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Declaration of Conscience

From Academic Kids

The Declaration of Conscience was a speech made by Senator Margaret Chase Smith on June 1, 1950, the height of the McCarthy Era. In it, she criticised national leadership and called for the country, the United States Senate, and the Republican Party to re-examine the tactics used by the HUAC and (without naming him) Senator Joe McCarthy. She stated the basic principles of "Americanism" were:

  • The right to criticize;
  • The right to hold unpopular beliefs;
  • The right to protest;
  • The right of independent thought.

Smith strongly voiced concern that those who exercised those beliefs at that time risked being labeled communist or fascist.

Widely regarded as a turning point in the McCarthy anti-communism campaign, the fact that a woman was the first to speak out in the Senate against McCarthy and his tactics also holds significance for feminist historians.

The complete text of the Declaration can be found at the Margaret Chase Smith library site. [1] (http://www.mcslibrary.org/program/library/declaration.htm)

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