In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU

Overview

This updated comprehensive history of the American Civil Liberties Union recounts the ACLU's stormy history since its founding in 1920 to fight for free speech and explores its involvement in some of the most famous causes in American history, including the Scopes "monkey trial," the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Cold War anti-Communist witch hunts, and the civil rights movement. The new introduction covers the history of the organization and developments in civil liberties in the ...

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Overview

This updated comprehensive history of the American Civil Liberties Union recounts the ACLU's stormy history since its founding in 1920 to fight for free speech and explores its involvement in some of the most famous causes in American history, including the Scopes "monkey trial," the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Cold War anti-Communist witch hunts, and the civil rights movement. The new introduction covers the history of the organization and developments in civil liberties in the 1990s, including the U.S. Supreme Court's declaration of the Communications Decency Act as unconstitutional in ACLU v. Reno.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is more than a compelling history of the ACLU. It is the fascinating story of America's most exciting legal struggles and of rights reviled in one era and vindicated in the next." —Eleanor Holmes Norton

"[A] marvelous history of the ACLU. It made me relive some of my past life and taught me things I had either forgotten or never knew." —William Kunstler

"[A] fusion of masterful scholarship with libertarian thinking. An indispensable access to the very essence of American ethos."—Jerzy Kosinski

"The story is so dramatic it sometimes tells itself."—New York Times Book Review

"A definitive history . . . written tightly and well."—Washington Post Book World

"A rich, textured history of the ACLU . . . brings the group and its members to life. . . . Walker's discussion of anticommunism within the ACLU is one of the best examples of his own lack of bias and his willingness to present the organization's history, warts and all."—Harvard Law Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809322701
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 536
  • Sales rank: 863,361
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Walker is Kiewit Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is the author of ten books, most recently The Rights Revolution: Community and Rights in America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The ACLU, Civil Liberties, and American Life 3
Pt. I Origins, 1917-1919
1 War, Repression, and the Origins of the Free Speech Fight, 1917-1918 11
2 Roger Baldwin and the Founding of the ACLU 30
Pt. II Lean Years, 1920-1932
3 Civil Liberties in the Wilderness, 1920-1924 51
4 The First Victories, 1925-1932 72
Pt. III Advances and Retreats, 1933-1945
5 The New Deal Revolution in Civil Liberties 95
6 International Currents: Origins of the Cold War 115
7 Civil Liberties in the Age of World War, 1941-1945 135
Pt. IV American Inquisition: The Cold War
8 The Anti-Communist Crusade Begins, 1947-1950 173
9 McCarthyism and Recovery, 1950-1954 197
Pt. V The Great Years, 1954-1964
10 The First Amendment As an Absolute 217
11 Revolution in Equality and Due Process 237
Pt. VI The Rights Revolution, 1964-1974
12 The Civil Rights Revolution 261
13 From Vietnam to Watergate: Civil Liberties and National Security, 1965-1974 279
14 The New Civil Liberties, 1965-1974 299
Pt. VII Holding the Line, 1975-1990
15 Skokie: Crisis and Recovery, 1977-1979 323
16 The Reagan Era's Assault on Civil Liberties 341
17 The Bicentennial, Bork, and Bush, 1987-1988 363
Notes 379
Manuscript Sources 445
Bibliographic Essay 449
Index 453
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