Presentation on theme: "Fear in America… The United States struggle to balance civil liberties with security over the centuries…"— Presentation transcript:
Fear in America… The United States struggle to balance civil liberties with security over the centuries…
Legislation and Executive Actions to expand or deny Civil Liberties Bill of Rights, 1791: collectively ratified shortly after the Constitution was ratified in order to help preserve and maintain individual civil rights Alien and Sedition Laws, 1798: Created in order to subdue Jefferson’s Republicans and other critics of the Federalist government. The laws gave broad powers to imprison or even deport violators, they significantly reduced the protections of the 1 st amendment (Reaction: Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions) Civil War, : Censorship imposed, newspapers critical of the Lincoln administration were banned from the mail. Habeas Corpus was suspended for those accused of “disloyal action”. Military tribunals were established to try those accused of “discouraging volunteer enlistment, resisting the draft or other disloyal practices, hundreds of civilian were arrested and tried in this arrangement
The Great War, 1917: Postmaster General was authorized to refuse access to the mail any material expressing anti-war sentiments. Military officers could suppress any actions deemed as “seditious intent” targeting left-wing groups and immigrants. The Espionage Act allowed the courts to handout heavy fines and long prison terms for anyone encouraging disloyalty Sedition Act, 1918: Targeted labor activists such as the IWW, anti-war radicals and others by making it illegal to criticize the government or hamper the war effort in any way. (Eugene Debs and Emma Goldman were charged under this law)
The Red Scare, 1920s The armistice in Europe didn’t bring peace and tranquility to the American home front, fear and hatred of Germans was quickly replaced by fear of anarchists, communists and many of the “new immigrants” entering the United States. General labor strikes, race riots, and activities by the IWW (Wobblies) generated an atmosphere of tension. Some Ex. 38 mail bombs discovered by Post Office Anarchist blown up outside of Atty. Gen. home Convinced the Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer of a radical plot to overthrow the government & American Society. European Anarchist
Palmer engaged FBI agent J. Edgar Hoover to assist in the round of up of several known (and assumed) communists, anarchists and unionist in a series of raids. Over 6,000 are arrested and detained, many without benefit of due process. Palmer also predicted mass riots and problems on May 1, the Communist labor day…. * However the problems never materialized and people lost confidence and interest in Palmer’s strong arm tactics. Some critics charged it was all a manufactured scare to gain attention so he could be the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Two Italian immigrant who also happened to be anarchists were accused, arrested, tried, convicted and executed for a robbery/murder without benefit of an impartial judge, appropriate counsel or an appeal. On the day of execution, August ,000 silently protested in Boston. Sacco and Vanzetti Case, 1921
Rising Nativism led to the passage of a series of Immigration laws: 1921 Emergency Quota Acts and the later 1924 Johnson – Reed Acts both aimed at reducing immigration from southern and eastern Europe National Origins Act and the Asian Exclusion Act All limited particular populations ability to emigrate to the United States legally
The Fish Committee: The economic crisis of the 30s’ continued to target communist as villains in American society. Hamilton Fish Jr. (III) headed the Special Committee to Investigate Communist Activities in the United States… Communism represented a three fold threat: Political- rights restrictions, Promotion of class hatred, promotion of “strikes, riots, sabotage, and industrial unrest” were effectively the first steps government overthrow Religious/moral- it represented a godless society Economic- Lenin’s five year plan was a threat to American capitalism…especially Russian imports like timber
This skewed picture of communism in combination with a rhetoric of “Us versus Them” inspired fear and paranoia that was used to promote America’s economic interests during the Great Depression era. Ray Ginther's watercolor shows police arresting Communist Party members for attempting to hold a protest meeting on the public streets of Seattle in Violations of basic civil liberties were very common in the early years of the Depression.
