Financier. He was the author of the "Townsend Plan" in 1933, a national retirement plan that would have guaranteed all United States citizens over the age of 60 a pension of $200 per month, with no work requirement. Instead, the Government passed the Social Security Act, initially providing only $35 per month. Francis never intended to join the political arena but after witnessing an elderly woman digging in the garbage for food he became inspired to make changes for his fellow citizens. He wrote the "Townsend Plan" at the age of 67. By April 1935 the "Townsend Plan" was introduced to congress. He established his own newspaper "Townsend National Weekly" to promote the plan and consequently Townsend Clubs sprang up all over the country. Two years after the plan was introduced there were 4,552 charter clubs. In May 1936 congress accused Francis of profiting from the Townsend movement. He provided documentation consisting of three trucks bearing six tons of Townsend petitions containing the names of more than ten million citizens, with financial documentation. Then after a heated argument walked out of an Inquisitorial Congressional Committee and was fined $100. and ordered to serve 30 days in jail. Not until two years later was he instructed to turn himself in. When he arrived to do so on April 18, 1938 he received a presidential pardon from Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was the first presidential pardon in history to be received without solicitation.
Bio by: JT
Minnie Mollie Aldrich Townsend