Tttafter a Long Period of Agitation

Red Scare
A phenomenon known as the Red Scare took place in the United States during World War I and some years afterward. Anger and fear among many in the American population that dissidents and subversives were sabotaging the war effort led to repression and arrests of suspected threats against American society. Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1918, making it illegal to impede the war effort by encouraging draft resistance. Leftist radicals were emboldened by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and were eager to respond to Lenin's call for world socialism.

The United States was in turmoil throughout 1919. The huge number of returning veterans could not find work, something the Wilson administration had given little thought to. After the war, fear of subversion resumed in the context of the Red Scare, massive strikes in major industries (steel, meatpacking) and violent race riots. Radicals bombed Wall Street and workers went on strike in Seattle, in February. During 1919, a series of more than 20 riotous and violent black-white race-related incidents occurred. These included the Chicago, Omaha, and Elaine Race Riots.

On May 1, 1919, a May Day parade in Cleveland, Ohio, protesting the imprisonment of the Socialist Party leader, Eugene Debs, erupted into the violent May Day Riots. A series of bombings in 1919 and assassination attempts further inflamed the situation. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer conducted the Palmer Raids, a series of raids and arrests of non-citizen socialists, anarchists, radical unionists, and immigrants. By 1920, over 10,000 arrests were made, and the aliens caught up in these raids were deported back to Europe, most notably the anarchist Emma Goldman.

[edit] Aftermath of World War I

A 1919 sheet music coverA popular Tin Pan Alley song of 1919 asked, concerning the United States troops returning from World War I, "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On the Farm After They've Seen Paree?". In fact, many did not remain "down on the...