An American watchdog organization founded in 1958 by Massachusetts businessman Robert Welch (1900-1985). Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it focused on Communism as the enemy of American values, warning that the extremist ideology already exerted a powerful control on the United States federal government. The Society works towards educating Americans about the original intent of the Founding Fathers. They strongly believes that the United States is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. The Society opposes Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and Collectivism, and supports free market Austrian economics as opposed to socialist Keynesian economics – an advocate of abolishing of the federal reserve . As leader of the society, Welch decided that the root cause of most of the troubles was a two-century-long conspiracy of the “Illuminati,” a group founded in Bavaria in 1776.
He declared it was responsible for the French and Russian Revolutions and the two world wars, as well as evils of Lincoln’s income taxes, Wilson’s Federal Reserve, and Roosevelt’s New Deal. Most insidious of all was the United Nations. It also controlled the Communist party and the Trilateral Commission. The only member of the Illuminati he could identify by name was Nelson Rockefeller. Welch argued that the Illuminati was subversive of good government, destructive of religion, and used professional agitators and massive terror to destroy the good people, while manufacturing smears to destroy the brave souls who tried to expose it. Originally based in Belmont, Massachusetts, its headquarters are now in Appleton, Wisconsin, with local chapters throughout the United States. The organization owns American Opinion Publishing, which publishes The New American.
At its peak in 1964 the Society claimed to have hundreds of chapters throughout the country, 100,000 members, 400 American Opinion bookstores to distribute and sell its magazine and pamphlets, and an active cadre of speakers that crisscrossed the country. Welch ruled with an iron hand, sending out his agents to make sure the local units never engaged in operations on their own, such as endorsing candidates or lobbying for legislation. All the dues went to national headquarters in Belmont, Massachusetts and the members were to spend their energy writing letters that echoed Welch’s thesis that that Communists were already in power in Washington and were about to fully take over the country. Welch sponsored “Support Your Local Police” campaign which opposed civilian review boards to monitor police brutality. The one notable national campaign was to demand the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Not a single member of Congress was willing to present an impeachment resolution.
Over the years only three Congressmen were members, most notably Larry McDonald (1935-1983), the Society president when his plane, Korean Airlines Flight 007, was shot down by the Soviet Air Force on Sept. 1, 1983 in international air space in between Soviet Moneron Island and Sakhalin island. One of the society’s most popular spokesmen was John Rousselot, a former Republican congressman from southern California. Another was John Schmitz (1930-2001), briefly a Congressman from Southern California.