The course of the U.S.S. Brooklyn

The course of the U.S.S. Brooklyn

The course of the U.S.S. Brooklyn

The course of the U.S.S. Brooklyn in the passage of the forts below New Orleans

Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: II: North to Antietam , p.62


The entry of the United States into World War II caused vast changes in virtually every aspect of American life. Millions of men and women entered military service and saw parts of the world they would likely never have seen otherwise. The labor demands of war industries caused millions more Americans to move--largely to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts where most defense plants located. When World War II ended, the United States was in better economic condition than any other country in the world. Even the 300,000 combat deaths suffered by Americans paled in comparison to any other major belligerent.

Building on the economic base left after the war, American society became more affluent in the postwar years than most Americans could have imagined in their wildest dreams before or during the war. Public policy, like the so-called GI Bill of Rights passed in 1944, provided money for veterans to attend college, to purchase homes, and to buy farms. The overall impact of such public policies was almost incalculable, but it certainly aided returning veterans to better themselves and to begin forming families and having children in unprecedented numbers.

Not all Americans participated equally in these expanding life opportunities and in the growing economic prosperity. The image and reality of overall economic prosperity--and the upward mobility it provided for many white Americans--was not lost on those who had largely been excluded from the full meaning of the American Dream, both before and after the war. As a consequence, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American women became more aggressive in trying to win their full freedoms and civil rights as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution during the postwar era.

The postwar world also presented Americans with a number of problems and issues. Flushed with their success against Germany and Japan in 1945, most Americans initially viewed their place in the postwar world with optimism and confidence. But within two years of the end of the war, new challenges and perceived threats had arisen to erode that confidence. By 1948, a new form of international tension had emerged--Cold War--between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies. In the next 20 years, the Cold War spawned many tensions between the two superpowers abroad and fears of Communist subversion gripped domestic politics at home.

In the twenty years following 1945, there was a broad political consensus concerning the Cold War and anti-Communism. Usually there was bipartisan support for most US foreign policy initiatives. After the United States intervened militarily in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, however, this political consensus began to break down. By 1968, strident debate among American about the Vietnam War signified that the Cold War consensus had shattered, perhaps beyond repair.

The lead submarine tender (USS Emory S. Land AS-39)

The USS Emory S. Land provides supplies and services for U.S. military submarines. When a submarine requires repair, there are machine shops and spare parts stored on the large vessel to take care of the problem. The USS Emory S. Land AS-39 also provides medical, dental, and mail distribution services out at sea.

Image by U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Smedegard/Wikimedia

The &ldquotireless worker of the sea,&rdquo she was first launched in 1977, calling many ports all over the world her home. Since 2015, she&rsquos been based out of Guam. Since she was commissioned in 1979, the USS Emory S. Land AS-39 has earned four Meritorious Unit Commendations.

Who Should Decide How Students Learn About America’s Past?

Some politicians want to get rid of the AP U.S.-history curriculum because it paints a cynical picture of the country's backstory.

My 5-year-old son won’t learn the same history in high school that I did when I was a teenager. Certain events that I was tested on will probably be entirely omitted from his history curriculum. New details, observations, and commentary—sometimes subtle, often not—will be added to his textbooks with the benefit of more time, scholarship, and perspective. To borrow the words of History in the Making author Kyle Ward, social movements that were once relegated to a brief paragraph or two, like that of LGBT rights, may "explode into pages of new information."

History is written by the winners, the saying goes. Credited to a "cynic," the axiom first appeared in The Boston Herald in 1929, according to Fred Shapiro, author of the Yale Book of Quotations. Indeed, it’s disheartening to think that champions get to write the official story—especially when that story involves a national biography, in which patriotism can collide with flawed historical realities. In a 2002 article for the Smithsonian magazine, the American historian Stephen Ambrose once asked, "To what degree do the attitudes of Washington and Jefferson toward slavery diminish their achievements?" It’s a question I don’t remember addressing in high school. Much of the research about the founding fathers and slavery, including Ambrose’s article, had yet to be published. The scientific journal didn’t report on the DNA results linking Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings until four years after I graduated.

Conflicts about how to teach children American history began almost as early as the subject itself. This school year, the fury is over the new U.S. History Advanced Placement course—in particular, whether its perspective is overly cynical about the country’s past. The controversy raises significant questions about the role of revisionism in education: How should students learn about oppression and exploitation alongside the great achievements of their country? And who decides which events become part of the national narrative as more information comes to light?

Nowhere is the tension between revision and respect for historical figures and events more apparent than it is in classroom curricula. School boards and state legislatures have great influence over what and how children are taught—as do historians. However, the media and lawmakers often reduce revisionism to two poles: a liberal left that pursues an overly "negative" reinterpretation of U.S. history versus a conservative right that just wants students to memorize a list of names and facts—and "smudge out the ugly parts."

But biases have come from across the political spectrum and have worked their way into history instruction for every generation, Ward shows. In his research, Ward has compared U.S. textbooks from different eras and has found both biases of exclusion—whether an event is discussed in the first place—and biases of description, or how the event is portrayed to students. Coverage of the feminist movement exemplifies how modern textbooks have evolved. In contrast to earlier decades, the story of women’s rights had by the 1990s expanded "exponentially," with debates around stereotyped occupations and gender roles being featured on television. At the same time, history, as Ambrose wrote, abounds with ironies and contradictions. The challenge is to teach high-school students the critical-thinking skills that allow them to recognize the biases in their textbooks and to appreciate the troubling paradoxes of America’s past.

Oklahoma is the latest battleground over history instruction and the role schools play in teaching students about conflict and oppression. A group of state lawmakers objected to the revised 125-page Advanced Placement U.S.-history guidelines, which were implemented this past school year and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit that oversees the national AP program. So, last week, Republican state Rep. Dan Fisher introduced a bill directing the Board of Education to adopt a new U.S. history program starting this upcoming fall. Though Fisher has since backed off from the proposal, his bill would have required Oklahoma schools to teach certain "documents"—including the Ten Commandments and the Magna Carta—in lieu of the current AP materials.

