It may seem counterintuitive, but massive tax-exempt foundations funded by some of America’s most prominent capitalists and industrialists helped foment what congressional investigators described as a collectivist “revolution” in the United States.
The goal was to “so alter life in the United States that it could be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.” Many tools were used, but the public education system was the most important and effective.
In the early 1950s, with growing concerns of subversion and communist penetration surrounding the enormous foundations, the U.S. Congress launched investigations. Investigators for Congress’s Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations, sometimes referred to as the “Reece Committee,” after the chairman, found that there was good reason to be concerned.
According to the committee’s chief investigator, some of the foundations were weaponizing the American education system to enable what was described as “oligarchical collectivism,” or collectivist rule by an oligarchy. This was done by financing the promotion of “internationalism and moral relativism,” among other dangerous “isms,” investigators found.
The chief culprits included some of the largest and most important foundations in the United States. These included the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller foundations, and the Carnegie Endowment. According to congressional investigators, they were showering money on Columbia University, Harvard, Chicago University, and the University of California to advance their objectives through education. And it worked.
Norman Dodd, the director of research for Congress’s select committee, reported that the foundations had even orchestrated a “revolution” in the United States. The revolution “could not have occurred peacefully, or with the consent of the majority, unless education in the United States had been prepared in advance to endorse it,” Dodd told lawmakers in his sworn testimony.
The committee’s final report, released in late 1954, found that “some of the larger foundations have directly supported subversion in the true meaning of that term—namely, the process of undermining some of our vitally protective concepts and principles.” Those same entities have also “actively supported attacks upon our social and governmental system and financed the promotion of socialism and collectivist ideas,” investigators concluded.
Globalism and distorting history were also major priorities. In the final report, the committee noted that the foundations had “supported a conscious distortion of history.” As part of that, they also “propagandized blindly for the United Nations as the hope for the world,” undermining American constitutional principles and liberty.
One of the experts who testified during the hearings was attorney Aaron Sargent, whose background included special investigations, especially into education and subversion. He told lawmakers that many of the big foundations were actively promoting socialism in the United States, in violation of the law and their charters, and that education was among their key tools.
“First of all, in approaching this problem of foundation influence, the subversive-teaching problem is a foundation problem,” he said, noting that the problem began in the 1890s. “This movement is closely related to Fabian socialism.” These subversives tried to infect America, but found it more difficult than in Britain due to Americanism, a written Constitution, and federal courts capable of protecting constitutional rights.
And so, the radicals “relied upon propaganda and brainwashing,” using the school system to attack patriotism, natural law, and even real history, said Sargent, who was asked to serve as counsel to the select committee but had to decline. “They sought to create a blackout of history by slanting and distorting historical facts,” he testified. “They introduced a new and revolutionary philosophy—one based on the teachings of John Dewey.”
On the educational front, he said, the story actually begins with the Rockefeller-funded Dewey Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, a topic that has already been explored in this series. From there, Dewey “expounded a principle which has become destructive of traditions and has created the difficulties and the confusion … that we find today.” As part of that, “Professor Dewey denied that there was any such thing as absolute truth,” a concept that was “revolutionary in practice.”
In previous articles in this series on the history of public education, the Rockefeller dynasty’s role in funding collectivist “education reformer” John Dewey, widely considered to be the “father” of America’s public school system, was documented extensively. The Rockefeller philanthropies—especially the “General Education Board”—provided millions of dollars to advance Dewey’s quackery around the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th.
But that would be just the beginning. Rockefeller money also helped resettle the communists of the Frankfurt School at prestigious U.S. academic institutions, primarily Dewey’s Columbia University. From there, their subversive poison infected all of U.S. society, mostly through the public education system.
The Rockefeller dynasty was key in shaping education policy. In 1902, facing an avalanche of bad publicity over his ruthless business practices, oil baron John D. Rockefeller created the “General Education Board.” This ostensibly “philanthropic” venture was used to help fund and eventually control education in the United States.
Rockefeller put Frederick Gates in charge of his “charitable” schemes. And Gates was honest about the agenda. “In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand,” Gates wrote in “The Country School of To-morrow, Occasional Papers Number 1.”
