesota Commission on Public Safety, created in Aprilrn1917 and armed with sweeping powers to stifle dissent, demandedrnLa Follette’s expulsion from the Senate, and NPLrnPresident Arthur Townley was hauled before a secret tribunalrnand questioned about the League’s activities. The NPL wasrnunder constant sim-cillance by state officials.rnIt was under these circimistances that Lindbergh acceptedrnthe nomination of the Non-Partisan League for governor.rnRepublican Gov. J.A. Burnquist declared that he would notrncampaign because war-time was no time for politics: hi Minnesota,rnhe declared, there were only two parhes, “loyalists andrndisloyalists.” hi reality, of course, Burnquist waged a very activerncampaign, addressing meetings of “loyalists” sponsored by thernCommission on Public Safety and prinhng campaign literaturernat taxpaers’ expense. I’he smear campaign launched by thernBurnquist camp and supported by the local and narional mediarnwas een more acrimonious and far more dangerous for C.A.rnthan a similar one woidd be for his famous aviator son when hernwas a leader of the anti-interventionist America First Committeernon the eve of World War II.rnThe concerted press attack on Lindbergh focused on hisrnbook, Whv Is Your Country At War? The book named names,rnfingering such lords of high finance as Morgan and Kulin-rnLoeb, kev members of the “inner circle” that had “adroitly maneuvered”rnthe coiuitr’ into war. The New York Times disdainedrnLindbergh as “a sort of Gopher Bolshevik” and equated withrntreason his “animus” against the plutocrats in that paper’srnhometown. During hearings before the Senate Military AffairsrnCommittee, warhawk Senators James A. Reed of Missouri andrn)ohn W. Weeks of Massachusetts read portions of Lindbergh’srnsearing indictment of “the intrigues of speculators” who hadrn”dragged us into the war,” hectoring the witness, NPL chiefrnTownley, on whether he agreed. The hysteria climaxed in therngoernnicnt seizure of the book and the destruction of thernplates bv government agents in the spring of 1918.rnThe demonization of Lindbergh in the press was the backdroprnof a vside-ranging campaign of government repression directedrnat his gubernatorial campaign: The Public Safety gangsrnand anti-League judges banned NPL meetings in 19 counties.rnNPL organizers were arrested, and a reign of terror was unleashedrnon the membership. Subjected to a torrent of personalrnabuse on the campaign trail—run out of town, pelted with rottenrneggs, hanged in effig)’, and prevented from speaking in Dulutlirnand towns throughout the state —Lindbergh did not relent.rnAddressing an audience of 10,000 farmers at Osakis, he declaredrnthat the war profiteers were “the real disloyalists,” forrn”even the pro-German in our midst is actuated by a mistakenrnsenhment for his fatherland, but these scoundrels, who stab ourrnbos in the back, are moved by selfishness alone.” Campaigningrnwith Rep. John Baer in Rock Count}’, near the South Dakotarnand Iowa borders, Lindbergh and his campaign caravan werernshowered bv a volley of shotgun blasts, aimed first into the airrnand then at the car. As the car pulled away, Baer scrambled tornthe floor, but Lindbergh sat up straight as an arrow and told therndriver, “Don’t drive so fast. Gunny, they will think we arernscared.”rnNine days before the elechon, Lindbergh was arrested inrnMartin Count)’ on a charge of “conspiracy” for conducting anrnelection meeting. One hundred “volunteer guards” had beenrnmobilized by state authorities, and they seized Lindbergh andrnhauled him into court. He was briefly detained, and therncharges were quicklv dropped, but the intent of the Burnquistrnforces to criminalize the opposition had all but succeeded.rnBurnquist’s victor’ at the polls—199,525 votes to Lindbergh’srn150,626—did not put an end to the controvers. The aftermathrnof the election proved nearly as stormy as the campaign.rnThrough the intervenhon of George Creel, a friend of thernProgressi’es in the administration, Lindbergh was appointed torna seat on the War Industries Board. A national uproar ensued,rnand the chorus of outrage was echoed in a Minneapolis Tribunernheadline: “Capital Stunned Over Mystcr’ of Lindbergh Berth.”rnThe intellectual vigilantes of war-dme America made shortrnwork of Lindbergh’s naive belief that he could serve with honorrnin the war effort—just as they would scotch a similar attempt byrnhis son to secure a military commission after Pearl Harbor.rnLindbergh’s political activities now revolved around thernnascent Farmer-Labor Party, not onlv as a candidate but as arnpart’ ofRcer and theoretician. He started a new journalistic venture,rnLindbergh’s National Farmer, and came out with a book.rnThe Economic Pinch, in which he developed the themes thatrnhad been the leitmotiv of his political career: flic evil of therntrusts, the privileged status of the banks, and the responsibilit}’ ofrnthe plutocraev for ftie war. Society could be divided into fourrnclasses: farmers, wage workers, entrepreneurs, and “profiteers.”rnThe first three were useful and necessary to the workings of thernnational economy; the fourth was a parasite tiiat lived by exploitingrnthe others. In comparing our own plutocrats to the Europeanrnaristocrats of the last century, Lindbergh warned that thernMorgans could meet the same fate as the Bourbons.rnA campaign for his old congressional seat went down to defeat,rnand yet anotiier gubernatorial campaign ended when hernsuddenly fell ill and had to withdraw. Diagnosed with an inoperablernbrain tumor, he died on May 24, 1924.rnC.A. Lindbergh understood who were the bad guys, and hernwas not afraid to name names. He saw through the illusion ofrnAmerican capitalism as a free, competitive system: He viewed itrnas a rigged game in which a few insiders load the dice andrnamend the rules at their pleasure. With a kind of X-ray vision,rnhe homed in on the central scam of modern times, the FederalrnReser’e System, and recognized that the consolidation of centralrnbanking would mean the ultimate triumph of plutocracyrnover liberh’ and the defeat of the agrarian Midwest at the handsrnof Eastern cosmopolites. American freemen would become industrialrnsla’es. He saw, too, that this private consortium ofrnbankers, vested witii the power to control the money supply, wasrna mighty financial machine perfectly designed to wage war.rnLindbergh knew what he was up against, but as he wrote tornhis daughter after his arrest as a seditionist, “this thing is biggerrnthan anyone’s life, and I am not so cowardly as to be afraid forrnnivself”rnNOVEMBER 1999/17rnrnrn