In the past year, the American Civil Liberties Union has made headlines again and again, challenging many of the policies of the Trump Administration. While the ACLU has always challenged policies that it deemed unconstitutional, the organisation’s relationship with the presidency has not always been as fraught with conflict.
After the First World War, many Americans feared that the Communist Revolution in Russia would spread to the United States. Fear outweighed rational debate, leading to a clamp down on civil liberties, with thousands arrested without warrants. In response, a small group of individuals set up the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In the years since then, the ACLU has evolved from a small organization to the nation’s principal defender of civil rights, playing a role in some of the most famous events in twentieth-century American history.