Part of this controversy centers on the role of Christianity in the founding of the U.S. And though the Magna Carta granted rights to a group of 13th-century English barons and is widely acknowledged to have inspired American revolutionaries centuries later, it’s debatable whether teaching it to students makes sense for an AP U.S. history course. In fact, I read it for my 10th-grade British-history class. Meanwhile, it's less clear how the Ten Commandments would fit into a strictly American history curriculum. Advocates seem to justify their inclusion in the learning materials with personal beliefs rather than specific instructional benefits. It’s worth noting that, as Tulsa World has reported, Fisher is a member of "the Black Robe Regiment," an organization that pushes for Christian-based governance he’s given public presentations about the role of ministers in the country’s birth while wearing an 18th-century pastor’s robe. But Fisher’s interpretation of U.S. history explains why the issue is so controversial even among historians there is plenty of discussion about how to characterize the religious beliefs and practices of the country’s founding fathers.

Fisher’s proposed legislation would have cut funding for any AP U.S.-history program in Oklahoma until the new conditions were met. In an interview with CNN, Fisher reasoned that there is a "pretty strong leaning" in the latest AP guidelines toward everything that is "wrong in America." And according to Tulsa World, he criticized the new curriculum because it doesn’t teach "American exceptionalism." The measure passed a committee hearing last Monday with an 11-4 bipartisan vote, but by Wednesday—after receiving a barrage of national scrutiny—Fisher made a hasty retreat, reportedly clarifying that he supports the AP program and intends to "fix the bill."

The sudden détente suggests his bill was little more than partisan politics. The controversy, however, is far from resolved. Oklahoma is one of several states somehow opposing the College Board’s new outline.

Fisher joins a slew of politicians and education policymakers who oppose the current AP U.S.-history guidelines. The Republican National Committee condemned the new framework back in August, criticizing the guidelines for emphasizing negative aspects of U.S. history and minimizing, if not ignoring, the positive. The committee argued, for example, that the College Board presents an inaccurate view of the motivations of 17th- to 19th-century settlers and American involvement in World War II. And last fall, the school board in Jefferson County, Colorado, announced plans for a curriculum-review committee aimed at ensuring AP U.S.-history materials "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights." Students protested the initiative, walking out of class and forcing four school shutdowns in the Denver area. Similar events also unfolded in Texas around the same time. And lawmakers in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have also threatened to cut funding for the AP program or otherwise reject the new course materials. For its part, the College Board responded to the criticism in an open letter, apologizing for some of the new framework’s omissions and any confusion it caused it also clarified that teachers should teach about the country’s founding documents, the Holocaust, and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

How should Americans remember the Civil War? How should they remember the founding fathers? These are perennial issues that will continue to inspire debate, according to Thomas Donnelly, counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center. "We frequently look at history textbooks as the impromada of the American truth," said Donnelly, who in 2009 published an article in the Yale Law Journal analyzing the ways in which widely used high-school textbooks teach students about constitutional debates. Donnelly concluded that the texts reinforce a culture of extreme deference to the Supreme Court, limiting mentions of popular resistance and institutional checks like judicial impeachment and "court-packing."

The USS Brooklyn during the great war

The Brooklyn was taken after the battle in the Schley/Sampson controversy over credits of the battle. The American cruiser returned to Tompkinsville, New York on 20 August. She operated along the Atlantic coast and the Caribbean and participated in the Dewey Celebration at New York the next year. She sailed via the Suez Canal to Manila and became flagship of the Asiatic Squadron.

She took part in the US intervention in China until October 1900 and made a cruise from the Dutch East Indies to Australia and New Zealand and returned to the philippines until 1902 and back to New York Navy Yard. By 1902 she was back in Cuba, and the next year she participated in the intervention in Syria (September-October 1903) and in Djibouti the next year. She was back to New York in 1905, became flagship of Rear Admiral Charles Dwight Sigsbee and then sailed to Cherbourg, France, to carry the remains of the late John Paul Jones back to America, Annapolis.

Closeup of the 8-in turret dismantled in 1921.

She made a naval militia cruise and a tour of the Mediterranean until May 1906. USS Brooklyn was placed when back home, into reserve at the League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia in May 1906. From April to December 1907 she was displayed at the Jamestown Exposition, Virginia. She was recommissioned on 2 March 1914 and assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

A receiving ship at Boston Navy Yard she went to full commission at Philadelphia in May 1915, part of the Atlantic Neutrality Patrol and then joined the Asiatic Station as flagship, conducting diplomatic missions in China, Japan, and Russia until 1919. In January 1920 to January 1921 she served as general HQ and flagship, redesignated as CA-3 from July 1920 and finally decommissionedat Mare Island Navy Yard in March 1921, and sold in December.

Howard Zinn

ROMANO: Today is Monday, December 8, 2008, and we are conducting an oral history interview at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Howard Zinn. Um, and I'll just start with please tell me what --

ROMANO: Okay, um. Tell me where and when you were born.

ZINN: I was born in Brooklyn, 1922.

ROMANO: Mm-hmm. What is your family background?

ZINN: My, my parents were immigrants from Europe. My mother came from -- they're both sort of Jewish working-class people, came here. My father came from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, probably the part that's now Poland. My mother came from Siberia, from the city of Irkutsk. And they came here and worked as -- they were factory workers in New York. They met as factory workers and got married 1:00and then they moved to Brooklyn. And that's where I was born.

ZINN: I was born in actually, it's sort of -- what was then called, I guess, part of Williamsburg, but I don't know what they would call it now. De -- sort of Floyd Street, which was near Stockton Street, not far from DeKalb Avenue. I'm just rattling off some of the streets that were nearby to get an idea.

ROMANO: Floyd and Stockton aren't familiar to me, but of course DeKalb is just up the --

ROMANO: When did you come to the Brooklyn Navy Yard?

ZINN: Yeah, well I -- um -- it was 1940. I was eighteen. Young people were 2:00desperate for jobs and my background, my neighborhood -- my situation, kids didn't go to college at the age of eighteen, they went to work. And so, I took a test. They announced there was a civil service test to become an apprentice in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and, like, I don't know how many thousands of young people took that test. I think -- I think 30,000 young people took the test for 400 jobs. And the 400 guys who got 100 on the test got the jobs. And so, I was one of those 400, so I was one of 400 young people who then went to work as apprentices in the Navy Yard in 1940.

ROMANO: Which area did you work in?

