1930 November 24

U.S. The “Most Lawless” Country in the World, Says Top ACLU Official


Rev. John Haynes Holmes, one of the founders of the ACLU in 1920, charged in a speech on this day that “it is no exaggeration to say that America is the most lawless country on the surface of the globe.” He cited lynching as an “indescribable atrocity” and the worst example of American lawlessness. The problem was not confined to the South, however, and he cited conditions in New York City and Chicago, where the police regularly broke up labor union meetings and barred birth control advocates from speaking, as “living repudiation” of America’s claim to being a civilized country.

Learn more about civil liberties in the 1920s: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Read the ACLU FBI File (not the complete file): http://vault.fbi.gov/ACLU

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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