Archive for the ‘ Scholarly ’ Category


There are many different kinds of government. Some are good and some are not good, but as humans we take the good with the bad. One of the less desired is a Totalitarian government in which a party or individual has complete control over the government and the people within the country. How a Totalitarian regime gains control of a country is interesting. In the book The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt tries to explain some of the root causes of how a Totalitarian regime comes about. The process is pretty elementary and in looking at it is overly simple.

The process comes in stages, they first two of which work hand and hand with each other[1]. Those first two stages are a call to political action and the use of propaganda. For there to be a call to political action there needs to be reason for that call.   That is the work of propaganda. The next and most important step is to derail the government in power, rendering ineffective. This is the most important step because it can get the masses to support the totalitarian party.

Totalitarian regimes become possible when a countries government fails to function and as a result of the failure to function collapse. That is the effect to what can be many causes depending on the circumstances. Arendt says “Totalitarian movements are possible wherever there are masses who for one reason or another have acquired the appetite for political organization[2]” which is correct except the masses are loosely defined. Arendt would like us to believe the masses called to political action would be the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie being the middle class. This is partly true to the extent that they may have increased their political activity, but they were and always be involved in political action in one form or another.   The reasoning being most policies set forth by the government will have more of an impact on their lives; public, private and business.   The bourgeoisie can be manipulated to an extent, but has the power of their vote to change government. The masses that usually acquire the taste for political action or organization would have to be one that is normally not considered in the political environments. That would be the lower classes. In the case of the Nazi movement it was the unemployed, most of whom were soldiers that fought in the First World War The middle class has too much to lose and very little to gain, were as the lower class has nothing to lose and all to gain. The lower class can also be manipulated, more so than the middle class.

Manipulation comes in the form of propaganda. Arendt’s description of what propaganda is and why it is important is one the mark, but she fails to capture how it is used. Propaganda comes in many forms, but regardless of what form it comes in, it is the front line of psychological warfare for the totalitarian movement[3]. In the beginning of the process it is used to incite the lower classes by giving them something that might not have had before. Usually the lower classes are told in the form of speeches and reading materials that they can achieve anything if they surrender to the movement. Once the lower classes start to feel empowered the propaganda is used to incite them into a mob that is used in force to spread terror. It is in the chaos of this terror that the mob reinforces the propaganda spread among the middle classes. The mob is like a river, very powerful, but has a natural flow. If one damns that river and can direct its flow, that river and it’s power can become very dangerous. Arendt says the masses need to be won over by propaganda[4]; however it is more important to control the mob with propaganda. For example the Nazi’s needed the control of the SA early on in their rise to power. If the SA turned on the Nazi leadership the history of Germany would be completely different. The Nazi leadership maintained its grip on the SA also to counterbalance the force of the German army and police. In her attack on the bourgeoisie Arendt fails or underestimates the ability to control the mod.   It is by far more important than controlling the middle classes, because without it you can not control the middle classes.

The middle class is the key to power. To control the middle class is to control a country. This is when the soon to be regime will replace propaganda with more ideological indoctrination to assert control[5], but also garner popular support to help it seize control of the government. It is important to remember, unlike Stalin, Hitler and the Nazi’s were freely elected by the people. To get these votes the Nazi’s used the mob to create an upwelling of fear. For example the attempted uprising by the Nazi’s in Bavaria, in which Hitler was jailed. The middle class was stuck between a government trying to contain the Nazi’s and the violent seemingly uncontrollable mob. The mob is the ultimate tool in eroding the middle classes confidence in the government and the rational of the middle class.

Eroding the people’s faith in the government would be a challenge easily overcome by the Nazis, but they way they do it shows the ruthlessness totalitarian leadership will be in achieving their goals. Josef Goebbels wrote in 1928 “We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with its own weapons. We become members of the Reichstag in order to paralyze the Weimar sentiment with its own assistance. If democracy is so stupid as to give us free tickets and per diem for the this “blockade,” that is its own affair[6].” This quote clearly states the aim of the Nazi party to stale the government rendering it useless. Consider that the German people voted in four elections since the Beer Hall Putsch[7]. There was clear deadlock and it was with this deadlock that the Nazi’s were able to seize power.   These failures of the government to operate and move forward build distrust in the citizenry of the country. With the support of the propaganda the totalitarian party looks like the better option to the voter. Also by voting for the totalitarian party the voter will get a false sense of security because by placing that vote the voter thinks the totalitarian party will rein in the mob. This is the most important step for the totalitarian movement; it forces the citizenry, mainly the middle class, in a position of total loyalty. Once in power the totalitarian government can put into place new laws and institutions that would in effect rapidly stabilize conditions within the country[8].       Also within the government there is a shifting of positions in which more trusted party members are giving more power and those that want power are put under men of lesser prestige[9]. Although the positions given to these loyal men in search of power does keep them close to the head of the party, under his watchful eye.

