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Red-Hunting and Internal Security: The Persistence of Conflict in an Age of Consensus

Goodall, A; (2017) Red-Hunting and Internal Security: The Persistence of Conflict in an Age of Consensus. In: Mason, R and Morgan, I, (eds.) The Liberal Consensus Reconsidered: American Politics and Society in the Postwar Era. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, FL. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter examines the linkage between the liberal consensus and coercive projects of political control, assessing why most Americans remained wedded to the ideal of consensus despite evidence of continuing social and political conflict. Efforts to build a national loyalty apparatus linked longstanding concerns about non-elite social and political groups with new efforts to control the expansion of state bureaucracies. One result was the radical left’s systematic exclusion from mainstream political life, while the intense political fallout produced by anticommunist overreach created a new political concept, “McCarthyism,” that was used to challenge efforts to limit free political expression and action. Red-hunting and the opposition it generated therefore helped to delimit a more closed political space, in which both radical-left and right-wing politics were circumscribed in favor of a core set of more centrist political axioms. To describe the outcome as a product of “consensus” downplays the role of both conflict and coercion in engineering these new political norms, but the idea of consensus cannot be ignored in the history of postwar red-hunting; the era’s debates revealed a consistent effort to deploy claims of consensus, whether in support of the need to root out subversives or to defend civil liberties.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Red-Hunting and Internal Security: The Persistence of Conflict in an Age of Consensus
ISBN-13: 978-0-8130-5426-1
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054261.003.0008
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813054261.003....
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Anticommunism, Liberal consensus, McCarthyism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1521050
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