Louis Dembitz Brandeis was born on November 13, 1856, in Louisville Kentucky to Adolph Brandeis and Frederika Dembitz. The Brandeis family originating from a small city on the river near Prague, Czech Republic called Brandeis on the Elbe. Louis grew up one of four children in a family of followers of the radical Yaakov Franck (Jacob Frank). Frankism a sort of degenerate antinomianism, or a rejection of all moral and social norms. (1)

The Brandeis family part of a long Rabbinical line of social reformers, Adolph himself a liberal revolutionary who moved his young family to the States, narrowly escaping the fallout of the 1848 Austrian Revolutions.

It was in 1848 that Adolph was chosen as a representative by the oldest members of the Brandeis, Dembitz, and Wehle families, to travel to North America as an envoy or scout to “study American conditions and select a location”. pg. 15, Brandeis: A Free Man’s Life, Alpheus Thomas Mason, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Princeton University.

“Adolph arrived in New York, traveled for a while in the East, and then went on to the agricultural Middle West, visiting farms and villages along the way. Young Brandeis’s pleasure and facility in travel were greatly enhanced by the companionship of a young friend of the Wehles then on a business trip to the Unites States to secure information about American investments for the House of Rothschild.” pg. 15 Brandeis: A Free Mans Life.

This all amounting to a strange chapter in the biography of an eventual member of the US Supreme Court and advisor to the US president, and despite many efforts to suppress his upbringing, it remains after all these years still true, and the present-day narrative surrounding Brandeis remains largely apologetic, if not completely dismissive of his many obvious and concerning conflicts of both interest and character. 

“Brandeis’ grandfather and great-grandfather in Prague had been leaders in the Frankist cult that swept Central Europe in the late eighteenth century.” (2)

“He [Jacob Frank] slept with his followers, and maybe even his daughter. He preached a nihilistic doctrine that saw this world as intrinsically corrupt, and believed that the best way to imitate God was to cross every boundary, transgress every taboo, and mix the sacred with the profane.” Rabbi Jay Michaelson, PhD in Jewish Thought Hebrew University; JD Yale Law School; assistance professor at Chicago Theological Seminary; visiting scholar at the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion; and contributor to CNN, MSNBC, and Meet the Press.

“Louis Brandeis had a portrait of Frank’s daughter Eva on his desk at the Supreme Court, an heirloom he received from his Dembitz relatives, whose ancestors were followers of Frank.” Brandeis, eventually marrying, Alice Goldmark, his second cousin and daughter of prominent Austrian chemist the discoverer of red phosphorous, Joseph Goldmark. (3)(4) 

Despite his family not being able to afford it, young Louis somehow entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1875, Brandeis walking the hallowed halls of the Ivy League just shy of his nineteenth birthday, graduating in 1877 class valedictorian, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Society – at the age of twenty. Brandeis recorded the highest-grade scores in the history of Harvard Law School, setting an academic standard that stood for eighty years.

Brandeis recognized even by academic historians as a radical social reformer and a highly contentious nomination to the Supreme Court. The fight for confirmation lasted nearly a half year, from late January to early June of 1916. A nomination rightly contested more heavily than any other in American history. By 1916, Brandeis’ many conflicting political interests were seen by many as problematic for a Supreme Court Justice. Brandeis largely deemed by public opinion unfit for public office yet once confirmed, he sat on the Supreme Court for nearly twenty-five years.

As we at and The History of Propaganda began our investigation into the life of Louis Dembitz Brandeis, we quickly realized we were witnessing emerging from the pages a figure of monumental historical importance, an importance certainly undeserving of his present-day place in near complete obscurity.  Herein we submit our report on ‘the peoples attorney’, and ask first of all, how a man on such a radical social reforming bender could have been even considered for associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Louis D. Brandeis

Yaakov Franck

Eva Franck

Harvard Law School, Class of 1877. Brandeis circled.

