The Red Scare and the Individual in Society |
Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill |
James ShepardIS 34012/10/2012Help Received: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/08/, see foot notes |
During the First World War Russia was swept by the Bolshevik revolution. This revolution led to Russia pulling out of the war and forming the first “communist” nation. In America there were already Union factions and a Socialist party, both groups opposed the war and therefor labeled as unpatriotic because they were openly against the war. During the war nine million Americans worked in the war industry and another four were actually on the front line, and after the war almost all of these Americans were out of work. After the war the number of people who joined these groups rose considerably. The American public associated any strikes with both the unions and the socialist party. A Strike in Seattle was the first to start the “Red Scare”, people started to fear that Seattle would be lost to the “Reds”, there was also a strike in Boston, people thought the “Reds” were taking over and the scare started and it moved across the nation. Even the government was not immune, thousands of people were arrested and either jailed or deported. 32 states make it illegal to display the red flag. During this time in American history it was common for people to spy on each and turn in their neighbor for having leftist tendencies.
Why did the American society react so severely to these riots and strikes when there had been other riots and strikes in the past? This paper will evaluate how Mill and Tocqueville would try to explain this phenomenon, and how they would critique each other’s point of view.
Tocqueville, spoke about how an individual would be born free but the moment that they become aware you are bound by the societal norms. This he called the tyranny of the majority. This is where an individual that is part of the minority is subject...