Chapter

Civil Liberties and War

in In Time of War

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226043586
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226043463 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226043463.003.0007
Civil Liberties and War

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In the days and weeks after 9/11, some worried that the government's offensive against terrorist activity might undermine the democratic foundations of American society. To address this concern, a number of scholars and media organizations conducted in-depth investigations of America's commitment to civil liberties and political tolerance in late 2001. On the whole, public support for the protection of civil liberties was lower than it had been before the attacks. On the other hand, aggregate support for measures designed to preserve civil liberties remained strong. This chapter shows that civil liberties judgments during times of war differ in their depth and scope—not in their structure—from civil liberties judgments during times of peace. By looking to the same kinds of processes that motivate judgments concerning domestic politics, we can understand the nature of public opinion during war. This chapter also shows that threat and, in some cases, group attachments and enmities, structured civil liberties judgments during World War II, the Vietnam War, and the present day.

Keywords: war; civil liberties; peace; political tolerance; public opinion; group attachments; threat; World War II; Vietnam War; terrorist activity

Chapter.  8306 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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