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“Red Scares” And Civil Liberties Essay

1249 words - 5 pages

After World War I, American economy suffered a small slump while trying to return to normal peacetime production. Prices soared and the job market was flooded with returning soldiers, making jobs hard to find. Socialist and communist supporters sprung up and provoked the already violent labor disputes that were taking place all around the country. The United States was in turmoil and many feared an American version of Russia?s Bolshevik Revolution was about to take place. So, prompted by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, the FBI launched a series of raids on immigrants and labor radicals. This period of time became known as the first ?Red Scare?.Similarly, after World War II and during ...view middle of the document...

They were also both Italian aliens. They were convicted for the murders and sentenced to death, but appealed their convictions numerous times. They never won. Their entire case was simply built on circumstantial evidence and they had many supporters who believed they were victims of the anticommunist frenzy sweeping over the nation. At his execution, Bartolomeo Vanzetti even stated that that is why he thought they were singled out: ?I am suffering because I am a radical; I have suffered because I was an Italian, and indeed I am an Italian.? (1).Vanzetti and Sacco were not the only people to have their rights stepped on during either of the Red Scares. According to the Bill of Rights, when accused of a crime, a person has a right to know what they are being accused of, and they have a right to an impartial jury. During the Red Scares, if a person was accused of being a communist, it was almost impossible to find an unbiased jury. The jury members were already dead-set against the defendant, and even if the evidence was insufficient they would still convict. Sometimes the accused communist were not even given a trial and were just sentenced on the spot. People were stripped left and right of the civil liberties guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights. All for the sake of ?national security?. While some of the accusations against people may have been rightly justified, many others who were the victims of the ?Palmer Raids? or McCarthyism were only innocents who were deemed ?weird? or ?wrong? by society. For example, many homosexuals were thought to be communists, and if you were a communist, then you were thought to also be a homosexual.Although the idea behind the Red Scares? keeping the nation safe? was a noble one, the government was seriously flawed in their approach and went about it in a less-than-noble fashion. According to the Bill of Rights, a person?s civil liberties are absolute, and although sometimes it is necessary for the public to forgo some of them, like in times of war, the Red Scares took that sacrifice to the extreme which needn?t have been done. And some civil liberties should never be taken away, even if the world was on the dawn of the Apocalypse.Here is an example of a right promised by the Bill of Rights that can be taken away to protect public safety: the freedom of speech. There is actually a law that says a person can be prosecuted for his...

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