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It’s the 1920’s and fear sweeps through the United States. After the 1917 Bolshevik Russian Revolution where communists overthrew the Russian government, the United States federal government was determined to prevent a similar event in America. American citizens also had a growing fear that the new communist government in Russia would spread to the United States and threaten the nation’s democracy.  This fear of communism was known as “The Red Scare” or “The First Red Scare.” During this time, inflation was increasing, soldiers who had returned home from WWI were desperate for work, and labor strikes were common. This unrest made the Red Scare problematic during the 1920’s in both political and social aspects. According to Discovery Education, “In 1920, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents carried out a series of raids across the country the United States of America.” These raids were an attempt to prevent a communist uprising from overthrowing the United States government after the political troubles following WWI . As stated by britannica.com, in an article titled Palmer Raids: United States History, “The raids, fueled by social unrest following World War I, were led by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and are viewed as the climax of that era’s so-called Red Scare.” During these raids (known as the Palmer Raids), around 5,000 people were arrested without a hearing. Russians were deported and suspected socialists were tried unfairly. This gave birth to political problems because it threatened civil rights by ignoring the Sixth Constitutional Amendment that all Americans have the right to a speedy and fair trial. Social problems that led to the Red Scare were caused by labor unions and workers on strike. Labor unions began demanding changes in the economic system and calling for the government to take control of their industries. Protests flooded the streets and bombs were being exploded in homes of political power. Things eventually went way out of hand when the Boston, Massachusetts police went on strike to protest higher wages. According to history.com, “When the Boston Police went on strike on September 9, 1919 the country’s leading newspapers sounded the alarm bells… Others newspapers saw it as evidence of the spread of communism.” Even though the government intervened in time to avoid extremely damaging the community, thieves ran loose and unprotected residences were looted. After order was restored, many Americans were fed up with the threat of communism and growing labor unions. They began attacking and accusing their fellow Americans of being extreme communists through a campaign. As stated by learningenglish.voanews.com in an article titled American History: Fear of Communism in 1920 Threatens Civil Rights, “Leaders of this campaign accused thousands of people of being communists, or ‘reds.'” In an attempt to prevent the rise of communism, this campaign grew into the Red Scare, socially dividing the country and turning Americans against their fellow Americans.   The Roaring Twenties were a time of prosperity and change in the United States – the Harlem Renaissance rocked New York with new musical styles, thriving artists, and an empowered Black community. During this time, the country’s economic growth grew from the laissez-faire policies of the government, as well. However, amidst all the success and development during the 1920’s, a dangerous threat emerged.  Born out of fear and suspicion, the Red Scare led major to social and political unrest during the 1920’s.

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