National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1907-1930: We are a diverse nation, confronting our differences

May 31, 1920
Thousands rounded up in raids provoked by the “Red Scare”

A. Mitchell Palmer

After a wave of bombings aimed at public officials, Attorney General Palmer and his young colleague J. Edgar Hoover ordered a series of sweeping arrests.

More than 5,000 suspected Communists and anarchists, many of them aliens, were rounded up in raids, often without arrest warrants. Many were beaten and detained; 556 were deported.

At first people applauded Palmer’s actions; the Communist Revolution in Russia has stirred fears here at home.

But a growing number of critics, in Congress and the country, accuse Palmer of setting aside freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. A newly formed group, the American Civil Liberties Union, is saying it’s Palmer’s “illegal” activities that are the real threat to America.

Read about it in the New York times

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