 “He [Brandeis] was the forerunner of other social activist lawyers who were later appointed to the Court, such as Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” (5)

Today in American academia, it seems strange that Brandeis’ reputation still stands strong some 80+ years after his passing in 1941.  It’s almost as if people have been deliberately kept from looking deeper into the man. Brandeis remains a respected and revered beacon of modern social justice movements and Brandeis University stands today as an institution  to Brandeis’ radical, Progressive ideals. When a critical analysis of Brandeis is honestly undertaken, this humanitarian, man-of-the-people persona quickly becomes a contrived and disingenuous cover story for a man with many faces who is only now being burdened with the appropriate historical weight earned from such a prolonged and prolific career of anti-Constitutional, anti-American radical social reform. 

In respect to both the Brandeis family and you the reader, we at recognize the large responsibility that comes with exposing past lies agreed upon and have painstakingly searched out and procured a collection of the most legitimate and trusted source material, extracting primary and secondary artifacts from the personal writings of Brandeis, his family, his close friends and his many, many business associates. We’ve borrowed vigorously from the archives of several prestigious universities including Brandeis’ very own, compiling dozens of doctoral dissertations from recognized and award-winning authors who were given unfettered access to the Brandeis personal papers, and as a result, we have compiled and catalogued a near library of related material in an effort to gain greater context of the both the man and the times in which he lived. Without any further delay, the story of Louis D. Brandeis begins with his friendship with Woodrow Wilson.

Brandeis: Architect of the New Freedom

“At the end of August, Wilson sought one contributor in particular, but not for his money … Wilson needed somebody to sharpen his message … he wanted to discuss the issue with the most incisive mind on the subject. Fortunately, that man had already expressed an interest in his campaign, though when he shuttled from Boston to New York by night boat August 27, Louis D. Brandeis could not have known that he, as much as anybody, would shape the future of Woodrow Wilsons campaign and career.” (6)

Brandeis was thought of by Wilson as his obvious pick for Attorney General or Secretary of Commerce. Wilson telling Rabbi Stephen Wise he “needed Brandeis everywhere.”  Brandeis is today touted as the very “architect of the New Freedom”, Wilson’s 1912 Progressive platform. We argue when Brandeis travelled to meet the president he had already formulated his progressive plan and knew exactly what he was doing. From that initial, introductory meeting at Sea Girt, Wilson leaned heavily on the expertise of Brandeis – “who’s opinions on economic questions he respected above all others”. (7)

“Because Brandeis understood the problem thoroughly, because he was ready with a definite plan for the bridling of monopoly, he became the chief architect of the New Freedom.” Pg. 110, Prophets of Regulation, Thomas K. McCraw.

ON AUGUST 28, 1912, Louis D. Brandeis, the nationally known Boston attorney, and Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic presidential nominee then serving as New Jersey governor, met secretly over lunch in Sea Girt, New Jersey, the coastal town where the governor summered.” (8)

“Louis D. Brandeis, the chief architect of the New Freedom” (9)

The centerpieces of this New Freedom were the creation of the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve Board. The Fed a centralized banking scheme independent of the government based on lending money at interest that has led to a collective debt so large and crippling as to render an entire nation paralyzed by a forever growing debt clock. The Federal Trade Commission, a regulatory institution that has since its benevolent inception expanded into a vast network of surveillance and monitoring well beyond its original publicly stated intentions. 

The many committees, commissions, and councils created by Brandeis during the Wilson administration’s first term representing the actual manifestation of Lippmann’s proposed “intelligence bureaus”, an essential part of Graham Wallas’ futuristic utopian Great Society or Sidney Webb’s scientifically governed, Industrial Democracy.  Through the founding first of these regulatory agencies led by Brandeis we see the very first glimpses into the administrative state. Lester Frank Ward’s, Welfare State.

“For Attorney General, Wilson first thought of Louis D. Brandeis, the chief architect of the New Freedom.” (10)

“Wilson had intended his Secretary of Commerce to be one of America’s staunchest Progressives, his advisor Louis D. Brandeis. Earliest mention of his name, however, incited considerable protest. Politicians, businessmen, and attorney’s denounced him as a radical – a reckless meddler.” (11)

 “The New Freedom called for a ‘new declaration of independence’.” (12)

“We all know Louis Brandeis is one of the most influential Justices on the Supreme Court. But fewer of you may know that he was also the person who conceived the Federal Trade Commission.” Julie Brill, Commissioner, United States Federal Trade Commission, Privacy: From the Woods to the Weeds, September 15, 2011, An Address before the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Brill served as Commissioner of the FTC from 2010 to 2016 and is now Chief Privacy Officer and Corporate Vice President for Global Privacy, Safety and Regulatory Affairs at Microsoft.