Hannah Arendt was heading in the right direction, but the points I bring up here she seems to ignore.   It is puzzling because it would have made her later arguments much stronger. She also misplaces the blame for the totalitarian regimes of Stalin and mainly Hitler at the feet of the middle class. Clearly the lower classes are more to blame because they are the ones the hold the power. Even George Orwell points this out in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four, in which he states that the poorer lower classes have the power to topple the Party. If they have the power to topple a party they have the power to put a party in place. This is what Lenin and Hitler did; they used the power of the poor.

[1] Pg. 478

[2] Pg. 414

[3] Pg. 453

[4] Pg. 450

[5] Pg. 450



[8] Pg. 512

[9] Pg. 515


Hot Summer Nights

Hot Summer Nights

Blitzkrieg of Southern Lebanon

Daniel Whalen



In March of 2003 the United States invaded the country of Iraq and since that invasion the Middle East has been in a perceptual state of never ending war. During the American occupation of Iraq there was to be another conflict erupted and for thirty-four days brought the world to the brink of global war. This conflict would pit a regional power against a well-trained paramilitary group that would be armed with some of the best weapons available. In 2006 Israel invaded Southern Lebanon, a reign Israel occupied between 1982-2000, mostly as a security zone on the border of Lebanon and Israel. This would be similar to Charlemagne’s Spanish March, in that it would keep clashes between Israeli forces and militia forces out of Israel. Israel claimed it was tired of being a prisoner of the status quo, a preverbal stalemate with Hezbollah that involved occasional prisoner swaps. Prior to this conflict Hezbollah is seen as negative within Lebanon and Israel had some support over the globe. As the conflict evolved that support would fade, it is important to know way.

This particular conflict in Lebanon was not between the government of Lebanon and Israel, but from the militant group Hezbollah based in Southern Lebanon, which is similar in many respects structurally to that of the Irish Republican Army, with a political wing and a paramilitary wing. Hezbollah however has the militant wing and political wing operating under the same name, where as the Irish Republican Army has the political wing operating under than name Sinn Fein. This political wing maintains a sizable network of charitable and civic organizations that build schools and hospitals, even fields candidates for elected office within Lebanon[1]. Hezbollah since the pull out of the Israeli Defense Force in 2000 has had a minor skirmish war of sorts with the Israeli Defense Force that has a method to it’s madness and keeps this skirmish war a literally unknown conflict, never reported in the media. There were rules to this skirmish war, a quid pro quo approach in that whenever Hezbollah attacked Israeli positions the IDF would attack command and control positions of Hezbollah. Also allowable with the rules of the game was prisoner exchanges[2]. It helped keep an uneasy peace between the two and helped the Israelis out of Lebanon.

The Lebanese government might have unaware of what Hezbollah was doing along the border the country shared with Israel and many of the businesses in Beirut was preparing for what was expected to be a record summer of tourism, giving a much needed boost the emerging economy[3]. One could safely assume that the Lebanese government was unaware of what was going on at the border because in Southern Lebanon Hezbollah enjoyed overwhelming popular support from those living in Southern Lebanon[4]. When a groups such as Hezbollah has support from the people in the region of a country it operates a lot of things can go unnoticed by those outside that region. Staying is one place Hezbollah could ratchet up any descent and keep news from going out of the region. Because of this the Lebanese governments attempts to disarm Hezbollah proved futile, which added to the political pressure within the government to improve things in the country in order to weaken Hezbollah’s grip on the south and keep Hezbollah from building on what little support the group has in the remainder of the country[5]. The coming summer season was predicted to be record setting economically, many hoped would be after years of war. With an economic boom the Lebanese government could have gained some support in the country to tip the balance in it’s favor over the influence of Hezbollah by proving things are improving and life is going to be better. Most importantly Lebanon was starting to lose the stigma of the civil war that plagued the country for years, causing many wealthy Arabs would vacation in Lebanon as an alternative to traveling to American or Europe where it was becoming troublesome to visit due to the heightened security in the post 9/11 world[6]. It was far easier to travel to Beirut where Arabic was spoken and the warm Mediterranean Sea is welcoming like any other vacation spot.