ZINN: I became an apprentice ship fitter. We all were assigned, rather arbitrarily. Some became ship fitters, some became joiners. A joiner, I learned -- I had no idea what a joiner was -- a joiner, I learned, you know, worked with wood. Shipwrights, machinists, and pattern makers who were more white-collared people, worked with blueprints. So, the apprentices were divided along these different specialties and so I soon found myself working as an apprentice ship fitter with a real ship fitter, a senior ship fitter. And we had a little team of the ship fitter, his apprentice -- me -- and then working with us and around 4:00us, a welder, a riveter, a burner, a chipper. I soon learned what all of these people did, you know. The ship fitter had the job of fitting the steel plates of the hull together in the right way. Like a kid working with a jigsaw puzzle. Working with blueprints and the rigger was the person who worked the huge cranes that lifted these metal plates into place and so the rigger would lift the metal plates into the right place and the ship fitter would decide where it belongs and move it this way or that way according to blue print and then call in the -- well, first do some tack welds. That's what some of the apprentices did, also. A tack weld was a sort of temporary little inch of a weld to keep the plate in 5:00place until the welder came along and did the real weld. Or if not the welder, the riveter came along. The riveter was working on things which made it actually more secure than a welder. A weld could be broken more easily than something that was riveted. So, the welder, the riveter. And we would have the burner, somebody with an acetylene torch, who would cut the steel plate down to size. And the chipper was another person, who using a compressed air hammer, would make a tremendous noise, an enormously powerful tool. Because it had to drive a chisel into the steel and cut off edges of the steel. And generally -- generally the people who were the chippers and the riveters who did the heaviest, toughest work -- because the riveting machine was a huge -- not like these little riveting machines you see in, doing -- not like the ones that worked on sheet 6:00metal. Riveting machines which had to put rivets into these thick, steel plates, required a very powerful person to hold onto this huge riveting machine and as he used it his body would vibrate with the riveting machine. And the guys who were the riveters and the chippers were usually blacks who were hired to do the toughest jobs in the Yard.

ROMANO: What would you wear? What was your uniform?

ZINN: [laughter] My, my uniform. I like that word, uniform. We wore very -- well, in the winter we wore very warm clothes. Layers of clothing. I wore -- we had steel-tipped shoes because of all these metal things falling on our toes. We had steel-tipped shoes and warm double layers of, you know, winter underwear, 7:00double layers of clothes and hats with earmuffs -- hats that went over our ears -- and heavy gloves. Because we were working out on the ways. It was working out on this long, inclined surface on which we built the hull of the ship so that when the ship was built -- not totally built but built enough so that they then work on the, you know, on the decks of the ships. But after the hull was built and the ship was going to be launched, it would be launched, it would slide down in the ways into the water. So, the ways were out there on the river, really, and the cold wind blowing in from the river. So, it was very, very cold. And we 8:00would, in order to keep warm, we would huddle around the riveter's fire. Because the riveter had a little fire on which he heated his rivets before -- with his clamps. Where he put the heated rivet into the rivet hole, so then when the heated rivet cooled it of course then fastened the plates. But we went around the riveter's fire in order to keep warm. Or we went into the head to keep warm. The head meaning -- you know the head is the toilet. One of our favorite places. And, uh, and then in the summer it was very hot. Very, very hot. Because we were wearing protective clothing and I remember that they gave us salt pills in the summertime to, uh, because we were sweating, sweating. And we were sweating not 9:00only because of the heat but because a lot of our job required us to crawl into the hull into these little compartments which were four by four by four and which had a little hole through which you could go into this four by four by four apartment to work to do a tack weld, to check up on whether it was right, and so it was very, very hot. You sweated a lot and so you had these salt pills to apparently make up for the salt you were using in all the sweating. But, you know, we spent a lot of the time crawling into this -- well, it was called the double bottom of the hull. Because we -- when I went to work there, they were just starting to build the USS Iowa. Starting to build meant starting with the keel. And when I see--think of a keel today, I think of something in a sailboat 10:00that you know, which is a protrusion down into the water, but what they called a keel in the building of the Iowa, and the building of the battleships, was not that. They called the very bottom of the ship, the double bottom of the battleship, they called that the keel. And that's what we started working on. And the keel consisted of all these compartments and the idea being that when -- if one compartment got flooded it would be confined to that compartment and so you wouldn't be flooding the entire double bottom of the ship.

ROMANO: Um, the keeling is a ceremony often, right?

ROMANO: Were you at any ceremonies?

ROMANO: Did you go to any launchings.

ZINN: No, no. I did not attend any keel -- no, I -- for some -- I don't know why. [laughter] We weren't invited to the ceremonies. No, but when we finished I 11:00knew that there was a ceremony for the launching of the Iowa but I wasn't there, because then the next thing we did after the Iowa was launched, started building the Missouri. Which was the ship that, you know, became famous as the ship that the surrender was signed by the Japanese and the U.S. at the end of World War II. I worked on the Missouri just for a while and actually then, come to think of it, I also worked on -- for a while -- on building LSTs which were landing ship tanks. They were strange little ships that -- they looked rather flimsy -- well, they were made of steel, but they were just big enough to hold one tank, and they were going to be used in D-Day. To have, you know, thousands of LSTs 12:00bring tanks onto the beaches of Normandy. So, we built -- we built a number of those and then at a certain point in early 1943, I stopped working in the Yard because I enlisted in the Air Force. I actually -- I could have stayed because we were -- you know, we were considered important war workers and we were exempt from the draft but I wanted to -- I wanted to go. I wanted to fight in the Great War and all of against fascism and all of that, so I enlisted in the Air Force and that's when I left the Yard.

ROMANO: I have a lot of questions. [laughter]

ROMANO: Did you work with any women if you left in early '43?

ZINN: No. There were no women working out on the ways. There were women who 13:00worked in sort of office capacities, administrative jobs, but I didn't -- I never saw any woman working -- and course there were thousands of people working. I mean, working on the Battleship Iowa was an enormous operation. The Battleship Iowa, when you -- if you stood it on end, which was almost as tall as the Empire State Building. This was sort of -- this always astounded me when I thought of it -- that it was as long as the Empire State Building was tall. So, it was a huge, huge place. Thousands of people worked on it. But I never saw a woman working on it. And maybe there were women later who worked -- maybe not out on the ways or maybe not as ship fitters, but maybe there were women who worked as machinists. I heard that in 1944, which was after I was gone, there were women machinists. But I didn't know any women. In fact, we had an appre -- 14:00there were no women apprentices, because we had an apprentice association, which was another aspect of my life in the Navy Yard, which actually to me was the most interesting aspect of my life in the Navy Yard. The most uninteresting was work.

