Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


With American involvement in World War I a drastic change in United States domestic policy occurred. Through the use of wartime Espionage and Sedition Acts came the tool to begin a campaign of suppression of political radicals. This came as the compounding of earlier events like the Los Angeles Times bombing in 1910 occurred with a campaign of anarchist bombings, a growing number of strikes, and wartime propaganda created a setting allowing for government officials to carry out raids, arrests, and both a censoring and punishment of speech. Between the actions of groups and government officials this caused an escalation of events from 1914 through 1920 before finally dissipating as public support for policies and officials waned. The Red Scare was finally over when a bombing of Wall Street did not even reignite hysteria that had ravaged the previous years.

This thesis examines the both the causes for and actions during the First Red Scare on transnational, national, state, local, and individual levels. Through these various levels there is a transitioning from the traditional heavily focused narratives and events of the United States East Coast, to a larger national, yet more personal focused analysis. Within these varying levels of examination is an analysis of categories such as race, economics, gender, and other factors and the evolution of their repression throughout the Red Scare. By doing so, it shows that World War I provided the definitive turning point as it shifted repression and hatred and allowed for it to be acted upon by both the United States government and its citizens largely with impunity.


Dr. Marco Macias

Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type



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