Abstract

In the United States, right-wing hostility to female consumer advocates who held federal jobs or had the ear of federal officials was an important source of the crusade against "Communists in government," a primary engine of the Second Red Scare. The hunt for communists in the U.S. government, which began in the 1930s and reached a fever pitch in the 1950s, reshaped the terrain of party politics and halted expansion of the American welfare state. Conservatives' attack on the New Deal—often seen as triggered by the rise of mass production unionism—also was a reaction to the emergence of a consumer movement that was feminist, anti-racist, and pro-labor. That movement was predominantly female and wielded more influence over federal policy than scholars have recognized. Focusing on the League of Women Shoppers, the Consumers' National Federation, and the fate of their members who obtained positions in such government agencies as the Office of Price Administration, this article argues that conservative anticommunists' gendered animosity to the consumer movement was critical to the pre-history of the federal employee loyalty program created in 1947, and that civil servants with ties to consumer groups were prominent among that program's casualties.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 40-67
Launched on MUSE
2006-08-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.