ZINN: The most uninteresting and the hardest and the toughest. I must say this, that when I first -- the first day I walked into the Navy Yard, it was an amazing experience because I had never walked into a situation -- the first time I walked out on the ways, I was walking into a kind of nightmare of sounds, noise, and smells. The smells of working on a ship are amazing smells. The 15:00smells of the welding, especially -- when they were welding galvanized steel. I don't know if you've ever smelled galvanized steel burning because galvanized steel is covered with zinc and you -- when zinc burns it gives off the worst smell in the world. [laughter] So that and other smells. And the noise of the riveting and the chipping. It was just -- it was nightmarish. It was something I had to get used to. And so, work was not -- very often we wore earplugs because of the sound was so horrendous. And so yes, work -- work was not a satisfying 16:00experience. It was not -- not like -- you know, here I was building a beautiful little ship. You know, you have these people who have hobbies of building boats and, "Whoa, what a nice experience it is putting little things together." No, this was not a pleasant experience. I didn't even know what the whole thing would look like when it was over. I was just working on a little part of this big, steel ship and it -- no, it wasn't terribly satisfying. And -- but what was satisfying was finding the other apprentices, the other ship fitter apprentices, the other apprentices in the other areas -- the machinists and the shipwrights and the joiners -- and joining together with them and forming an association 17:00because the apprentices were not permitted to join the unions. At that time, the unions in the Navy Yard were part of the AF of L, the American Federation of Labor. The American Federation of Labor was a federation of craft unions and craft unions meant that the unions were divided by skills. And so, the unions in the Navy Yard were all separate. The machinist union and the shipwrights union and the joiners union and the boilermakers union, ship fitters union. These were all separate unions. The craft unions. And you had to be a sort of accepted and experienced ship fitter or shipwright in order to join the union, which meant that there was no room in the union for apprentices, for helpers -- and there 18:00were helpers by the way, blacks were helpers. There were no blacks in the actual unions. Blacks were helpers, which meant they were chippers or riveters. And the apprentices, um, were not in the union. Now the reason that in the 1930s the CIO came into being is they came into being because there were so many workers in the country who were not organized because they were not admitted into the AF of L craft unions. There was a huge number of unskilled workers, which included women and black people in the auto industry and so on, who were not in the union, so the CIO had this enormous reservoir of unskilled workers that they organized into unions. And of course, the CIO became the militant labor union in 19:00the 1930s that was really the heart of the new angry, striking labor movement at that time. Well, we -- well, there was actually a CIO union that tried to move in and organize in the Navy Yard, but they didn't get very far. They were called -- in fact, I was a member, which means I was a member of a very tiny and weak organization. I was a member of something with a very poetic name of IUMSWA, the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America. And I think part of the reason they didn't have any members is that nobody could pronounce that, you see. So -- but we, the apprentices, decided we had to organize. I was getting fourteen dollars a week, which after deductions, it was something like 20:00twelve dollars and something. And I would give ten dollars to my mother and father and keep two dollars of spending money for myself. So, we were getting fourteen dollars a week and we decided we needed to get more money and, you know, be organized and be able to bargain with the Navy Yard for, you know, certain conditions. And so, uh, we organized this apprentice association. And I was one of the initial organizers. The initial organizers were a little group of young radicals, I must say. I must confess. A little group of young radicals who decided we would organize the apprentices, and we did. So we formed this 21:00apprentice association of you know, 300 or 400 apprentices and those -- that little organizing group that initiated it, you know, and -- there was me and there was a guy who was a machinist and there was another guy who was a shipwright and there was another guy who was sheet metal worker. And the four of us would meet once a week, outside of work, and talk about organizing, and also, we would read books and discuss these books. Radical books. [laughter]

ZINN: Political books. Who? Well, we would read Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and Karl Marx. [laughter] So um, yeah, we would read and discuss and yes, we were 22:00the organizers. My job was activities director, of which I had a huge amount of experience. That is -- zero. Activities director. My job was to plan activities that would raise funds for the association. So, actually, I was part of two activities that we engaged in because I also organized a basketball team, and I was one of the members of the basketball team, not because I organized it but because I was a fairly good basketball player. At that time, I was six-foot-two. I think now I'm five-foot-two. No, I'm not -- I'm just a little less. But at that time, I was six-foot-two. At that time, you didn't have to be seven feet 23:00tall to be a basketball player. Six-foot-two was okay. So I organized a basketball team and we formed an apprentice basketball team and we played basketball teams that were formed by the other -- the unions, the older people who were -- older meant they were in their thirties or forties, and they were the carpenters and -- we won, hands down. We were the youngest, we were the fastest. We won the championship -- we were the Brooklyn Navy Yard champion basketball team. And the other thing that I organized was a moonlight sail and -- to raise money. A moonlight sail on the Hudson River. The Hudson River was as close as we could get to the Rivera. And the, uh, so -- and it was on that moonlight sail that I had my first date with my future wife. So --

ROMANO: How did you organize the sail?

ZINN: Well, organizing the sail meant just writing to all the relatives of the -- you know, notifying -- the apprentices notifying the other people in the Yard, you know, writing, getting names and addresses and sending out letters. We didn't have e-mail or fax machines or anything like that. So, we used old-fashioned ways and rented this boat and it was a beautiful moonlight sail. Yeah.

ROMANO: Organizing the apprentices, did you have any mentors in the union? Did you have any older --

ROMANO: -- figures who were helping you and guiding you?

ZINN: No, we didn't. We were on our own. But a couple of us -- as I said, we were four young radicals and a couple of us had actually been sort of active in our neighborhoods before that. Politically active and you know -- uh --

ROMANO: HQ your parents -- were your parents part of any unions?

ROMANO: Yes. Was there a family tradition of organizing, or -- ?

ZINN: No. No. Well -- my parents were not political people. They were not radicals, they were just very ordinary, you might say. Working-class people and -- but my father was -- my father was a waiter. That is, he moved up in rank 26:00from being a factory worker to being a waiter. And as a waiter he was a member of the Waiters Union. Local 2 of the Waiters Union, which was a Brooklyn local that specialized in Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs. And, uh, so that was -- yes. So, he was a union member. And there was some vague connection between his union and some bunch of gangsters who extorted money from people in the union in order to get them jobs. Just, you know, part of the history of unionism.

ROMANO: You are just going through my list very naturally without my having to ask questions, but I do want to know, if you were living in Williamsburg how did 27:00you come into work every day? Were you walking, did you ride a bicycle, did you take the trolley?

