One of the main points of schmidts book is to

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One of the main points of Schmidt's book is to disprove the idea that the FBI and the Justice Department acted in response to the mass hysteria that struck the nation after WW I. He argues that in reality the Bureau and the Justice Department often went to extensive lengths to actually create the animosity and fear. Radicals were demonized so that the FBI could easy remove anyone that threatened the status quo while maintaining public support. Schmidt also hopes to discredit the notion that the FBI became largely independent of federal government. Instead Schmidt argues that the White House and the FBI worked in tandem in order to help centralize federal power. The FBI was integral to ensuring that social
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unrest did not interfere with the new corporatization of America. Urbanization, racial unrest, and the a more powerful labor sector all threatened to damage the American society and had to be handled. Schmidt also urges us to realize that the activities of the FBI during the Red Scare were not aberrant or in anyway different from their activities before the Scare. They were simply following their established routine to its logical conclusion. Deportations, raids, and surveillance were all commonplace long before they reached their fever pitch during the Scare. As Schmidt puts it the Red Scare was,“a short-lived but intense period of political intolerance and repression of Communists, radicals and other non-conformists, was not an isolated incident but part of a larger American tradition.” (Schmidt page 24)America has a long history or repressing dissidents going all the way back to the original Alien and Sedition acts of 1798. Schmidt demonstrates that that the social and political landscape for the Red Scare was shaped during the first world war. Labor became unprecedentedly strong during the war and afterward demanded more rights and compensation. African Americans moved in droves to the north during the war in the Great Migration, this influx of African Americans led to intense racial tensions. These tensions were only made worse by the tendency of African Americans to be hired to do the work of strikers. During this tumultuous time Radicalism began to rise. The Bolshevik revolution bloomed in Russia in 1917 it was beginning to reach the American shores. At it's heart the Red Scare is an attempt by the forces of the status quo to quell these dissidents. The FBI was simply the tool used by the federal government to bring them back into line. In the Spring of 1919 political violence suddenly broke out. 36 bombs mailed to politicians were intercepted, gatherings of Radicals were assaulted by patriots, and bombs were detonated in 8 cities around the country. One of the targets was Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, who
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immediately declared war upon the radicals after the attempt on his life. He created a special division whose only purpose would be to seek out and destroy radicals. The aptly named Radical Division would be headed by the young J. Edgar Hoover.
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