Palmer Raids Lead to Deportations of Immigrants (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: The Palmer raids, fueled by extremist, anti-immigrant sentiments, were the most spectacular anti-civil rights excesses of the Red Scare of 1919-1920.
Summary of Event
In an attempt to rid the nation of radicalism, in 1919 United States Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer ordered various police units of the government to raid the homes and headquarters of suspected radicals and aliens. The raids and the arrests that followed were directed against those, usually foreign-born, who were accused of radicalism. This offense covered everything from parliamentary socialism to Bolshevism, encompassing “radical feminism,” anarchism, and labor militancy as well. In the immediate postwar period, American resistance to anything foreign stemmed from rumors and formal pronouncements of a great radical foreign conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the American way of life. Many Americans, encouraged by political rhetoric and official pronouncements, were convinced that a communist revolution was imminent and that a reaffirmation of traditional American values, coupled with a good dose of law and order, was the only thing that would make America safe for Americans.
In several respects, Palmer’s antiradical crusade continued the espionage and sedition prosecutions of the war years. The Overman Committee investigating German espionage during World War I, for example, simply switched to hunting communists and...
(The entire section is 2065 words.)
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