ZINN: My, my family got a place in the Fort Greene housing project, which gave preference to people who worked in the Navy Yard. My family had lived in miserable places in Brooklyn and going, moving into a housing project was a real step upward. These were clean places that didn't have vermin and rats and so they were very desirable. Well, these low-income housing projects, which today very often have a sort of bad reputation they're run down and dirty -- and this is what I hear, I haven't been in them lately. But when those housing -- 28:00low-income housing projects were built they were so desirable that all these people living in terrible tenements in Brooklyn were vying for these places in these housing projects. And so, my family -- my mother and father -- were very happy to be able to move into the Fort Greene housing project, and when they did that, I could walk from the project to the Navy Yard. Every morning my mother would prepare my lunch. I carried one of these little metal lunch containers and it had room in it for a thermos of hot coffee, which my mother put milk and sugar, and it was sort of all morning I was only thinking of lunch time, while working. All morning -- you know, this happens a lot I think with people who work, and they are looking forward to lunchtime, they're looking forward to 29:00leaving work. There's something they look forward to because they're not looking forward to the next hour of work. And so, my mother always prepared a very nice sandwich for me. Usually it was a fried-egg sandwich, my favorite sandwich. And a banana, and this thermos of real hot, delicious coffee. So, I carried my little lunch pail with me, and, uh, we began to work long hours. Because when I first got into the Navy Yard, we were working an eight-hour day. But soon we were asked to work ten hours, and soon twelve hours. And first it was a five-day week, then it was a six-day week. And then we were asked to work seven days. And actually, we were glad to work long hours -- I mean, we were asked to do it as a 30:00patriotic duty, which in a -- I guess partly was helpful in getting us to agree to work those long hours. Yeah. They need these ships. The boys are over there fighting, and etc., etc. So, part of it was this, this feeling, yes, we're doing something patriotic for -- the other and maybe the more important part for us was that by working overtime we were getting time and a half and that fourteen dollars expanded into twenty-five and thirty dollars by working those extra hours. So, we were making good money by working those extra hours. But it also meant there was nothing else in our lives but work. Um --

ROMANO: Was your pay going up, too? Was your pay rate going up, too?

ZINN: The pay rate went up. Yes, the pay rate went up gradually over those 31:00several years that I worked there, but you know, I don't remember ever bringing home a paycheck more than thirty-five dollars. But that was really good, and the family really needed it. Because in the Depression -- and the Depression was still going on, you know, really. Although it began to ease as the War went on but during the Depression the waiters did not have as much work. People made less weddings, or less expensive weddings. People still got married but they didn't have weddings with a lot of waiters and so on. So, the family needed the money. So, I became, you might say, you know, the chief wage earner in the family. And so, in a certain sense, by joining the Air Force, I was depriving my 32:00family of that. Except that I -- even though I wasn't making much money in the Air Force, I would send a good part -- since the Air Force was feeding me, clothing me, giving me a place to sleep, so I was able to give a good part of my Air Force money, send it home every month to, uh, my parents.

ROMANO: Your parents got to stay in the Fort Greene housing?

ROMANO: You had been their connection to live there. If there was preference to the Navy --

ZINN: That's right. But they still were able to stay. They weren't evicted from there because I left the Yard.

ROMANO: Okay. Did any of your co-workers, did any of your fellow apprentices also leave, to go serve? Or did they just stay on?

ZINN: Some of them stayed, some of them left. The more politically aware, the 33:00little group that I was in -- as I said, they were the political radicals. And because they were more politically aware, they were more attuned to this is a war against fascism, you know, and so the other three guys who were a part of our little four-person collective, you might say, the other three guys also went into the service. They all went in after I did, but they -- all three of them went into the Navy. Maybe it's because the Navy was able to use their Navy Yard skills, whereas -- well, I volunteered for the Air Force. And so, yes, the three of them went into the Navy and I was in the Air Force. And we communicated with one another for a while and after the War I would see them occasionally.

ROMANO: That's what I was going to ask next, do you stay in touch with any of them today? Would there be [inaudible]?

ZINN: I lost touch with them. There was one of them that I made contact with, uh, maybe, uh, ten years ago and yes, they might all be dead. I say that because most of the people who are my contemporaries are dead, you know. I am a rare survivor. So, I don't know what's happened -- yeah.

ROMANO: Well, maybe I could take some names, too, later. I'm trying to find people. Because we are still looking to conduct interviews.

ZINN: I could give you some names.

ROMANO: Okay. That would be great. Let's see, so we talked about what you had 35:00for lunch. Is that all you ate? Was a fried-egg sandwich and a banana? That whole long day? For a six-foot-two guy. Did you snack, too? You must have.

ZINN: There was a little PX where we could get sort of candy and things like that, you know. And that was about it. Yes, but that was the only meal I had while working.

ROMANO: Um, who was your supervisor?

ZINN: I have no idea. [laughter] I stayed away from the supervisor as much as possible. The supervisor would occasionally -- occasionally come around. We didn't have a lot of supervision. The supervisor would occasionally come around and, you know, and sometimes he would go to the head -- I think he spent a lot of time inspecting the head -- and see who was there. He was spending too time in the head. But, you know, my immediate contact was with my -- the ship fitter. 36:00The ship fitter was usually somebody who was from Scotland or Germany, from some country where there was a tradition of shipbuilding and where, you know, people learned these skills. And so, there were these immigrants from Scotland and Germany, Holland -- places that were -- you know, that had ports and had long historic traditions of shipbuilding. Uh --

ROMANO: That was going to be my next question was how would you describe the racial or cultural mix?

ZINN: Yeah, well, as I said, you know, all, all white people had the major jobs and they were the regular ship fitters and shipwrights and so on, and the blacks 37:00were the riveters and chipper, really. No women -- there were no women workers and um --

ROMANO: And then the German, or the Scotch, your ship fitter, what was it like working with -- did he have a heavy accent usually -- or how did you communicate with him?

ZINN: Yes, my ship fitter, yeah, my guy had a heavy German accent. I suspected him of being a Nazi. [laughter] At least he behaved like a, he behaved like a Nazi.

ZINN: Well, very arrogant. In fact, in general the apprentices were treated with a certain amount of humiliation. In fact, we were called "apprentice boys." Yes, 38:00we were treated like -- yeah, very arrogant. You know, they were the one who knew their trade, knew the craft and they were teaching us, and we were the stupid ones. And so yes, there was a lot of that. Yeah, there may have been some kindly, gentle workers but I never ran into them. And none of the guys I knew ran into them. Everybody complained about the way they were treated. There was this hierarchy. I think the AF of L union sort of encouraged that hierarchy. "We're the skilled workers who belong to the union. These are the unwashed, unskilled, interlopers." You know.