There was a subtle build up triggering to the invasion of Southern Lebanon by the Israeli military. Prior to the major conflict in the month of May Hezbollah fired upon an Israeli border post, leaving a wounded Israeli solider in its wake. In response the Israeli Defense Force shelled with artillery twenty positions used by Hezbollah as command and control for the paramilitary wing of the group. In response Hezbollah launched another rocket attack into Israel[7]. The thirty-four day war started shortly after that with a Hezbollah raid across the shared border and capturing two Israeli soldiers prisoner with the hopes of a prisoner exchange at a later date, which was within the rules of the game[8]. However the Israelis government felt the rules of the game need to be changed and a strong message needed to be sent to Hezbollah stating that the state of Israel was not going to tolerate the status quo any longer. Israel always agreeing to prisoner exchanges, doing so can be perceived as weakness by many hardliners within Israel who want an eye for an eye. With the American military not far away in Iraq, the Israeli government must have felt pressure to project strength within the region. Hezbollah may not have been looking for an escalation to what would become the conflict because the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah said “The prisoners in our hands will not return to Israel except through indirect negotiations and exchange of prisoners and peace[9].” Hezbollah is in the habit of relying on others to negotiate for on their behalf and always looked to free political prisoners that were being held in Israeli prisons. Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert ruled out any negotiations and went as far to file a complaint with the United Nations wanting the enforcement of resolutions forcing the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah[10]. This is a bit hypercritical because Israeli government has a long history of never compling with the resolutions filed against Israel by the United Nations. Prime Minster Olmert would go one to say that “’Israel will not be held hostage’ by terrorists…” adding that Israel is “…not looking for war or direct conflict…” with Hezbollah[11]. The Israeli government saw itself at the crossroads with some tough decisions to make, but there is only one remaining action Israel can take. However while Prime Minster Olmert was making the case of a defensive fight while Israeli tanks and bulldozers were crushing suspected Hezbollah hideouts in Southern Lebanon[12]. Olmert went as far as to vow that Israel ”…will not hesitate to take severe measures against those who are aiming thousands of rockets and missiles against innocent civilians for the sole purpose of killing them[13].” It is always easy to talk like the victim when one is taking action against ones enemy at the same time. It was clear however that Prime Minster Olmert was not in a position of strength within the Israeli government, even though he was trying to project strength.

Half a world away Americans were occupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Support for Israel was in the background as support for the American soldier was on the rise and the American economy was starting to show signs of slowing down. War wariness spreading across the United States and the world at a quickening pace, the last thing people were looking for was another conflict in the world, especially one in the Middle East. This is something important the Israeli government overlooked when the decision was made to march the Israeli Defense Force into Southern Lebanon to free the two captured Israeli soldiers. The Israeli government took a lot of things for granted when it made that fateful decision. The Israeli government had reason to take things for granted, the President of the United States George W. Bush and his administration would give Israel the proverbial green light early on in the crisis claiming it was within the American ‘war on terror’ which is what the Israel ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, would claim saying Israel “is actually doing its work in the war against terror[14].” Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice would add to that by saying that a “…cessation of violence is crucial, but if that cessation of violence is hostage to Hezbollah’s next decision to launch missiles into Israel or Hamas’s next decision to abduct an Israel citizen, then we will have gotten nowhere[15].” Secretary Rice advocating for new rules to the game along the Lebanese-Israeli border on the behalf of Israel, doing so behind the guise of the Bush administrations war on terror. Secretary Rice would brush off criticism the United States was receiving around the world for its support of Israel’s military action, going on to say any promise of a cease-fire Hezbollah and Israel is a “false promise” from Hezbollah[16].  It was clear the United States would go against any calls for a cease-fire because the United States was exporting many of its state-of-the-art weapons to Israel[17]. Other countries however were not fully behind Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed at a G8 conference, which took place as the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel was just beginning, that he was under the impression that the goal of Israel was to“…go beyond just recovering their kidnapped soldiers[18].” It is easy for President Putin to say that because as the days went by the Israel Defense Force was mounting forces for a major land invasion into Lebanon that could have dragged the whole region into a large-scale conflict, for what would be the second stage of Israeli offensive against Hezbollah. It is clear that President Putin had received some very good intelligence.   

