Business Plot

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The Business Plot (also called The White House Putsch)[1][2] was a political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States to overthrow the center-left social-democratic government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and install a right-wing fascist dictator.[1] Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler asserted that wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans' organization with Butler as its leader and use it in a coup d'état to overthrow Roosevelt. In 1934, Butler testified under oath before the United States House of Representatives Special Committee on Un-American Activities (the "McCormackDickstein Committee") on these revelations.[3] Interestingly enough, no one was prosecuted.

At the time of the incidents, most major news media dismissed the plot, with a New York Times editorial characterizing it as a "gigantic hoax".[4] While historians have questioned whether or not a coup was actually close to execution, most agree that some sort of "wild scheme" was contemplated and discussed.[5][6][7][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Brockell, Gillian (January 13, 2021). "Wealthy bankers and businessmen plotted to overthrow FDR. A retired general foiled it". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  2. NPR interview with Sally Denton, author of the book: When The Bankers Plotted To Overthrow FDR
  3. Schlesinger, p. 85
  4. "Credulity Unlimited". The New York Times. November 22, 1934.
  5. Burk, Robert F. (1990). The Corporate State and the Broker State: The Du Ponts and American National Politics, 1925–1940. Harvard University Press.
  6. Schmidt p. 226, 228, 229, 230
  7. Fox (2007). The Clarks of Cooperstown. Knopf.
  8. Schlesinger, p. 83