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Spider WebThe Birth of American Anticommunism$
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Nick Fischer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040023

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040023.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Political Repression and Culture War

Political Repression and Culture War

(p.176) Chapter 9 Political Repression and Culture War
Spider Web

Nick Fischer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how wartime and Red Scare repression expanded into a general cultural war on “Bolshevik” causes, individuals, and organizations targeted by the Anticommunist Spider Web during the 1920s. It considers a combination of federal, state, and local ordinances that effected political repression, suppressed free speech and economic liberty, and promoted Americanization in formal education settings led by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Legion. The chapter demonstrates how this climate of repression also led to the collapse of progressivism and impeded social welfare initiatives, gave rise to an amendment designed to make constitutional change virtually impossible, and resulted in the demise of the Roosevelt administration's Federal Theatre Project (FTP). It shows that the Spider Web members and their supporters created a repressive infrastructure of blacklists, witch hunts, loyalty oaths, and compulsory patriotism. In the process, the Spider Web strengthened its influence not only on the doctrine of anticommunism but also on the nation's political culture.

Keywords:   anticommunism, cultural war, Anticommunist Spider Web, political repression, free speech, economic liberty, Americanization, progressivism, social welfare, Federal Theatre Project

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