Adam J. Hodges
2019 The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era  
As the centennial of the First Red Scare arrives, the time has come for a substantial scholarly reconsideration of the event. The first attempt at scholarly synthesis of the Red Scare appeared in 1955, its released delayed by the pall of fear spread by McCarthyism. 1 Robert K. Murray's book, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920, focused mainly on understanding the repression of radicals and labor militants enabled by a frenzied press in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution.
more » ... ng to Murray, the Red Scare was a temporary, irrational, and focused phenomenon-a meteoric hysteria. Despite the fact that historians have since produced much valuable work on diverse aspects of the period, Murray's book remains crucial because no scholar has attempted a multifaceted synthesis entirely focused on and encompassing the whole period of the Red Scare of 1919-20 that moves beyond his narrow theme. The Red Scare had an unprecedentedly wide chilling effect on union organizing and radical politics in the United States, but it went considerably beyond that and was only partly a reaction to the global ambitions of Bolshevism. It was also a complex array of campaigns to reverse increasing momentum toward a rapidly diversifying polity. "Red Summer" violence against African Americans and a powerful push to shut out immigration while accelerating deportation were reactionary retaliations in domestic battles over economic and political inclusion. A growing civil libertarian consciousness and a commitment to cultural modernism among progressives also generated conflict. 2 Fears over the transformation of gender roles as women were poised to gain meaningful citizenship created another major front between emancipation and containment. This special issue of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era offers a reassessment of the Red Scare that goes beyond Murray through examination of several key perspectives that are underdeveloped or absent in his book, with the goal of broadening our understanding of the event's overall nature and importance. The authors examine how African Americans, conservatives, feminists, immigrants, progressives, revolutionaries, and striking workers both shaped and were impacted by the Red Scare while also tracing overlap and crucial connections between these groups as well as suggesting new ways of seeing them. These essays capture the breadth of the Red Scare in both its national and global reach, its immediacy in local life, and its transformation over time within its moment as well as in strands of continuity reaching beyond the period. This issue is the first substantial scholarly collaboration entirely focused on the Red Scare
doi:10.1017/s1537781418000579 fatcat:ybdrn4st7ndsxhbmz57hux2kbu