Essay Example about American Civil Liberties Union and How It Impacted the American Culture

Published: 2022-04-12
Essay Example about American Civil Liberties Union and How It Impacted the American Culture
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture United States Liberty
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1801 words
16 min read

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in the year 1920 during the period of "Red Scare." This was a time when the American Attorney General, Mitchell Palmer tried to suppress the rights of the immigrants through deportation and the detention. The reason why the immigrants were supposed to be deported and detained was due to their varying political views ("10. The American Civil Liberties Union" 14). The American Civil Liberties Union, therefore, fought against palmer's campaign of persecution as well as deportation. The fight against political immigrants which had started in 1920, gained a lot of support after 11th September when the government went ahead and introduced a discriminatory measure referred as individual registration. Basically, this program was directed towards young men of 25 years and above who were mainly Muslim and from Arab Nations. The young men were supposed to report to the immigration offices where they would be photographed, fingerprinted and cross-examined. Among other areas that American Civil Liberties union focused on included; civil rights, gender, race, and other issues associated with well being of America. Therefore, the American Civil Liberties Union was the most important body that protected the violation of the basic human rights, which the United States government had made clear intentions of violating through introductions and implementation of biased legislation.

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The instructions from Palmer led to arrest and detainment of many people who were suspected to be of different political views and opinion from that of the government of the United States. The police used to arrest such people without warrants and imprisoned them for an indefinite period without official charges. The American Civil Liberties Union, therefore, could not accept such violations of the human rights and hence publicized and documented the unlawful actions of the government. The American Civil Liberties Union also planned for an expansion program that would focus on police brutality led by one of the activists called Baldwin ("19. Civil Liberties during World War II" 25). The program, therefore, helped in fighting police brutality and censorship thus giving individuals freedom. Since the blacks were treated differently from whites, American Civil Liberties union movement demonstrated that separate although equal laws governing the Southern prejudice were out of order.

Before the formation of American Civil Liberties Union, U.S Supreme Court used to violate freedom of immigrants speech, against the guarantees of the First Amendment. In fact, civil rights advocates were jailed every time they attempted to distribute anti-war literature. Besides, the minorities were always suspected due to political radicalism. Segregation was part of the society until American Civil Liberties Union was founded and still after its foundation, the challenges that the union sought to address would not be met easily. The members of the group and citizens of the nation suffered injustice because they had no civil rights in place to protect them from harm. It was due to such challenges that Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert Da Silver and others decided to create a change by establishing American Civil Liberties Union. They then worked in a critical field which included conscience, freedom of expression and association. The organization was to be a nonpartisan, nonprofit and public interest that was dedicated significantly towards protecting civil liberties and human rights of all individuals.

The other focus of American Civil Liberties Union in 1920 was based on freedom of expression as well as speech in the labor association. Since most of its efforts were linked to labor group, The ACLU emerged to fight its enemy groups such Industrial Defense Association, National Civic Federation, Allied Patriotic Societies as well as American Legion. Also, American Civil Liberties Union led some efforts in non-labor fields such as promoting free talk in all public schools. During that period, American Civil Liberties union itself had prohibited giving of speeches within New York public institutions. The American Civil Liberties Union, therefore, worked with NAACP to stand against racial discrimination matters in court. They protected free speech despite the advocation of views and judgments. On the other hand, the communist party in united states was oppressed and harassed at all times by the officials in the government thus seeking regular services of American Civil Liberties Union. Their involvement with the communist party made the American Civil Liberties union seemed to focus much on engaging themselves in unethical behaviors. As a result, the relationship between the communists and American Civil Liberties Union was restrained.The American Civil Liberties Union also took a big part in passing Norris-La Guardia Act in 1932. This is the federal law that restricted the employers from stopping employees who needed to join unions. The bill prevented the act of banning strikes, labor organizing deeds and unions using injunctions. Besides, the American Civil Liberties Union initiated a global attempt towards reducing the misconduct, for instance, coming up with fake confessions in police sections ("About the ACLU"). The movement published Lawlessness in Law Enforcement report in 1931 which was under the sponsorship of Hoover Herbert's Commission. In the year 1934, the organization made an effort of lobbying for an entrance of the (IRA) Indian Reorganization Act. The law helped in restoring some autonomy to tribes of Native Americans. As a result, they also established penalties to whoever kidnapped the children of Native Americans.