ROMANO: Were you fellow apprentices all mostly from the neighborhood, too?

ZINN: No, they came from all over the city. Because the civil service test was, 39:00you know, a city-wide test so they came from all -- from the Bronx, and from Manhattan, Queens.

ROMANO: So, then you would socialize with your fellow apprentices. Ever with the ship fitter or -- or any of the skilled -- ?

ZINN: Well, we socialized after work in these, you know, events that we would create, you know, that we would organize, whether it was a dance or a moonlight sail or the basketball games. You know. Those were the times when we would get together outside of work.

ROMANO: Did you get together to go to dinner or would you go to any bars or would you go -- ?

ZINN: No. I would like to imagine us as tough guys leaving the Yard, going to bars and drinking, but no. No. I think most of these guys were in the same position that I was. They had mothers and fathers waiting for them at home. And 40:00going to a restaurant for dinner was something we didn't even think about.

ROMANO: There is Sands Street outside of the Yard the infamous Sands Street. It's got quite a reputation for, during World War II, being a popular spot for gambling, bars, bar brawling, prostitution. Kind of like a blue light district.

ZINN: Yes, we heard of Sands Street. We knew about it, but we actually didn't have time to go there. Maybe if we had time, we would have had that experience. But no, it was -- and maybe some of the older people in the shipyard went there. Had the money to go there. But, no, we knew about it but that's all.

ROMANO: Um, do you have any particularly vivid memories or colorful memories or 41:00are there any people who really stand out? Like what would you say, I mean, your experiences with the apprentice association, was your most powerful experience?

ZINN: Yes, you know, the experience with the apprentice association was the most rewarding, getting together with other young people and organizing and planning our strategies and our -- putting together our grievances. Putting out a little, you know, newsletter of some sort. I mean, the other experiences were on the job, not good ones. Like seeing people injured, seeing people fall into, you know, off a -- very often after you walked along steel girders and below you 42:00was, you know, a big gap and there were people who fell and were badly injured. And there was the one time I remember, the worst thing I saw was somebody directing the crane operator and the crane operator's also operating this huge steel doors and, uh, this was not on the ship, this was in a building outside where they were keeping a lot of the steel plates. And there was a guy who was directing the crane operator and as he was directing the crane operator he was walking backward and didn't see where he was -- and he was walking right in 43:00between the doors as the doors were closing and they closed on him. These huge, huge doors closed on him. And the guy who was up there operating the crane didn't see him. And the guy was crushed to death. So that was the worst thing I saw.

ZINN: There were other little injuries of guys who looked wrong -- at the wrong time looked at a welder's flash and got, you know, actually I still have in one of my eyes a little -- one of my eyes is a little blood shot which goes back to looking too long at a welder's flash. And I mean, who knows what other physical effects there were from working in the shipyard. Because, um, the zinc actually 44:00was deadly, which we didn't know at the time. But years, years later they found that there were people who worked with that zinc -- and I wasn't working with it all the time, just occasionally smelled it and got away from it as fast as I could -- but people who worked a lot with that zinc, years later they discovered they developed cancers and died as a result. But I mean, industrial work is dangerous, unpleasant, and people die earlier. Um, and I was glad to get out of that. The Air Force was respite. [laughter]

ROMANO: Why did you choose the Air Force?

ZINN: I don't even know. I had never built a model airplane in my life. I wasn't 45:00particularly -- I think maybe because a friend of mine who had gone into the military earlier -- a friend of mine was in the Air Force and he was writing letters back. And I guess it seemed a little more glamorous to be in the Air Force than to be on the ground. But that was, I didn't have any strong reason. People didn't generally volunteer for the infantry. They, you know, when people volunteered, it was for the Navy or the Coast Guard or the Marines or the Air Force. So somehow, I chose the Air Force.

ROMANO: Um, to get back to the cultural mix and the ethnic mix of people who you were working with, blacks were obviously aware that they weren't allowed into the union. Was there -- did you talk to many of your co-workers who were African 46:00American and find out that they -- what was the sense of that sort of separation, the segregation, really?

ZINN: Well, now we talked -- we talked to the black guys who were riveters and chippers and, you know, they just shrugged their shoulders. You know, that's the way it is. That's the -- nothing strange to them. A number of them came from the South. They were accustomed to segregation. Well, and of course, even black people in the North were accustomed to segregation. You know, the neighborhoods we lived in, in Brooklyn, were segregated. Black people lived under the El, lived under the Myrtle Avenue El. I don't know if there's a Myrtle Avenue El anymore. I don't know if there's any els anymore in Brooklyn. But the els, it 47:00was the elevated line and under the elevated line the people lived in the tenements that were right under the El, they lived in darkness all the time. There was no sun that came into the El, and that's where black people lived. And they moved out of there -- that is they didn't move out of their places -- they left their living place during the day to go to work, in the white neighborhoods. So, they worked as janitors or whatever menial jobs in the white neighborhoods. It was very much like Johannesburg, South Africa. Which many, many years later I visited, and you could see the blacks lived in their little black shanty towns and come into Johannesburg to work during the day and then go back to their little black townships at night. And that's the way it was in Brooklyn.

ROMANO: And so, on the Yard, were any of these guys talking about organizing or was it just such an accepted fact of life that they wouldn't be able to get into the union?

ZINN: You mean the black guys talking about organizing? I never heard, no. Of course, it was very hard for them. They were separated by -- I mean, of course, we were separated, too, the apprentices, but no, they didn't talk about it. I didn't see any moves that they made toward organizing.

ROMANO: Um, yeah, I told you we had interviewed another gentleman, African American, who was here as a machinist from '44 to '46 and he talked -- he worked at the Yard twice: in the '40s and then later on in the '50s during the Korean War. And he said that in the '40s he remembers having "C" and "W" badges. Do you 49:00remember anything like that? Like "C" as in colored and "W" as in white. That he remembered that there were badges that said "C" and "W."

ZINN: No, no, no. No, I don't remember badges. No. He recalls badges that they wore? "C" and "W," really?

ZINN: Um. No, I don't remember that.

ROMANO: But you don't recall anything like that?

ROMANO: So, it was an integrated, somewhat, environment but not in terms of the union?

