What Is the History of the American Civil Liberties Union?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of protecting and defending the civil liberties of Americans for over 100 years. Founded in 1920, the ACLU has a rich and storied history that has seen it take on some of the most important legal battles in American history.

The Beginnings of the ACLU

The ACLU was founded by a group of activists and lawyers who were concerned about the erosion of civil liberties in America. At the time, there was a growing sense of fear and paranoia about communism and other leftist movements, which led to widespread government repression and censorship.

In response to this threat, the ACLU was formed to defend free speech, freedom of the press, and other basic rights that were under attack. The organization quickly established itself as a leading voice for civil liberties in America, taking on cases that other lawyers were too afraid or unwilling to tackle.

The ACLU during World War II

During World War II, the ACLU faced one of its greatest challenges when Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced into internment camps. The organization fought tirelessly to defend these individuals’ rights, arguing that their constitutional rights had been violated.

Despite facing intense opposition from a government that was determined to suppress dissenting voices, the ACLU refused to back down. Eventually, their efforts paid off when President Roosevelt signed an executive order ending internment in 1944.

The Civil Rights Era

The Civil Rights era saw the ACLU take on some of its most important cases. From fighting against segregation in schools to challenging discriminatory voting laws, the organization played a key role in advancing civil rights for African Americans.

Perhaps its most famous case during this period was Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools once and for all. The ACLU helped Thurgood Marshall argue this case before the Supreme Court, and its victory marked a turning point in the fight for civil rights in America.

The ACLU Today

Today, the ACLU continues to be a leading voice for civil liberties in America. From defending free speech on college campuses to challenging the Trump administration’s immigration policies, the organization remains committed to protecting and defending the rights of all Americans.

Whether you are a liberal or conservative, there is no denying the important role that the ACLU has played in shaping American history. Its commitment to defending civil liberties has helped make America a more just and equitable society, and it will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in shaping our future.