Lawrence Dennis

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Lonnie Lawrence Dennis[1] (December 25, 1893 - August 20, 1977) was an American diplomat, author, and a defendant in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944. He advocated fascism in America after the Great Depression, arguing that capitalism was doomed. [2]

Early life

Dennis was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His father was a prominent White Atlanta lawyer and his mother was his father’s mulatto mistress. Dennis was raised by his mother’s family.[3] At age five Dennis began preaching the gospel to audiences in Atlanta and later England. He was billed as "The Mulatto Boy Evangelist" and published an autobiography at age ten.[4] He was later sent to Phillips Exeter Academy and then to Harvard.

During World War I, Dennis commanded a company of military police in France. He graduated from Harvard in 1920 and entered the foreign service.

Foreign service career

The turning point of Dennis' life came when he served in Nicaragua. He resigned from the foreign service in disgust at the US intervention there against the Sandino rebellion. He then became an adviser to the Latin American fund of the Seligman banking trust, but again made enemies when he wrote a series of exposes of their foreign bond enterprises in The New Republic and The Nation in 1930. These exposes propelled Dennis into a national public intellectual career, publishing his first book at the height of the depression in 1932, Is Capitalism Doomed?. The book submitted that capitalism was, and by all right should be, on its death knell, but warned of the grave dangers of a world devoid of its positive legacy. Dennis' two later books detailed his sense of the system that was emerging to replace it, which he believed to be fascism. The Coming American Fascism in 1936, detailing the system's substructure, and The Dynamics Of War And Revolution in 1940, on the superstructure.

Fascist author

The New Germany was impressed with his book on American Fascism and Dennis was invited to Nuremberg to attend the 1936 Party Congress. Here Dennis met with party ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Foreign Press Bureau chief Ernst Hanfstaengl.[5]

Lawrence Dennis was an editor at The Awakener for some time. Later he founded his own publication, the Weekly Foreign Letter, and he wrote for Today's Challenge, published by the pro-German American Fellowship Forum of George Sylvester Viereck and Friedrich Auhagen. He tried to enlist in the American Army during the Second World War[6], but the Army rejected him after the media ran stories about him.

Dennis was one of those indicted in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 under the Smith Act which ended in a mistrial because the judge died of a heart attack.[7] At the trial the prosecutor label Dennis the "Alfred Rosenberg" of the domestic fascist movement in America: supplying ideas to his fellow defendants.[8] Dennis co-authored with Maximilian St. George an account of the trial, A Trial On Trial, in 1946, but put forth his own defense in court.

At the time of his indictment for sedition Dennis had a farm in Becket, Massachusetts.

Later life

In his later years Dennis continued to propagate his views through a modest newsletter, Appeal To Reason, which maintained a prominent circle of readers, including Herbert Hoover, Joseph P. Kennedy, William Appleman Williams, Harry Elmer Barnes, and James J. Martin. Dennis' last book, Operational Thinking For Survival, was published in 1967.


  1. Tale of a 'Seditionist'--The Lawrence Dennis Story
  3. [1]
  5. The American Axis, by Max Wallace, page 253
  6. "Sees His Duty Done". New York Times. 1942-04-21. p. 10. 
  7. Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944
  8. Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944, page 136


External links

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