Special Edition: Historical Analysis of the American Civil Liberties Union – ACLU Involvement in Anti-war Demonstrations, 1965-1971

Brandon Scribner, Bowling Green State University

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/aclu/scribner.html

Introduction: Throughout the ACLU’s history it was involved with some of the most politically and socially galvanizing issues to occur in the United States. One such issue was the anti-war response to the United States involvement in Vietnam. When determining the ACLU’s involvement during this time many important questions arise. In order to better understand the general idea one needs to study the position taken by the ACLU in response to these anti-war demonstrators. Furthermore, it is essential to address some of the specific instances or cases in which the ACLU was involved and what their strategies were during those times. Because these questions play a vital role in providing the information needed to determine the ACLU’s involvement and subsequent impact during this time period, it is also important to question what, if any, were the consequences the ACLU faced as it took action. For instance, did the ACLU risk disagreement within the organization for the positions it took? Overall, answering these questions will allow for deeper insight into the organization during the Vietnam era and for insight into the culture of the United States at that time.

This project revolves around the controversial nature of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Although technically never a war, fighting in Vietnam lasted almost a decade, killing over 58,000 Americans many claimed through military conscription. These events angered many Americans who took to protesting the war in numerous ways. Because many were arrested for their actions, attempting to understand how the ACLU’s views on freedom of expression motivated their support, or lack thereof for these Americans, will provide for a deeper understanding of the organization at that time.


Read the full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/aclu/scribner.html