Abstract: The "Pink Slip Strike," the Sentinels of the Republic, and the Evolving Defense of Private Enterprise, 1922-1940

Michael Jo


In February 1935, a new law making information on personal income tax returns available to the public threw the United States into an uproar over "government by inquisition." The success of the "Pink Slip Strike," the movement against this law led by the conservative organization Sentinels of the Republic, promised an incipient political movement against President Roosevelt's New Deal. Placing the Pink Slip Strike in the context of the Sentinels' political activism from the nineteen twenties through the forties reveals important transformations in the political ideology and strategies of business conservatives. It shows an embrace of mass political mobilization and a newly popularized discourse of defending private enterprise in the thirties. These shifts help to define the role of business interests in the evolution of modern conservatism and the Republican Party.