Israel for the most part depends on support from the United States and her allies, however Israel’s invasion of Southern Lebanon started an erosion of that support in the West. A lot of the erosion of support had a lot to do with Israel’s actions within the conflict. In the Lebanese village of Qana the world saw the worse in the Israeli Defense Force’s strategy. Using airstrikes the Israeli Defense Force more than 100 civilians in the village of Qana, horrifying the world[19]. This attack did not come with prior warning and should have been expected as the Israeli air force was leveling the countryside of Lebanon and taking out important infrastructure. The Israeli air force even bombed a United Nations mission in Southern Lebanon[20]. It could have happen anywhere, but for the poor people of Qana it happen to them. A weekend prior to the attack Israeli warplanes launched a missile attack on two Red Cross ambulances, hitting one in the center of the cross[21]. An attack on any Red Cross vehicle or camp is unprecedented. Israel would later claim that many of the houses were destroyed because of “munitions” stored in them, killing the people residing in these houses[22]. Many in the international community, who would condemn this attack, would not believe however this claim put forth by Israel[23]. Even average citizens in Israel would feel bad about these attacks, but would blame Hezbollah for hiding weapons in civilian centers[24]. Outrage of this attack would lead to protests in Beirut, with many burning American flags in protest of the Bush administrations support for Israel and Israel’s actions in the conflict. The rage of the people would force Secretary Rice to cancel a trip to negotiate a cease-fire in Beirut[25]. With many news agencies around the world reporting that more than half of the causalities being children, it was becoming hard for the world to see Israel’s actions as being justified[26]. With Israel’s claim’s of Hezbollah storing weapons there, even claiming that Hezbollah would use United Nations outposts as weapons caches[27], Israel was slowing isolating itself in the world, bringing down the United States with it. Israel was doing everything it felt possible to rid itself of a enemy that has log plagued them, by any means necessary. In doing so Israel was making a lot more new enemies that were growing tired of Israel doing things on its own.    

The great Sun Tzu said, “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.” Hezbollah lied in wait for the Israel Defense Force in Southern Lebanon, much the Vietcong in the Vietnam War, in complex tunnel systems that were in the hills of Southern Lebanon[28]. The Lebanese army, unlike Hezbollah, was not equipped like a modern army making it unable to fight in any large-scale combat mission[29]. The Lebanese army was estimated 38,000 men that are meant to keep the peace within Lebanon, were as Hezbollah has unknown numbers of men and weapons[30]. One thing that gets overlooked often is that Hezbollah does have is a formidable fighting force that is well drilled and well armed[31]. By well-armed Hezbollah had modern Russian made weapons, which many suspected was given to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria to use against their common enemy, Israel[32]. With these weapons, especially sophisticated Russian antitank weapons, Hezbollah was able to inflict serious damage to the Israeli Defense Forces modern state-of-the-art weapon systems, including the Israeli Merkava tank[33]. Israel would complain about, indirectly, how they felt the Russian government was complacent in Hezbollah gaining Russian weapons unhindered[34]. This would make Iran and Syria the proxies for Russia, giving the situation a Cold War feel, pitting the United States and Russia in a proxy war. It could be that Israel was not happy with how the Russian weapons performed against their modern weapons. Israel would also add the claim that Syria gave Hezbollah Russian anti-personnel weapons such as 220-millimeter and 302-millimeter missiles with anti-personal warheads on them[35]. Hezbollah would take farther steps to modify the weapons by packing the missiles with ball bearings to inflict even further damage[36]. Tactics used by Hezbollah would get Hezbollah compared to other guerrilla groups such as the Vietcong, because they use flexible tactics and a lack of fear of the Israeli Defense Force[37]. In war fear can be a powerful weapon, but with proper training fear can be over come easily. It is also hard to beat people that believe in a cause or a message. The reason the American army struggled in Vietnam and conflicts since is because an armed force cannot defeat an idea. Hezbollah believes they are the defenders against a foreign invader, that foreign invader being Israel.  

