The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left

By Landon R. Y Storrson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Loyalty Investigations
and the “End of Reform”

Although many loyalty defendants were forced out of government, others sustained or later resurrected government careers, and some did so by repositioning themselves rightward on the political spectrum. They remained committed to social reform, but they tried to protect themselves by avoiding criticism of capitalism and reframing their proposals in the language of anticommunism.

Those shifts were subtle, but they were not merely rhetorical; they had policy consequences. Discussions of the loyalty program’s policy impact have centered on the legacy of the purge of the State Department’s “China hands” or on the defeat of national health insurance.1 But other policies similarly were blocked or narrowed after loyalty allegations undermined their leading advocates inside government. Direct repression of progressive policymakers was hardly the only force that stifled and stigmatized social democracy in the United States. The accumulated evidence from many cases across many fields, however, indicates that the loyalty program had pervasive effects.

Untold numbers of top and midlevel officials found their influence reduced by allegations of disloyalty, and we will never know all their names because most of the case files have been destroyed (see appendix 1). To demonstrate the general pattern, this chapter presents a succession of examples from diverse policy areas: Paul R. Porter, Thomas Blaisdell, and Lewis Lorwin, economists whose international aid and planning expertise influenced the Marshall Plan; Felix Cohen, Lucy Kramer, and Charlotte Tuttle Westwood Lloyd, who helped design and implement the “Indian New Deal” David Demarest Lloyd, a lawyer for several New Deal agencies and then a Democratic Party speechwriter and aide to President Truman; Frieda Miller, Esther Peterson, Caroline Ware, and Pauli Murray, all advocates of workplace democracy, including equal opportunity for women and minorities; Catherine Bauer in public housing; Bernice Lotwin Bernstein, Wilbur Cohen, and Elizabeth Wickenden in social insurance and public assistance; and John Carmody and Tex Goldschmidt in public works and power.

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