ROMANO: Okay. And then we talked a little bit about the climate in terms of people -- the skilled laborers, or the skilled workers, and having a greater sense of arrogance --

ROMANO: -- and, and ownership of the place. Anything else along those lines? Any sort of personalities that represent the Yard at that time to you? In your, like, I guess was there a greater sense of comaraderie, too, because of what you 50:00were working on and like patriotic -- ?

ZINN: The camaraderie was not so much at the work site, but afterwards in the apprentice association. There was a camaraderie outside of work. Uh --

ROMANO: Okay, and a sense of, like, the ships that you were working. So, you knew what you were contributing to, of course, and we've talked about that too.

ROMANO: Um, I feel like, unless there's anything else that you think we might have missed or that you want to volunteer or -- I don't know if you have any final thoughts. I'm really done with my questions.

ZINN: No, those were all good questions and I think I've covered the experience.

ROMANO: That's great. Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time. Your clear memories.

ZINN: Sure. Well, I'm glad you're doing this documentary.

ROMANO: It's a wonderful experience. The people who we're getting to meet and the experiences that we are collecting.

ZINN: Yes, you're doing just what we were talking about last night at the Studs Terkel Memorial. Oral history. Yeah, it's great. And I hope you will send me the finished movie.

ROMANO: Well, we're not sure if it's going to work into a movie right now.

ROMANO: We want to produce an orientation film for the center, but it might also be, we might incorporate the interviews into the actual exhibit itself. Have a small screen where people can just get a snapshot. So, we'll see. Right now the most important thing is just getting everything, and collecting, and then we will figure out how to tell the story once we have everything collected. So that's it.

Steam locomotives excited the senses and Steamtown works to keep their stories alive!

You'd feel heat from the firebox, smell hot steam and oil you'd hear the whistle, feel the ground vibrate, and watch as one-ton drive rods turned steel wheels. Remember the sound of "chuff-chuff" from the smokestack? Today, you can learn the history of steam railroad transportation, and the people who built, repaired and rode, as we work to preserve a special era in America's industrial history!

“Big Boy” No. 4012 on Display

The large engine makes its triumphant return following an extended cosmetic restoration.

BLW 26 steam locomotive

Ride a seasonal Yard Shuttle - either the Scranton or Nay Aug Gorge Limited - during your Spring/Summer 2018 visit to Steamtown

Enjoy Seasonal Passenger Excursions

Steamtown NHS offers seasonal passenger excursions to various out-of-park destinations, generally May through August and October

Frequently Asked Questions

Check here for basic questions you may have about your trip to Steamtown National Historic Site

Tours and Programs

Descriptions of Tours and Programs you can expect to experience at the Park

Train Rides and Excursions

Here you can find descriptions as well as our scheduled upcoming trips

Steamtown's Big Boy Restoration Project

Steamtown National Historic Site’s Union Pacific “Big Boy” No. 4012 Removed From Public Display For Cosmetic Restoration and Painting

Upcoming Events at Steamtown

Here you will find any and all upcoming events so you can PLAN YOUR VISIT!


Subcontracting the construction of the hull to Continental Iron Works in Brooklyn, Ericsson ordered the ship's engines from Delamater & Co. and the turret from Novelty Iron Works, both of New York City. Working at a frenetic pace, Monitor was ready for launch within 100 days of being laid down. Entering the water on January 30, 1862, workers began finishing and fitting out the ship's interior spaces. On February 25 work was completed and Monitor commissioned with Lieutenant John L. Worden in command. Sailing from New York two days later, the ship was forced to return after its steering gear failed.

RFA History

The Reynolds Family Association (RFA) was organized 23 Aug 1892 by some of the descendants of one of the early Connecticut families. In 1977 it was reorganized and incorporated the RFA currently maintains a membership of about 200 members per year. Membership is open to all individuals who are interested in any Reynolds family. The name Reynolds was (and is) spelled in a variety of ways, including Raynolds, Rennels, Runnels, Reynoldson, MacReynolds, McReynolds and many, many others, all of which are included in RFA.

RFA, not affiliated with any other Reynolds family group, is not a genealogical society and is not a commercial research enterprise. It is just a group of people wanting the bond of belonging to one of the Reynolds families and wishing to maintain their histories for future generations. RFA functions and endures on the volunteer time and commitment of individual members.

  • To share genealogical information,
  • Promote recognition of a common ancestry,
  • Develop acquaintance among Reynolds kindred, and
  • Collect and maintain a permanent record of Reynolds family history for future generations.

The RFA newsletter, RFA Dispatch, the RFA Archives (files), the RFA Web site, and annual reunions are the vehicles used to fulfill RFA's official purpose.

RFA NEWSLETTER: RFA Dispatch is the primary vehicle for dissemination of Reynolds family information. It is through the Dispatch that we get to know each other, past, present, and future, on a regular basis. Available to members only. The RFA Dispatch is an electronic newsletter that is published quarterly.

RFA ARCHIVES: RFA, a membership corporation, does not search its files for, or provide information to, non-members. When new information relevant to members' families becomes available it is published in the RFA Dispatch, on the web site, or the member is put in contact with another member who may be helpful. This service is included in the annual membership fee. Although the files are being entered into computers, members cannot access the files themselves at this time. We are working on getting all files on our "Members Only" web site.

OTHER RFA PUBLICATIONS: The intent of the RFA organizers was to publish a complete volume covering all known branches of the Reynolds families and, hopefully, tying all these families together. All the compiled notes and papers were retained by the members, but became the basis for the genealogies published by the RFA in the 1920s, when Marion H. Reynolds published two books on Robert of Boston, one on John of Watertown, and one on John of Norwich CT.

In the 1920s the decision was made to begin using "Annuals" as a vehicle for continuing the publication of family records. Again, most of the genealogical notes and papers were retained by the members who compiled them, but became the substance of the RFA Annuals which were published over the years, though not annually. Publication was discontinued in 1937.