As the conflict progressed Israel tried to inflict as much damage as it could before any cease-fire would take effect. This escalation could be credited for the Israeli’s bombing Qana. As the escalation progressed the world become more outraged, turning to the streets to voice condemnation for Israel. What would help fuel protests and outrage was the impact on the global oil market this conflict had[38]. A increased fear of Iran withdrawing the oil it produces from the global market in protest of Israel was seizing the world with fear that oil prices would skyrocket, with gas prices hitting four dollars a gallon in the United States[39].  Also fueling the fire against Israel was the possibility of war crimes charges against many of the belligerents. Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia said the action of “Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians…[and] is unjustifiable[40].” The International Red Cross, who had two ambulances bombed by Israel, would further that sentiment by saying Israel violated the Geneva Conventions and their protocols of warfare[41]. No matter how negative the views of the conflict were as many as 90% of Israelis supported the conflict, with protests against the war drawing about 2000 people within Tel Aviv[42]. There would also be rallies supporting Israel in England drawing estimated crowds up to 5000 people[43]. However despite the rallies of support there were many more protests against the Israeli action. There would be rallies with as many as 7000 people in cities across the United Kingdom[44]. With the United States House of Representatives voting 410 to 8 in support of Israel, there would be rallies in Washington D.C. against Israel[45]. A protester in Israel summed it up best when he said “the Israeli government thinks bombing Lebanon they will make peace, but they did it many times before and it didn’t work[46].” Iraq still a war zone and the forgotten conflict in Afghanistan waging on the world was getting sick of war, with the many in the world blaming the United States. The protests in Israel were also anti-United States rallies[47]. It was hard for the United States, because of the Bush administration, not to be blamed for the conflict. Israel claiming it was doing its part in the ‘war on terror’ made a direct connection with the United States and the ongoing conflicts of the United States. It would be hard for anyone to argue that there was not an anti-Muslim feel about these conflicts.

In the end the Israeli government agreed to a cease-fire, with an international peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon. After thirty-four long days of fighting Lebanon was reduced to a state of rubble, shattered lives, and a weakened economy. Israel would eventually get the two soldiers back, but did the means justify the end? The conflict changed the way many around the world view Israel. Since the conflict the Lebanese government has struggled mightily, many Arab countries have new governments emerging, and the United States elected a President that does not view Israel the same way as President Bush did. The world is changing also because shortly after the war many countries around the world fell into economic collapse. Israel has had a valued alliance with the United States, but new global powers like China and a couple of old powers like Russia and Germany, Israel may find it hard to find new allies[48]. Importantly peoples views of Israel have changed, Israel is no longer the victim as many are starting to see Israel as the aggressor.  



“Acts of War Raise Risk to Region.” BBC, July 13, 2006, sec. Middle East.

“ – Anderson Cooper 360° Blog-Seeing Red in Israel”, July 31, 2006.

“Deaths Rise as Israel, Hezbollah Trade Attacks.”, n.d., sec. Mideast/N. Africa.

El Husseini, Rola. “Hezbollah and the Axis of Refusal: Hamas, Iran and Syria.” Third World Quarterly 31, no. 5 (July 2010): 803–815.

Erlanger, Steven, and Hassan M. Fattah. “Israel Suspending Lebanon Air Raids After Dozens Die.” The New York Times, July 31, 2006, sec. International / Middle East.

Erlanger, Steven, and Richard A. Oppel Jr. “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons.” The New York Times, August 7, 2006, sec. International / Middle East.

“Hezbollah Seizes Israel Soldiers.” BBC, July 12, 2006, sec. Middle East.

“Hezbollah Sharply Rejects Cease-Fire, Say It Will Continue Rocket Strikes | Fox News.” Fox News, July 17, 2006.,2933,203908,00.html.

“Hezbollah Warns Israel over Raids.” BBC, July 12, 2006, sec. Middle East.

Hoge, Warren. “Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say.” The New York Times, July 20, 2006, sec. International / Middle East.

“Israel Complains Hezbollah Used Russian-Made Missiles | Fox News”, August 18, 2006.,2933,209162,00.html.

“Israel Floats Idea to End Lebanon Fighting.”, n.d., sec. Mideast/N. Africa.