Brill fits the pattern of everyone else in this story, after graduating magna cum laude with a BA in economics from Ivy League (Princeton), she then goes back and forth between public duty as Commissioner of the FTC and Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft. Here Brill exhibiting a conflict of interest through public-private partnerships made commonplace during Brandeis’ time.

“After Woodrow Wilson won the 1912 election, he asked Brandeis to recommend specifically how to solve the problem of the trusts. Brandeis conceived the Federal Trade Commission, which, at Brandeis’s urging, Congress empowered to investigate and prohibit
unfair methods of competition with a “broad and flexible mandate, wide-ranging powers, and the ability, at its best, to respond to the needs of changing times”. (13) 

“[T]he proper role of the government is to encourage not combination, but co-operation.”
— Louis D. Brandeis to Richard Crane, November 11, 1911; in 2 Letters of Louis Brandeis pg. 511,512.

“A SOLICITOR GENERAL once told the lawyer George Farnum that ‘when Mr. Brandeis writes an opinion dealing with a question of federal practice, the law is settled for fifty years to come’. While this may be somewhat exaggerated, Brandeis did have a great impact not only on jurisdictional matters but on commercial law, antitrust, administrative law, utility regulation, federalism, and individual liberties”. (14)

“the Federal Trade Commission is the brainchild of Louis D. Brandeis” pg. 1, Privacy: From the Woods to the Weeds, FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill

“When the FTC opened its doors in March 1915, it had become the surprising centerpiece of Wilson’s antitrust program. During the 1912 campaign, Theodore Roosevelt had been the advocate for a strong commission; Roosevelt, who launched a short-lived Progressive Party, would even have allowed an agency to set prices. Wilson was skeptical of a Commission in 1912, and remained skeptical when he launched his antitrust initiative in January 1914; he proposed a purely investigatory body. But when the initiative bogged down, he was persuaded by Louis Brandeis and George Rublee, a friend to Brandeis and a former Roosevelt adviser, to embrace part of the Progressive program: Section 5’s administratively enforced prohibition of ‘unfair methods of competition.’” (15)

As a presidential advisor, Brandeis convinced the president, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American people to accept radical new approaches to everything from labor legislation and trade unionism to life insurance and public utility, from trust-busting and women’s suffrage to conservation. Brandeis introducing to America new terms like scientific management, regulated competition, industrial relations, standard cost accounting, trade agreement monitoring, resale price maintenance, interlocking directorates, and so on. Brandeis more than anyone else is responsible for placing the first, foundational building blocks of our modern surveillance state through his introduction of a vast network of regulatory agencies.

As an attorney, Brandeis established a radical new method of arguing law and once confirmed Justice, transferred this method to the Supreme Court – making even our Supreme Court Justices social activists. He opened the door to an entirely new interpretation of US law through sociological jurisprudence and, as a concerned Jewish-American, Brandeis almost unfathomably, rises through the rank and file to lead American Zionism to their ultimate goal of gaining a homeland in Palestine. Brandeis crucial in persuading the Christian Evangelical movement, now numbering over one hundred million, to offer its support for a new Zion by befriending key founders of Dispensationalism and the Christian fundamental movement.

Brandeis and the famous ‘trust busting’ investigations initiated on August 27, 1912 helped further establish Brandeis’ reputation as the peoples attorney and allowed him to expand on his idea of regulatory competition, something most assuredly discussed at Sea Girt that same day. In fact the date significant here in that Brandeis meets Wilson for the first time on the very same day the Commission on Industrial Relations (Walsh Commission) began its investigation into industrial working conditions. This really the opportunity to initiate federally a method bringing together the employer and the employee through the creation of industrial relations and scientific management, a perfecting of the manufacturing processes that organized labor stood for obvious reasons solidly in opposition of.  In the end the investigation did little to curb monopolization yet set in place a framework for labor still dominant in our world today.

