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Civil Liberties. Bertram C. Bruce Graduate School of Library & Information Science U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. History. 1798 -- Alien & Sedition Acts 1862-65 -- Habeas Corpus 1917-20 -- deportations 1942 -- Executive Order 9066 1947-1954 -- HUAC, McCarthy

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civil liberties

Civil Liberties

Bertram C. Bruce

Graduate School of

Library & Information Science

U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • 1798 -- Alien & Sedition Acts
  • 1862-65 -- Habeas Corpus
  • 1917-20 -- deportations
  • 1942 -- Executive Order 9066
  • 1947-1954 -- HUAC, McCarthy
  • 2001-present -- Patriot Act, IAO
1798 war raging in europe
1798 -- war raging in Europe
  • Pres. John Adams initiates military measures
  • …leading to undeclared war with France
  • opposition from Thomas Jefferson
  • Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, accuse Democratic-Republicans of treason
alien and sedition acts
Alien and Sedition Acts
  • Alien Act: deport any non-citizen judged dangerous to US peace and safety
    • no right to a hearing or to present evidence
  • Sedition Act: prohibit false, scandalous, or malicious writing against the government
    • aggressive criticism of Adams deemed unlawful
  • "Court of history" rules
  • Pres. Jefferson pardons all the convicted
  • Congress repays the fines
  • Federalist party declines in power
1862 65 civil war
1862-65 -- Civil War
  • more deaths than in any other US war
  • 1/3 of soldiers were casualties
  • need for military security
  • fear of enemies at home
suspend writ of habeas corpus
Suspend Writ of Habeas Corpus
  • Pres. Abraham Lincoln suspends writ of habeas corpus eight times
  • "all persons,,, guilty of any disloyal practice.. shall be subject to court martial"
  • 38,000 civilians imprisoned
  • 1866: Supreme Court says Lincoln exceeded his authority
  • Habeas Corpus cannot be suspended, even in war
1917 20 world war i
1917-20 -- World War I
  • US enters World War I
  • many citizens believe the goal is not to "make the world safe for democracy," but to protect the interests and investments of the wealthy
  • fear of immigrants
federal prosecutions
Federal prosecutions
  • 2000 people prosecuted for opposing the war and the draft, up to 15 years in prison
  • 245 people, including Emma Goldman, deported to Russia.
  • Supreme Court upholds convictions of Eugene V. Debs and others
  • government releases every person who had been convicted
  • Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt grants amnesty, restoring civil rights
  • eventually, Supreme Court overrules every WWI decision supporting actions against dissent
1941 45 world war ii
1941-45 -- World war II
  • Dec. 7, 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
  • "loss of innocence"
  • fear of resident Japanese
executive order 9066
Executive Order 9066
  • Feb. 19, 1942: designates military areas from which "any persons may be excluded"
  • 110,000 people forced to leave home; 2/3 were US citizens
  • no charges, no hearings, no knowledge of their fate; many lose everything
  • two days before, Atty, Gen, Francis Biddle: "no evidence of any planned sabotage"
  • 1944: Korematsu v US upholds FDR
  • 1980: Congress concludes Exec. Order 9066 violates civil rights
  • 1988: Civil Liberties Act offers Pres. apology and reparations
1950s korean war cold war
1950s -- Korean War, Cold War
  • fear of Communism
  • anti-Semitism
  • 1947: Parnell Thomas and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigates organized labor, the Federal Government, Hollywood
  • 1950: Sen. McCarthy claims he has a list of "known communists" employed by the State Department
  • 1952: McCarthy becomes chair of the Permanent Investigations Subcommittee
  • 1951-52: hearings lead to "naming of names"; more than 324 people fired by the studios and no longer permitted to work
  • December, 1954: Senate votes to censure McCarthy
what does this mean for today
What does this mean for today?
  • Greater awareness of the importance of civil liberties?
  • Enlarged sensibility to global concerns?
  • Expanded means for information exchange?
a pattern
A pattern?

Conditions: war hysteria, racial and religious prejudice, fear

(1) abridgement of civil liberties in the name of patriotism

(2) hardship and injustices

(3) eventual repudiation of the war-based laws and restoration of civil liberties

2001 03 terrorism
2001-03 -- Terrorism
  • NYC World Trade Center attack on 9/11
  • fear of terrorism
  • racial and religious prejudice
patriot act i
Patriot Act I
  • expands wiretaps, search warrants, pen/trap orders, and subpoenas
  • allows spying by foreign intelligence agencies
  • FBI and CIA can now access phones and computers w/o demonstrating use by a suspect or target of an order
patriot act i more
Patriot Act I -- more
  • ISPs, libraries forced to hand over user information
  • new definitions of terrorism expand scope of surveillance
  • collection of DNA for "any crime of violence."
  • information sharing between domestic law enforcement and intelligence
information awareness office
Information Awareness Office
  • will imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate, and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness that is useful for preemption, national security warning, and national security decision making.
  • original IAO site
patriot act ii
Patriot Act II
  • removes Freedom of Information Act protections for detainees
  • nullifies consent decrees against state law enforcement agencies that prevent spying on individuals and organizations
  • strips citizenship from anyone who gives "material support" to any group that the Atty. Gen. designates as a terrorist organization
naturally the common people don t want war
"Naturally the common people don't want war:

Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

--Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials, 1946

  • Schneider, Karen G.(2002, March) , The Patriot Act: Last refuge of a scoundrel. American Libraries.
  • Stone, Geoffrey R. (2003, February 16). Civil liberties at risk again: A U. S. tradition. Chicago Tribune.