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Commonsense Anticommunism – Labor and Civil Liberties between the World Wars - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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Commonsense Anticommunism: Labor and Civil Liberties between the World Wars

Jennifer Luff


Between the Great War and Pearl Harbor, conservative labor leaders declared themselves America's “first line of defense” against Communism. This account shows how the American Federation of Labor (AFL) fanned popular anticommunism but defended Communists' civil liberties in the aftermath of the 1919 Red Scare. The AFL's “commonsense anticommunism,” it argues, steered a middle course between the American Legion and the American Civil Liberties Union, helping to check campaigns for federal sedition laws. But in the 1930s, frustration with the New Deal order led labor conservatives to redbait the ... More

Keywords: labor conservatives, Communism, anticommunism, civil liberties, Red Scare, American Legion, sedition laws, New Deal, Roosevelt, liberal unionists

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780807835418
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807869895_luff


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jennifer Luff, author