As a mediator in the creation of labor law Brandeis combined scientific management with industrial relations in bringing together employee and employer, Brandeis surrounding himself with key members of the Taylor Society in directing the nascent moments of our modern day Industrial Democracy. Brandeis here displaying a pattern we see repeated in each of the stories to follow, by gaining influence over and then becoming the guiding hand to a newly discovered technology and the small but very influential group of men that created it, Brandeis radically altered the old traditional definitions of American life in ways we are only now coming to terms with. 

“Louis Brandeis conceptualized regulated competition and introduced it into public debate. Political entrepreneurs in Congress enacted many of Brandeis’s proposals into law.” (16)

“Brandeis formulated a blueprint for a federal trade commission from his experience with railroad regulation.” (17)

“When Woodrow Wilson (as Theodore Roosevelt had done) was looking to promote his agenda, on the counsel of Brandeis he opted for commissions. Commissions had the power and the merit of regulating industry and avoiding the need for direct legislative intervention.” (18)

“Brandeis decomposed scientific management and nineteenth-century common law, and recombined their parts in a syncretic blueprint for a federal trade commission.” Pg. 20, Brandeis and the Making of Regulated Competition

“Insofar as the career of a single person illustrates both the problems that led to the FTC’s creation and the reasons for its subsequent failure, that person is Louis D. Brandeis. The most influential critic of trusts during his generation, Brandeis served from 1912 until 1916 as Woodrow Wilson’s chief economic adviser and was regarded as one of the architects of the FTC.” Pg. 81, 82, Prophets of Regulation.


1. Brandeis on the Elbe. The surname Brandeis most likely is derived from this area of Europe.\
2. pg. 28, Arthur S Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era.

3. His uncle Lewis Naphtali Dembitz was an early Zionist and involved in the 1960 Republican National Convention that elected Abraham Lincoln; see also,

4. Jay Michaelson Heretic of the Month; Sarna the Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He is also University Professor, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, and has many impressive degrees: PhD Yale, MPhil Yale, MA Yale, MA Brandeis, BA Brandeis BHL Hebrew College; see also

5. The Brandeis Confirmation a Century Later, Oxford University Press. Paul Finkelman and Lance J. Sussman.

6. pg. 239 Wilson, A. Scott Berg. Andrew Scott Berg an internationally known, New York Times bestselling author whos other works include Lindbergh (1998), a biography of Charles Lindbergh and Making Love. Steven Spielberg purchased the movie rights before the book was published. A Scott Berg a Princeton graduate. Guggenheim Fellowship 1982. Member of the Triangle Club.

7. pg. 48, Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era.

8. pg. 22-44, Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan, Brandeis University Press; see also, LOUIS D. BRANDEIS “People’s Attorney,” Presidential Adviser, and Zionist.

9. pg. 28, Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era.

10. pg. 28, Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era.

11. Pg. 264, Wilson, A. Scott Berg.  

12. pg. 150 The Fabian Freeway, Rose L. Martin.

13. Brandeis to Charles Richard Crane, Nov. 11, 1911, in 2 Letters of Louis Brandeis, 511, 512 (Melvin I. Urofsky & David W. Levy eds.) [hereinafter LBL]; see also, pg. 4, The Origins of the FTC: Concentration, Cooperation, Control, and Competition, Marc Winerman. Winerman a former attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Trade Commission. The views expressed herein are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission or any Commissioner.

14. pg. 610, Alpheus Thomas Mason, Louis D Brandeis: A Life.

15. pg. 873, 874, Antitrust Law Journal, Volume 71, No. 1 (2003), pp. 1-97, The FTC at Ninety: History Through Headlines, Marc Winerman.

16. Introduction, Louis Brandeis and the Making of Regulated Competition, 1900-1932, Gerald Berk, professor of political science University of Oregon.

17. pg. 68, Louis Brandeis and the Making of Regulated Competition.

18. The Origin and Development of the Interstate Commerce Commission, David Zucker Master of Liberal Arts thesis, Harvard University.