The Red Scare of 1919 Essay

The Red Scare of 1919 was the first of two major periods in American History when fright of radicalism culminated in the persecution and exile of Americans thought to be groups ( Communists. nihilists. or socialists ) . An unprecedented event. the Red Scare of 1919 exhibits how popular suppression and fright of radicalism can hold black effects.

The causes of the Red Scare are legion and varied. nevertheless. one of the most of import factors that contributed to the panic was the Acts of the Apostless passed during World War I. During the war. social-anarchists did non back up American engagement. nor did they back up the subsequent bill of exchange. In response to the dissent. Congress passed the Sedition Act ( really. amended the Espionage Act ) . It was of import in relation to the Red Scare because it allowed for censorship of extremist literature every bit good as ordinance of the mail. It was directed against revolutionists and. hence. project a really wide cyberspace. Because of the Sedition act. many persons were arrested for administering media that criticized the American military ( Eugene Debs. caput of the Socialist Party. was one of them ) .

It was in response to this act that Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes set forth the “clear and present danger” philosophy and marked the beginning of modern First Amendment law. Therefore. the Sedition Act of 1918 was of import in the infliction of censoring after World War I. “Reds” were seen as a danger to the American system of authorities. economic stableness. and manner of life. In this sense. the war produced an epoch of intolerance for revolutionists. and it was this attitude that provided a mature scene for the Red Scare of 1919 to take topographic point. The Sedition Act was the legal alibi people used to modulate. censor. prosecute. and deport Americans thought to be groups.

Intolerance during the war would do Americans to fear immigrants and groups subsequently. and it would merely take a small flicker to do full blown craze. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia merely deepened American’s frights because they felt the same thing could go on on their dirt. The labour unrest following the terminal of World War I would turn out to be instrumental in lighting the fire that was the Red Scare of 1919.

The old ages after the war were marked by economic convulsion and labour agitation. At first. labourers expected the good working conditions. a basic of the wartime economic system. to go on after the war was over. The economic system was in good form because war clip contracts had cased industry to din. Labor was supported by the authorities during the war in order to maintain production degrees high. After the war ended. nevertheless. contracts were canceled. which caused lifting unemployment. and directors stopped collaborating with labour. Besides. the cost of life had risen 99 % by 1919 because of rising prices.

Without authorities support. labour brotherhoods began to strike in order to recapture the additions they had made during the war. One such work stoppage took topographic point in Seattle and involved 60s thousand workers ( Painter. 346 ) . Soon. this work stoppage and others were labeled as a Communist attempt to sabotage the American economic system. The rhythm of craze had begun. Labor brotherhoods were seen as Bolshevik sponsored organisations. and brotherhood members were labeled as Communists. America began to go afraid because they saw there manner of life stealing off. This fright would shortly turn into action.

The fright of radicalism stemmed. as stated earlier. from the epoch of intolerance during World War I. Propaganda techniques that one time united the American populace against Germany and hyphenated Americans during the war were easy converted into an instrument to project a negative visible radiation on Bolsheviks. After all. America was non happy with Russia go forthing the war and establishing a signifier of economic system that was straight opposite of capitalist economy. Bolsheviks. hence. were seen as a menace to democracy.

Similarly. the forming of the Communist International was seen as an effort to distribute communism throughout the universe. Peoples felt insecure after the war. and this feeling was merely bolstered by the thought that communists were working to subvert the American economic system and authorities. When a series of mail bombs were discovered. one of which detonating at Attorney General Palmer’s place. they were labeled as a Communist attempt to sabotage America. The Red Scare of 1919 had begun.

Labor brotherhoods were hardest hit. However. anyone seen as extremist was persecuted and labeled a ruddy. Elected functionaries who were members of the socialist party were dismissed from office. In fact. the New York State Assembly dismissed five elective socialists. However. the most graphic illustration of the extent of the panic is illustrated by the Palmer foraies. in which six thousand people were arrested and five 100s were deported. There were really few Communists in the United States in 1919. yet Palmer viewed them as a immense menace.

Encouraged by Congress. Palmer began a series of showy and good publicised foraies against groups and collectivists. Striking without warning and without warrants. Palmer’s work forces smashed brotherhood offices and the headquarters’ of Communist and Socialist organisations. They concentrated. whenever possible. on foreigners instead than citizens. because foreigners had fewer rights.

Equally rapidly as it had began. the Red Scare of 1919 ended. Although the craze had subsided. effects still arose. The panic. every bit good as the foraies. was seen as unproductive. Of the legion apprehensions made in association with the panic. merely a little per centum of the suspected Communists were deported. Therefore. authorities persecution of revolutionists merely stopped because it was non working every bit good as hoped. yet the fright and hate of groups was still looming in the distance. It would once more resurface in the 1950’s during the McCarthy epoch when another Red Scare. more organized and barbarous. would take topographic point. America had learned how to cover with reds. and these lessons would be efficaciously applied in the following campaign against communism in America.

Finally. a more seeable and immediate effect of the Red Scare of 1919 was the mass fright of in-migration that took topographic point afterwards. The extremely ocular foraies by Palmer had a deep consequence on Americans because the foraies exposed the “enemy. ” Restrictions and quotas were placed on in-migration. particularly on those people coming from Eastern Europe. Fear of Communists turned into hatred of immigrants. and American citizens would hold a difficult clip demuring new reachings. In many instances. immigrants were automatically labeled as revolutionists. nihilists. and Communists.

The association between immigrants and societal turbulence would hold a negative consequence on American immigrants in the old ages to come. a fact most vividly portrayed through the test of Sacco and Venzetti. Besides. for many old ages to come. brotherhoods were seen in a negative visible radiation. The association of communism with brotherhoods would go on to be a hinderance for labour and the promotion of labour reforms.