The McCormack-Dickstein Committee ( ) In 1934, the committee held public and private hearings in six cities, questioned hundreds of witnesses. Its mandate was to get “information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U.S. and the organizations that were spreading it.” Its final report on Feb. 1935, substantiated the truth of the fascist plot, to overthrow the President FDR….implicated leaders were big business from GM, DuPont, Morgan banking and others, as reported by Major General Smedley D. Butler who had originally been recruited by the group as the rebellions leader - who instead chose to turn them in. However the names were never released because the plans had not formulated to the point of conspiracy Despite its shortcomings, this was the only “un-American” committee to investigate fascism.
House Un-American Activities Committee….HUAC 1938 Between 1938 and 1969, (HUAC) hunted political radicals In hundreds of public hearings, this congressional panel set out to expose and punish citizens whom it deemed guilty of holding "un-American" views— fascism and communism. People targeted were from all areas especially government, labor, academia, and Hollywood…. The committee aggressively pursued so-called subversives by using (and abusing the Congress’s power of subpoena forcing citizens to testify, holding them in contempt if they refused (so much for the 5 th amendment) HUAC's tactics of scandal, innuendo, and the threat of imprisonment disrupted lives and ruined careers. After years of mounting criticism, Congress renamed HUAC in 1969 and finally abolished it in HUAC and Hollywood You tube video Communism - House Un-american Activities Committee
Panic in Hollywood Led to studios conducting self - purges Hired former FBI agents to investigate and anyone with suspicious political thoughts was placed on a blacklist This spread to other media outlets - radio, television and journalism
A collection of all those thought to be un- American in the entertainment business were listed in a pamphlet titled - Red Channels. The more famous were able to recover but a number of lesser known were blacklisted and effectively shut out of their chosen careers. The most famous were the Hollywood Ten
Front row (from left): Herbert Biberman, attorneys Martin Popper and Robert W. Kenny, Albert Maltz, Lester Cole. Middle row:Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson, Alvah Bessie, Samuel Ornitz. Back row: Ring Lardner Jr., Edwardk Dmytry, Adrian Scott.
Lucille Ball Her “crime” - Ball's grandfather had been an old railroad man who idolized Eugene Debs and convinced young Lucy to register to vote in California as a Communist. Once that was discovered blacklisters banned Lucille from the studios, thus ending a promising movie career. However, Ball’s experience was different in that she recovered her career and popularity through her good ole American entrepreneurships and tenacity, she fought back by forming her own production company and making the well-known television series I Love Lucy and other top TV series such as Star Trek.
Truman’s Executive Order 9835 Also known as the Loyalty order aimed to rally public opinion behind his Cold War foreign policies with investigations conducted under its authority. He also hoped to quiet right-wing critics who accused Democrats of being soft on communism.
Accused of sharing information with a Soviet collaborator Whitaker Chambers and later of perjury the Hiss case riveted the nation as the HUA Committee attempted to determine which man was lying. Much of the case was played out in the media as well, including a Chambers interview on Meet the Press. Hiss was convicted of perjury and served time, after his released he worked until his death at age 92 to clear his name. The Alger Hiss – Whitaker Chambers Case and the Rosenberg Case, 1948, 1950
The legacy of this event is deep: The conviction of Hiss launched a Republican campaign that was based on the politics of fear. Future Republican President Richard Nixon served on HUAC from 1948 and was critical in discovering that Alger Hiss had committed perjury in his testimony, the case launched Nixon’s national career. He went on to become Eisenhower’s VP and was elected President in Ronald Reagan, reversed course changing from New Deal liberalism and embracing a strong conservative view becoming Governor of California, followed by the Presidency in The Hiss Case opened the door for the hysteria of Joseph McCarthy
"The State Department is infested with Communists," he said. "I have here in hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department." Wisconsin (R) Senator J. McCarthy, demagogue
February 9, 1950, in a speech before a Republican women’s group in Wheeling, West Virginia. In this speech he charged that U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson knew of 205 communists in the State Department. Later, McCarthy claimed to have the names of 57 State Department communists, and called for an investigation. June 1950 – the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are arrested and later convicted for passing atomic secrets on to the Soviets heightening tensions
McCarthy chatting with reporters.
