Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” – 58 Years Later

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On June 1, 1950, Senator Margaret Chase Smith (b. 1897 d. 1995) made her “Declaration of Conscience” in the Senate.  Speaking out against McCarthyism, she said:

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism:

The right to criticize;

The right to hold unpopular beliefs;

 The right to protest;

The right of independent thought.

The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs.    Who of us doesn’t?    Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own.    Otherwise thought control would have set in.

-Bridget Crawford  

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