03
Mar
09

On This Day, March 3: The Feinberg Law

March 3, 1952

Supreme Court rules on communist teachers

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law that prohibits communists from teaching in public schools. Coming at the height of the Red Scare in the United States, the Supreme Court decision was additional evidence that many Americans were concerned about possible subversive communist activity in their country.

The New York state statute-called the Feinberg Law-banned from the teaching profession anyone who called for the overthrow of the government; the law was specifically aimed at communists. Several other states adopted similar measures. In New York, a group of teachers and parents challenged the law, and eventually the case went to the Supreme Court. The majority decision upholding the Feinberg Law, declared the New York Times, supported the belief that “the state had a constitutional right to protect the immature minds of children in its public schools from subversive propaganda, subtle or otherwise, disseminated by those ‘to whom they look for guidance, authority and leadership.'” The dissenting opinion from justices William O. Douglas, Hugo Black, and Felix Frankfurter charged that the New York statute “turns the school system into a spying project.” In New York, the Teachers Union vowed to continue fighting the law. Eight teachers had already been dismissed under the provisions of the law and as many others were facing hearings.

The Supreme Court decision was a barometer of the national temper. In the years preceding the case, former State Department official Alger Hiss had been convicted of perjury in connection with his testimony concerning his involvement with the Communist Party; Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had been convicted and sentenced to death for passing atomic secrets to the Soviets; and Senator Joseph McCarthy had made a career out of searching for communists in the U.S. government. By 1952, many Americans were convinced that communist agents and supporters were actively at work within the United States, and that their forces permeated every aspect of American life. The Feinberg Law remained in force until another Supreme Court decision in 1967 declared most of its provisions unconstitutional.

“Supreme Court rules on communist teachers.” 2009. The History Channel website. 3 Mar 2009, 11:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2595.

 

On This Day

1791 – The U.S. Congress passed a resolution that created the U.S. Mint.

1812 – The U.S. Congress passed the first foreign aid bill.

1845 – Florida became the 27th U.S. state.

1845 – The U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a U.S. President’s veto. It was the first time the Congress had achieved this.

1849 – The Gold Coinage Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. It allowed the minting of gold coins.

1851 – The U.S. Congress authorized the 3-cent piece. It was the smallest U.S. silver coin.

1875 – The U.S. Congress authorized the 20-cent piece. It was only used for 3 years.

1910 – J.D. Rockefeller Jr. announced his withdrawal from business to administer his father’s fortune for an “uplift in humanity”. He also appealed to the U.S. Congress for the creation of the Rockefeller Foundation.

1910 – In New York, Robert Forest founded the National Housing Association to fight deteriorating urban living conditions.

1918 – The Treaty of Brest Litovsky was signed by Germany, Austria and Russia. The treaty ended Russia’s participation in World War I.

1931 – The “Star Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key, was adopted as the American national anthem. The song was originally a poem known as “Defense of Fort McHenry.”

1969 – Apollo 9 was launched by NASA to test a lunar module.

1969 – Sirhan Sirhan testified in a Los Angeles court that he killed Robert Kennedy.

1991 – Rodney King was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers. The scene was captured on amateur video.

 

March 3, 1971

U.S. 5th Special Forces Group withdraws

The U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) departs South Vietnam. The Special Forces were formed to organize and train guerrilla bands behind enemy lines. President John F. Kennedy, a strong believer in the potential of the Special Forces in counterinsurgency operations, had visited the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg to review the program and authorized the Special Forces to wear the headgear that became their symbol, the Green Beret.

The 5th Group was sent to Vietnam in October 1964 to assume control of all Special Forces operations in Vietnam. Prior to this time, Green Berets had been assigned to Vietnam only on temporary duty. The primary function of the Green Berets in Vietnam was to organize the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG) among South Vietnam’s Montagnard population. The Montagnards–“mountain people” or “mountaineers”–were a group of indigenous people from several tribes, such as the Rhade, Bru, and Jarai, who lived mainly in the highland areas of Vietnam. These tribes were recruited to guard camps in the mountainous border areas against North Vietnamese infiltration. At the height of the war the Green Berets oversaw 84 CIDG camps with more than 42,000 CIDG strike forces and local militia units. The CIDG program ended in December 1970 with the transfer of troops and mission to the South Vietnamese Border Ranger Command. The Green Berets were withdrawn as part of the U.S. troop reductions in Vietnam.

“U.S. 5th Special Forces Group withdraws.” 2009. The History Channel website. 3 Mar 2009, 11:06 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1706.

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