The Minute Women of the U. Such groups, which organized American suburban housewives into anti-Communist study groups, political activism and letter-writing campaigns, were a bedrock of support for McCarthyism.
The primary concerns of the Minute Women and other similar groups were the exposure of Communist subversion, the defense of constitutional limits, opposition to AtheismSocialism and social welfare provisions such as the New Deal ; and rejection of Internationalism, particularly in Women from usa form of the United Nations. They campaigned to expose supposedly Communist individuals, focusing particularly on school and Women from usa administrators.
By they had over 50, members. They were predominantly white middle and upper-class women aged between thirty and sixty, with school-aged or
Women from usa children. Chapters were relatively small, numbering only a few dozen to a few hundred people. The Houston chapter, which later Women from usa famous, was one of the largest in the nation
Women from usa around members. Over
Women from usa of the Houstonian Minute Women from usa were doctors' wives, reflecting opposition to socialized medicine.
Women from usa other anti-Communist groups, the Minute Women operated in a semi-covert fashion.
Stevenson instructed members to never reveal that they were Minute Women and always present themselves as individual concerned citizens. In her view, political activism was more effective when it appeared to be spontaneous. The organization was structured in a unique fashion, ostensibly to defend against Communist infiltration. Women from usa had no constitution or bylaws, no parliamentary procedure to guide the meetings, and no option for motions from the floor; its officers were appointed rather than elected.
Its members communicated via a chain-telephoning system in which one
Women from usa called five others, who in turn made five more calls, enabling hundreds to be contacted within a short space of time.
The Minute Women sought to apply political pressure through letter-writing campaigns, heckling speakers and swamping their opponents with telephone calls. In Women from usa, Texaswhere they were particularly strong, they took over the local school board and claimed to have planted observers Women from usa University of Houston classrooms to watch out for controversial material and teachers.
Their tactics were highly effective; as the Houston Post noted, "Many public officials… who might… defy a lone organization… would be loath to go against the wishes of individuals.
They also forced the university to eliminate history programs from its educational television broadcasts. At one point, the Minute Women circulated a report that "troops flying the United Nations flag once took over several American cities in a surprise move, throwing the mayors in jail and locking up the police chiefs.
Even well-respected groups
Women from usa individuals found themselves targeted by the Minute Women. Rufus Clementthe president of Atlanta University and the first-ever African-American to serve on the Atlanta Board
Women from usa Education, faced protests from Minute Women when he lectured at a Houston Methodist on the grounds that he was "too controversial".
The Houston Post commented that "a new meaning has been given to the word controversial… It now often becomes a derogatory epithet, frequently synonymous with the word Women from usa. The newspaper was deluged by an avalanche of mail which was largely complimentary
Women from usa the newspaper's courage in taking on the Minute Women. O'Leary's reports were widely praised, with Time magazine describing the Post's coverage as "a model of how a newspaper can effectively expose irresponsible vigilantism.
Despite this setback the Minute
Women from usa remained active throughout the remainder of the s and into the s. They played a major role in stoking the controversy over the Alaska Mental Health Bill HRclaiming that the bill was an attempt by Congress to give the government authority to abduct citizens at will and imprison them Women from usa concentration camps in Alaska.