“The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk.”
He was clear that the goal was not to raise up philosophers, scientists, authors, poets, musicians, artists, lawyers, doctors, preachers, or statesmen. There was already an “ample supply” of those, he said. Instead, the goal was to create docile and largely unthinking workers who could be used and controlled by the elites.
The ultimate goal of all this subversion from the mega-foundations, though, was even more horrifying.
In an interview with G. Edward Griffin in 1982, chief investigator Dodd dropped a bombshell that should have, and would have, shocked America to the core—at least if it had been more widely known. The goal of the foundations’ scheming in education and beyond was to crush individualism, promote collectivism, and prepare the way for the United States to be merged with the totalitarian Soviet Union.
While investigating, Dodd was contacted by Ford Foundation President Alan Gaither and asked to come to the foundation’s offices in New York. “On arrival, after a few amenities, Mr. Gaither said, ‘Mr. Dodd, we have asked you to come up here today because we thought that, possibly, off the record, you would tell us why the Congress is interested in the activities of foundations such as ourselves,’” Dodd recalled in the interview.
Dodd continued: “Before I could think of how I would reply to that statement, Mr. Gaither then went on voluntarily and stated: ‘Mr. Dodd, all of us who have a hand in the making of policies here have had experience … operating under directives … the substance of which is, that we shall use our grant-making power so to alter life in the United States that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.’”
In short, the head of the Ford Foundation, one of the most influential in the world, told the chief congressional investigator of a committee investigating foundations that the foundations were helping to pave the way to a merger of the free world with the slave world. And Americans remained blissfully unaware, as the cancer crept in quietly through the school system over a period of generations.
According to Dodd and the congressional investigation, the Carnegie foundations decided after World War I that gaining control of education would be crucial. The leadership’s goal at that time, Dodd said, was to prevent “a reversion of life in the United States to what it was prior to 1914.” But the task was so enormous that it would require help. And so, while the Carnegie Endowment would focus on international education matters, the Rockefeller foundations were put in charge of domestic initiatives, according to documents uncovered by investigators in the Carnegie Endowment’s archives.
“The effect was to orient our educational system away from support of the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, and implemented in the Constitution, and educate them over to the idea that the task now was, as a result of the orientation of education, away from these briefly stated principles and self-evident truths,” Dodd said in the interview.
“What we had uncovered was the determination of these large endowed foundations, through their trustees, to actually get control over the content of American education.”
Investigations also found that since at least the 1930s, Moscow decided to infiltrate educational and large foundations in the United States. Following their orders from the Soviet Union, American communists even created a commission focused on infiltrating and taking over foundations.
One of the major successes identified by the congressional investigators was Soviet agent Alger Hiss, who became president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace after playing a starring role in creating the United Nations. He was later exposed as a spy for Joseph Stalin’s mass-murdering regime.
This work of the major foundations continues to this day. Consider, for example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates pouring billions of dollars into “education reform” and into supporting the collectivist agenda of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In fact, Gates’s foundation was, aside from U.S. taxpayers, the single largest financier of Common Core, the universally reviled national (and internationally aligned) “standards” imposed on the United States by the Obama administration. More on that in a future piece of this education series.
The Rockefeller foundations also continue to be deeply involved in “education.” And key Rockefeller bigwigs have become increasingly open about their real agenda. In his autobiography, for instance, the late dynasty patriarch David Rockefeller dropped a bombshell.
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure–one world, if you will,” he wrote on page 405. “If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
When examining these facts, it seems perplexing that the wealth of some of America’s most important super-capitalists would be put to use advancing collectivism, subversion, and even socialism. And yet, it was hardly a new phenomenon. In his important book “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution,” Stanford historian Anthony Sutton meticulously documented the role of major bankers and financiers from New York City in financing the communist enslavement of the Russian people.
It is time for Americans to completely rethink education or be destroyed. That rethink must involve discarding all of the quackery and subversive influences brought about by collectivists such as Dewey, and the out-of-control foundations that funded and helped them. The future of United States and liberty literally depend on sorting out this mess.
This article was originally published by The Epoch Times, and is one report in a series of articles examining the origins of government education in the United States.