Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, 1920.
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Black and white portrait Of A. Mitchell Palmer

Credit: Courtesy of the National Archives, Dept. of Justice.

Alarmed by the wave of strikes that rocked the nation in 1919, U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, a former congressman from Stroudsburg, PA, authorized a series of raids, warrantless searches, and mass arrests of suspected radicals that netted more than 10,000 individuals. The excesses of the "Palmer raids" ruined his hopes of a run for the presidency in 1920. They also took a heavy toll on the American labor movement and the struggle to unionize steel workers in his home state of Pennsylvania.

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