In 1993 RFA published The RFA Centennial Collection, which includes much of the archival genealogical material, corrected and/or updated, except for that contained in the 1982 Annual. Additionally, the Centennial Collection contains much new information. The RFA Centennial Collection is hardbound, indexed, and contains 811 pages. These books and Annuals are now available on our "Members Only" web site.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York, on January 30, 1882, the son of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. Nearly all of his early schooling was furnished by his parents, and tutors. He attended Groton, an upper-class preparatory school in Massachusetts, from 1896 to 1900, then received a BA degree in history from Harvard in just three years (1900-03). Roosevelt went on to study law at Columbia University in New York City. He left the university without receiving a degree when he passed the bar examination in 1907. For the next three years he practiced law with a prominent New York City firm. In 1905, Roosevelt married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, a distant cousin and the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. She would become Franklin`s most influential ally and an active, beloved First Lady. The couple had six children, of whom five survived infancy. Roosevelt was a great companion to his children, especially enjoying outdoor sports with them. Political beginnings Roosevelt, a Democrat like his father, tried politics in 1910 and won a seat in the New York State Senate from his traditionally Republican home district. He flourished as a courageous and adroit political contender. State legislatures elected U.S. senators in those days. Leading a group of fellow Democratic legislators, Roosevelt spearheaded a successful drive against a candidate hand picked by the party bosses. His ploy infuriated Tammany Hall, the Democratic political machine in New York City. In 1912, Roosevelt was reelected to the State Senate. That year he actively backed Woodrow Wilson against his fifth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, in the presidential Election of 1912. Wilson won and rewarded the young senator with the post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1913. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, tutored his assistant on national politics, including the art of dealing with Congress. In 1914, Roosevelt sought nomination as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was trounced, mainly because Tammany Hall had opposed him. Roosevelt wanted to enter military service following the United States` entry into World War I in April 1917, but Daniels persuaded him to stay on. Roosevelt tackled numerous wartime projects. In 1918, he toured European battlefields and consulted with military leaders. He had gained national prominence. The Democratic National Convention nominated Governor James M. Cox of Ohio for president in 1920. The delegates wanted a vice-presidential candidate from an eastern state to balance the ticket. The convention chose Roosevelt. Cox and Roosevelt ran on a platform advocating U.S. membership in the League of Nations. However, the Senate had snuffed out America`s chance for membership. Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio and Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts, the Republican candidates, handily defeated the Democratic ticket. Roosevelt had established himself as a leader and was only 38 the defeat did him little harm. In 1920, he became a vice president of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland and took charge of the New York City office. Polio Tragedy struck, however, in 1921. Roosevelt, now 39, contracted polio, a fearsome and incurable disease that paralyzed his legs. He devoted a considerable part of his fortune in the 1920s to renovate a spa in Warm Springs, Georgia, said to have curative waters that he had sought to aid in his recovery. He founded the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, which continues to accommodate people with physical disabilities. In later years, a cottage he had built there would be called “the Little White House.” Roosevelt`s iron determination played a major role as he struggled to recover, but he never regained the use of his legs. He frequently resorted to a wheelchair, but largely managed to hide the fact — with the media`s help — throughout his later career. Eleanor Roosevelt once recalled, "I know that he had real fear when he was first taken ill, but he learned to surmount it. After that I never heard him say he was afraid of anything." A resumed career Roosevelt resumed his political career with the support and assistance of Eleanor, and Louis Howe, his trusted political advisor and friend. At the Democratic National Convention of 1924, Roosevelt rose to nominate New York governor Alfred E. Smith for president, but Smith lost the nomination to John W. Davis. In 1928, Smith won the presidential nomination, then arranged for Roosevelt`s nomination to succeed him as New York`s governor. Republican candidate Herbert Hoover defeated Smith, but Roosevelt won the gubernatorial race. The majority of Roosevelt`s policies during his first term as governor would not be characterized as activist. However, during his second term, the Depression`s effects became more pronounced in New York. To jump start the economy, he secured legislation in the fall of 1931 that established the first of the state relief agencies, the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. In fact, Roosevelt was effective in most of his dealings with the Republican legislature, and honed skills that he would use in the future. Roosevelt began to campaign for the presidency following his reelection as governor in 1930. The governor`s pronounced efforts to alleviate the economic depression in New York burnished his credentials, while the deep doldrums hobbled President Hoover and the Republicans nationwide. The Democratic Party anointed Roosevelt as candidate for president at its national convention of 1932 in Chicago. He ignored tradition and showed up in person to accept the nomination, following a flight to Chicago. He then vigorously hit the campaign trail, calling for "relief, recovery, and reform" by government intervention in the economy. Roosevelt`s charisma and pro-active approach fused to help rout Hoover by seven million votes in November 1932 — beginning the first of four terms. Tackling the Depression In his first 99 days, he proposed, and a Democratically controlled Congress swiftly enacted, an ambitious "New Deal" to deliver relief to the unemployed and those in danger of losing farms and homes, recovery to agriculture and business, and reform, notably through the inception of the vast Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The New Deal effects would take time some 13,000,000 people were out of work by March 1933, and virtually every bank was shuttered. On March 12, 1933, Roosevelt broadcast the first of 30 "fireside chats" over the radio to the American people. The opening topic was the Bank Crisis. Primarily, he spoke on a variety of topics to inform Americans and exhort them to support his domestic agenda, and later, the war effort. The nation enjoyed measurable progress by 1935, but businessmen and bankers increasingly opposed the New Deal. The president`s experiments alarmed them. They were dismayed by his toleration of budget deficits and his removal of the nation from the gold standard, and were disgusted by legislation favorable to labor. Nevertheless, Roosevelt and the Congress forged ahead with a new program of reform, often called the Second New Deal, which included Social Security, more controls over banks and public utilities, an immense work relief program, and higher taxes on the rich to help pay for it all. The president was re-elected by a wide margin in 1936, but the U.S. Supreme Court had been nullifying crucial New Deal legislation. Persuaded that he had popular backing, Roosevelt introduced legislation to expand the federal courts, ostensibly as a straightforward organizational reform, but actually to "pack" the courts with justices sympathetic to his proposals. He was unsuccessful, but constitutional law would eventually change to allow the government to regulate the national economy. During the period between the wars, Roosevelt maintained a pragmatic diplomatic stance on foreign affairs. He had been a supporter of Woodrow Wilson`s internationalist ideas, but dropped them when the country turned inward to Isolationism in the 1920s. In the late 1930s, however, FDR brought the nation`s attention back to foreign affairs. He was alarmed by Germany`s aggression in Europe and Japanese incursions in the Pacific. A widespread isolationist perspective held by the electorate, and by Congress, which enacted neutrality laws intended to prevent American involvement in a second world war, inhibited the president. Roosevelt gained ground when, spurred by Germany’s defeat of France in 1940, Congress passed his Lend-Lease legislation to materially support Great Britain’s resistance to the Germans. Britain and the Soviet Union were joined by the United States following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Leadership in World War II As a wartime leader, Roosevelt promulgated his foreign policy goals in a succession of major conferences:

Watch the video: The Brooklyn class, USS Brooklyn CL-40: CinematicCloser look