In recognition of Constitution Day and the 20th anniversary of 9/11, VCU Libraries presents a video conversation on the effects of 9/11 on the Constitution and how 9/11 fits into a series of momentous events that have radically altered how the Constitution is interpreted. The conversation features political scientist John M. Aughenbaugh, Ph.D., and historian Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., and is moderated by Nia Rodgers, public affairs research librarian at VCU Libraries.
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Watch the Video
About the Speakers
John M. Aughenbaugh, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the VCU Department of Political Science. For the past 25 years, both at Virginia Tech and VCU, he has taught courses and presented conference papers on constitutional and administrative law and the constitutional issues associated with homeland security.
Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the VCU Department of History. Her research focuses on the history of early America and the Atlantic with an emphasis on gender and political culture. She is the author of The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity (2021) as well as the award-winning book Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public After the Revolution.
References and Resources
FDR’s “The only thing we have to fear” inauguration speech: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/1933
Russ Feingold’s speech on opposing the USA Patriot Act: https://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot/feingold.html
For the text of the Alien and Sedition Acts, see https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=16
For more context on these acts, see a book by Richmonder Terri Ann Halperin titled The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Testing the Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), available in the print collection at Cabell Library (call number: KF9397.A3281798 H35 2016).
Sedition Act of 1918: https://jackmillercenter.org/cd-resources/espionage-sedition-acts/ This site includes original documents from the passage of the act, the full text of the act, as well as scholarly commentary.
For more, see Martti Juhani Rudanko’s Discourses of Freedom of Speech: From the Enactment of the Bill of Rights to the Sedition Act of 1918 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), available in the print collection at Cabell Library (call number: KF4772 .R83 2012).
The internment/incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/japanese-american-incarceration
Greg Robinson’s By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Harvard University Press, 2009) gives an account of this story. This book is available in both the print and online collections (Cabell print: D769.8 .A6 R63 2001).
The National Archives has a number of original sources on internment, including FDR’s original order and photographs of the hysteria on the West Coast and the camps themselves: https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/japanese-relocation
PBS has a video overview from the 75th anniversary of internment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l1jnkYVopI
The question of whether to call this “internment” or “incarceration” is an important one that remains controversial: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/debate-over-words-to-describe-japanese-american-incarceration-lingers
The Red Scare/McCarthyism/House Un-American Activities Committee/Lavender Scare: The Miller Center at UVA has an important set of documents and analysis: https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/educational-resources/age-of-eisenhower/mcarthyism-red-scare
For President Harry Truman’s loyalty programs, see https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/education/presidential-inquiries/trumans-loyalty-program
Joseph McCarthy claimed to have lists of American communists working within the federal government: https://www.washington.edu/news/2014/10/14/documents-that-changed-the-world-joseph-mccarthys-list-1950/
Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible (1953) compares the communist witch hunt of the 1950s to the witch trials of the 1690s. In 1996 Miller commented on why he wrote it for a New Yorker essay: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1996/10/21/why-i-wrote-the-crucible
On the Lavender Scare: https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2016/summer/lavender.html
David K. Johnson’s The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (University of Chicago Press, 2004) gives an account of what happened during this era. Available in the Cabell print collection at call number: JK723.H6 J64 2004.
- Civil War Cases:
- Ex Parte Merryman (Lincoln unilaterally suspending the writ of habeas corpus): https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/lincoln-and-taneys-great-writ-showdown
- Ex Parte Milligan (Supreme Court holding that during wartime the government cannot suspend habeas corpus if civilian courts are open): https://www.oyez.org/cases/1850-1900/71us2
- World War I Cases:
- Schenck v. U.S. (constitutionality of the Espionage Act and creation of “Clear and Present Danger” test): https://www.oyez.org/cases/1900-1940/249us47
- World War II Cases:
- Hirabayashi v. U.S. (curfew policy): https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/320us81
- Korematsu v. U.S. (internment camp policy): https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/323us214
- “Constitution Is Not a Suicide Pact”—Justice Robert Jackson’s dissent in the Terminiello case (1949): “The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”
- Cold War case upholding the Smith Act, which allowed the federal government to target Communists for prosecution: Dennis v. U.S. (1951): https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/341us494
- Global War on Terrorism cases:
Other Laws Referenced:
- Smith Act: https://uslaw.link/citation/us-law/public/76/670
- Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: https://bja.ojp.gov/program/it/privacy-civil-liberties/authorities/statutes/1286
- USA Patriot Act: https://www.congress.gov/107/plaws/publ56/PLAW-107publ56.pdf
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