At an age when most people are enjoying their retirement, Robert Welch decided to place that aside and found an organization to promote what he saw as ideals of Americanism in order to battle the overwhelming wave of communism he saw taking over numerous countries, as well as seeing its prominent influence in America throughout his lifetime.
While his detractors would have rather seen Robert Welch sit idle in a rocking chair, he would have none of it. He devoted the rest of his life at age 58 to help secure to future generations the freedoms he had enjoyed and to give them the educational tools they would need to use to hold onto the freedoms.
He recognized and was fond of saying that “All we need to succeed is sufficient understanding.” Based on this, JBS was founded as a member-based educational organization designed to reach out to others to educate them on the original intent of the founding fathers, getting back to the Constitution and why the United States was built as a Republic and not a democracy. He had a knack for boiling down complex ideas, thoughts and problems into easily relatable stories and solutions. As a voracious reader, learner and man of high intellect, this came natural to him.
A child prodigy, he entered high school at age 10 and graduated near the top of his class two years later. He then entered the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1916 at age 16, and enrolled into Annapolis Naval Academy. He left a few years later and dipped his creative toe into journalism and became a syndicated columnist just before he decided to take a Merchant Marine position. Unfortunately, Congress ended the program seven days before he was to leave. He then knew he had to find an occupation that would allow him to flourish, especially for him to make time for his academic interests.
In the fall of 1919, he enrolled in Harvard Law School to learn the free enterprise system. By 1922, he had had enough of the school and launched the Oxford Candy Company. In 1926, he invented the Sugar Daddy candy and sales skyrocketed. He left the company he worked so hard to build after dispute with management and started again. Eventually he ended up working for his brother at the James O. Welch Company in 1935 until he "retired" in 1956 to found The John Birch Society in 1958.
He had an extremely sharp memory with which he used to recite poetry for hours, which he had read 50 years ago! But that memory and his very deep knowledge of all things history could also be a hindrance, for he could hardly give a short answer to a question, which tended to infuriate those in the media looking for quick sound bites. He guided JBS through its first three decades until his passing in 1985. There is so much more to Robert Welch than what can be contained in this short number of much generalized paragraphs. To those that knew him and worked with him, Robert Welch was truly a fascinating and loving man who wanted nothing more than to preserve freedom and future prosperity for later generations. We invite you to learn more about him by reading “The Life and Words of Robert Welch” by G. Edward Griffin, as well as "The Blue Book of The John Birch Society" by Robert Welch. Members can download the Blue Book for free.