McCarthy’s technique was to make sweeping accusations, employ guilt by association and used documents out of context as well slander (he accused many of homosexuality in addition to communism) The public was convinced he was looking out for national security. Most of his supporters tended to be Republican- conservative and blue-collar. He was unable to substantiate his any of his claims but still ruined many government officials and others livelihoods and reputations Almost no one was safe from his accusations, even some of our most celebrated, decorated and trusted fell under suspicion …. This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been most traitorous.... J. McCarthy, Charles Chaplin, left the US for Great Britain After McCarthy and HUAC questioned his political Beliefs and his morality
McCarthy stepped up his attacks with each speech, and in 1951 he goes after Retired General George C. Marshall and former Secretary of State for President Truman (the architect of the Marshall Plan) … he declares Marshall an instrument of Communist Conspiracy, accusations that included: Ignoring British desires and allowing the Russians to beat the Allies to Germany, appeasement to Russian interests, giving away Korea and China to the Communists McCarthy felt the Truman administration was “soft on communism” (Must not have studied the Truman Doctrine, NATO, Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift or the Korean War too well) and wanted Truman impeached. American Hero & Noble Peace Prize winner… General George C. Marshall
McCarthy’s Senate hearings created an atmosphere of conformity and fear. For many the only way to maintain a job was to sign a loyalty pledge, few wanted to be different… conformity became the accepted style - the man in the Grey Flannel Suit… it was more than the title of a movie. Television helped to influence an “ideal American life” through the ads and television shows Suburbs created closer living space, with little room for being “different” in the cookie cutter housing. The fast food industry grew in leaps and bounds through successful campaigning as a family friendly eatery often attracting youngsters with playgrounds and toys. Gender roles were redefined and reinforced by television and movie role as well as the limits for women and minorities in the job market or even in education
McCarthy’s Opposition Overzealous accusations without sufficient (any!) evidence coupled with exposure on television along with challenges by investigative journalist led to the downfall of McCarthy. In 1954 McCarthy tried to take on the army, the hearings were public and broadcast on television a. McCarthy was intensely examined by Joseph Welch, Army attorney. b. By Dec., 1954, Senate passed a resolution condemning McCarthy c. McCarthy died three years later from alcohol and exhaustion.
Political Cartoonist Herb Block drew inspiration for his political commentary from his opposition to the violation of civil liberties by HUAC and later Joseph McCarthy. In fact Block coined the term McCarthyism in one of his Washington Post ‘toons on March 25, About Herb Block
Edward R. Murrow, journalist vs Senator Joseph McCarthy…. In 1953, Murrow made the decision to investigate the case of Milo Radulovich, an Air Force officer who had been discharged based on the accusation his mother and sister were Communist sympathizers. Murrow had chosen to investigate and the evidence shown on See it Now created enough skepticism that Radulovich was reinstated into the Air Force. Edward R Murrow’s love of common America led him to seek out stories of ordinary people, a gifted speaker and story teller these stories of everyday Americans became powerful commentaries on political or social issues. He presented many of these stories in a CBS television series entitled See It Now
Soon after the Radulovich piece aired, it was learned that McCarthy was preparing an attack on Murrow… a form of retribution. As it happened, Murrow had prepared for this w/ his own research and on the March 9, 1954 broadcast Murrow used McCarthy’s own words and pictures, it was a damning portrait of a fanatic. McCarthy demanded a chance to respond and See it Now gave it to him, but his rebuttal, only sealed his fate. The combination of the program’s timing and its persuasive power broke the Senator’s hold over the nation. Lt. Raduluvich and wife Nancy Sen. J. McCarthy
The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. … We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. … We are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent. MURROW CLIP
Work Cited: – McCarthy Photo, cover slidehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullimage.asp?id=47424 firstrunfeatures.com – photo of Sacco Vanzetti supporters - biographical background of Sen. J. McCarthyhttp://www.apl.org/history/mccarthy/biography.html rhttp://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/huac-main.htmlrhttp://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/huac-main.html the Pepsi Cola Kid, and Red Channelshttp://iws.collin.edu/kwilkison/Resources%20for%20Students/redscare.html e-Wisconsin.htm Mrs. Dawn Lane Westmoreland High School