Braman, Dwight
Typed Letter Signed, as President, Allied Patriotic Societies, New York, March 9, 1923, to an unidentified recipient

quarto, 1 page, in very good clean condition.

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      No recipient named, but likely sent to Frank Wilson, an upstate New York Assemblyman, urging him to reject repeal of the so-called “Lusk Laws” – remnants of the first American “Red Scare” that followed World War I.

 

           In 1919, the Lusk Committee of the New York Legislature – formally the “Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities” – began investigating Revolutionary Radicalism by raiding New York offices maintained by the Russian Bolshevik Government, determined to show that the I.W.W. and other American left wingers were inspired to promote “seditious” violence against the US government by Soviet Russian agents. This dovetailed with the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920, conducted by Attorney General Mitchell Palmer’s Justice Department which arrested radicals and anarchists, 500 of whom, being foreign citizens, were deported from the U.S. As further follow-up, in 1921, the New York Legislature passed laws to insure that the public would be educated about the dangers of the Communist and Radical Menace.

           But the hysteria had faded by the time Democrat Al Smith was elected Governor of New York in 1922. He supported Democrats in the Legislature who proposed repeal of the “Lusk Laws”.

           These included the requirement that public school teachers and even private schools supported by religious denominations swear loyalty “to our form of government” and not advocate its overthrow by force or violence. The Allied Patriotic Societies, supposedly representing 53 “patriotic organizations”, opposed the repeal because of the “continued existence of revolutionary and seditious propaganda.” Braman, who headed the group, was a Boston and New York banker with extensive Western investments, a confidant of the late President McKinley who had given his yacht to the US Government for military purposes during the Spanish-American War and allowed his 800 acre Maine estate to be used as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

           Braman’s efforts were in vain. With the active support of Governor Smith, the Lusk laws were repealed.