Mr. Chairman, the spectre of Bolshevism is haunting the world. Everybody – statesman, businessman, preacher, plutocrat, newspaper editor – keeps on warning the world that it is about to be destroyed by Bolshevism . . . But the worst of it is that every movement, every new idea, every new suggestion, every new thought that is advanced, is immediately denounced as Bolshevism. It is not necessary to argue anymore with a man who advances a new idea; it is enough to say, “That is Bolshevism”.
Representative Meyer London, Speaking on the ﬂoor of the U. S. Congress, February 11, 1919.
Louis Freeland Post
“AT PRESENT there are signs of an overthrow of our Government as a free government,” Louis Freeland Post, the Assistant U. S. Secretary of Labor, wrote in his diary on New Year’s Day, 1920. “It is going on under cover of a vigorous ‘drive’ against ‘anarchists,’ an ‘anarchist’ being almost anybody who objects to government of the people by Tories and for ﬁnancial interests . . .”
Seventy-one years old, small and sturdily built, with an unruly black beard and shaggy head of hair, Louis F. Post was a man whose boundless energy and inquiring mind belied his age. During his remarkably varied career, he had been in turn a lawyer, journalist, teacher, lecturer, essayist, historian and politician. A nonconformist in politics and former advocate of the single tax and other reformist movements, Post was a ﬁghting liberal, an inveterate champion of progressive causes.
Attorney General Mitchell Palmer
Panic and hysteria had no appeal for the elderly Assistant Secretary of Labor. As far as Post was concerned, Attorney General Palmer’s crusade to rid America of “Reds” was a “despotic and sordid process.”
Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, Post found himself in a position to do something about it . . .
In March, John W. Abercrombie, the Solicitor for the Department of Labor who had been serving as the Acting Secretary during Secretary L. B. Wilson’s illness, announced he was taking a leave of absence.
Overnight, Post assumed the authority of Secretary of Labor.
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