The ACLU decided to further particular factors about liberties while affecting the judgments of some legal cases presented in courts. Since its origin, the organization always initiated test cases and intervened in some instances that were readily filed in courts. As a result, it may have directly provided legal guidance in some individual cases. It also commented on matters related to civil liberties in a situation through filling an ally of the court. One of the most American Civil Liberties union remembered trial case was that of Scopes trial in 1925.American Civil Liberties Union supported the verdict of John T. Scopes, Tennessee science tutor, to disobey a Tennessee law unwelcoming the teaching of Darwin Charles evolution theory. The organization was active in changing censorship laws. It did the overturning through test cases, consequential from the planned acquisition of prohibited materials as well as resulting trial and test. The American Civil Liberties Union did not emerge victorious all-time in the cases; however, the airing of such challenges to people resulted in victory on appeal. Due to its fights against censorship, such books for instance 'James Joyce's Ulysses' was then allowed to be imported in America. The American Civil Liberties Union offered defense counsel in the Scottsboro test case that took place in 1931 to 1935 and secondly in Sacco-Vanzetti case that happened in 1921.The most striking American Civil Liberties union cases were about the defense of the freedom of the religion during the 1930s concerning Jehovah's Witnesses who did not accept, on conscience grounds, to let their kids salute the flag into their classrooms ("About the ACLU"). In the year 1950s and '60s, American Civil Liberties union movement handled test cases in court questioning the constitutionality of allegiance as well as the blacklisting of believed left-wing subversives. The court had banned prayers in all public schools settling that the act violated the constitutional principle of the state and the church. The ACLU, therefore, stood up saying that the children had the rights to pray in schools.

Another striking moment in the history of American Civil Liberties Union took place in 1978.During this time, ACLU organization protected Nazi group that needed to march all over the Chicago suburb, Illinois, whereby some Holocaust victims resided ("19. Civil Liberties During World War II" 29). The American Civil Liberties Union, therefore, influenced a federal court to make three orders that would place considerable limitations on the right to protest and express their thoughts. American Civil Liberties Union explained that constitutional rights should apply to all groups including the unpopular ones. In fact, many people believed that it was the essential hour for the emergence of American Civil Liberties Union. The organization was committed to the guarding of the law in the most challenging situations since it was founded. Since the happening of the most tragic Nazi attack, American Civil Liberties Union still worked without tire where it opposed policies to sacrifice people's fundamental freedoms on behalf of national the defense. The movement also restored essential liberties lost due to policies that expanded the power of government to invade peoples' privacy, punish dissent as well as imprisonment of individuals without due process of the law.The battle for the right to speak freely has been a bedrock of the American Civil Liberties Union's central goal since the association was established in 1920, driven by the need to secure the protected privileges of upright dissidents and anti-war protesters. The association's work rapidly spread to battling restriction, securing the privilege to assembly, and advancing free discourse in schools. Almost a century later, the battle persisted, worse even taking more advanced and complex forms. The ACLU's privacy, speech, and Technology project continued to fight for freedom of expression in its innumerable forms - whether through media, protest, online discourse or even through the arts - even with new dangers. For instance, new avenues for censorship have emerged alongside the abundance of chances for discourse afforded by the Internet (Walker 303). The threat of mass government monitoring freezes the free articulation of regular subjects, lawmakers routinely endeavor to put new confinements on online movement, and news coverage is criminalized in the name of national security. The ACLU has continuously been on the watch to guarantee that the First Amendment's protections stay powerful - in the midst of war or peace, online or off, for bloggers or the institutional press.

In conclusion, the ACLU guarantees to stay on the cutting edge of the open deliberation over the extent of the Bill of Rights and the desire of citizens to be secured by their legislature. Since 1920 the American Civil Liberties Union has remained firm in its nonpartisan mission of defending civil liberties and promoting civil rights, ready to go for opportunities that support justice and equality for all as well as meet challenges that are bound to come their way especially in times of autocracy, the American Civil Liberties Union work is paramount.

Works Cited

About the ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union,

American Civil Liberties Union. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia, 30 Nov. 2017,

Civil Liberties During World War II. Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union, 2001.

Early Civil Liberties Career. Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union, 2001.

Walker, Samuel. In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the Aclu. Oxford UP, 1990.

WE THE PEOPLE. "ACLU History: A Dark Moment in History: Japanese Internment Camps." American Civil Liberties Union, 1 Sept. 2010,

The American Civil Liberties Union. Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union, 2001.

"ACLU History." American Civil Liberti...

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