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September 21, 1939: Roosevelt Violates Neutrality Acts, Asks Congress to Amend Law

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks that Congress amend the Neutrality Acts to allow the US to send military aid to European countries locked in battle against Nazi Germany. Roosevelt tells Congress that America’s neutrality laws might actually be giving passive “aid to an aggressor” while denying help to friendly nations victimized by the Nazis. Roosevelt has already overseen the shipment of arms and other materiel in violation of the Neutrality Acts, but, unlike some of his successors, he does not claim he has an inherent right as commander in chief to violate or ignore laws. In November, Congress will agree to Roosevelt’s request. [Savage, 2007, pp. 18; History (.com), 2008]

Entity Tags: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties

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