“Israel Gears up for Massive Ground Assault as World Dithers | Current Affairs | DW.DE | Null”, July 22, 2006.,,2107137,00.html.

“Israel Rejects U.N. Involvement in Peacekeeping Force, Probe of Mission Bombing | Fox News”, July 28, 2006.,2933,206035,00.html.

“Israeli Warplanes Strike Targets Deep in Lebanon.”, July 31, 2006, sec. Mideast/N. Africa.

“Lebanon’s Two Fighting Forces.” BBC, July 22, 2006, sec. Middle East.

“Little Dissent as Israelis Support War.” BBC, July 23, 2006, sec. Middle East.

“Mideast Conflict Impacts Oil Prices Worldwide.”, July 14, 2006, sec. NBCNightlyNews.

Norton, Augustus Richard. Hezbollah: A Short History. 1St ed. Princeton University Press, 2007.

Pear, Robert. “Rally Near White House Protests Violence in Mideast.” The New York Times, August 13, 2006, sec. Washington.

Philipp, Peter. “Opinion: United States Is Doing Too Little, Too Late | Current Affairs | DW.DE | Null”, July 26, 2006.,,2110333,00.html.

“Protests in UK at Israeli Action.” BBC, July 22, 2006, sec. UK.

“Rally Offers Support to Israelis.” BBC, July 23, 2006, sec. UK.

“Rice Urges ‘urgent and Enduring’ Mideast Peace.”, July 25, 2006, sec. Mideast/N. Africa.

Rutenberg, Jim. “Despite Joint Statement on Mideast, Strains Emerge as U.S. Supports Israel’s Campaign.” The New York Times, July 17, 2006, sec. International / Middle East.

Ryan, Rachel. “Propaganda Wars Fight for Headlines in the Middle East | Germany | DW.DE | Null”, August 15, 2006.,,2135841,00.html.

Tavernise, Sabrina. “A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers.” The New York Times, July 31, 2006, sec. International / Middle East.

[1] Rola El Husseini, “Hezbollah and the Axis of Refusal: Hamas, Iran and Syria,” Third World Quarterly 31, no. 5 (July 2010): 803–815.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Augustus Richard Norton, Hezbollah: A Short History, 1St ed. (Princeton University Press, 2007), 132.

[4] Ibid., 133.

[5] Ibid., 132.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 134.

[8] “Hezbollah Seizes Israel Soldiers,” BBC, July 12, 2006, sec. Middle East,

[9] “Hezbollah Warns Israel over Raids,” BBC, July 12, 2006, sec. Middle East,

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Hezbollah Sharply Rejects Cease-Fire, Say It Will Continue Rocket Strikes | Fox News,” Fox News, July 17, 2006,,2933,203908,00.html.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Rice Urges ‘urgent and Enduring’ Mideast Peace,”, July 25, 2006, sec. Mideast/N. Africa,

[14] “Hezbollah Sharply Rejects Cease-Fire, Say It Will Continue Rocket Strikes | Fox News”; Jim Rutenberg, “Despite Joint Statement on Mideast, Strains Emerge as U.S. Supports Israel’s Campaign,” The New York Times, July 17, 2006, sec. International / Middle East,

[15] Rutenberg, “Despite Joint Statement on Mideast, Strains Emerge as U.S. Supports Israel’s Campaign.”

[16] “Israel Gears up for Massive Ground Assault as World Dithers | Current Affairs | DW.DE | Null”, July 22, 2006,,,2107137,00.html.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Rutenberg, “Despite Joint Statement on Mideast, Strains Emerge as U.S. Supports Israel’s Campaign.”

[19] Sabrina Tavernise, “A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers,” The New York Times, July 31, 2006, sec. International / Middle East,; “Israeli Warplanes Strike Targets Deep in Lebanon,”, July 31, 2006, sec. Mideast/N. Africa,

[20] “Israel Rejects U.N. Involvement in Peacekeeping Force, Probe of Mission Bombing | Fox News”, July 28, 2006,,2933,206035,00.html.

[21] Tavernise, “A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers.”

[22] Ibid.

[23] Steven Erlanger and Hassan M. Fattah, “Israel Suspending Lebanon Air Raids After Dozens Die,” The New York Times, July 31, 2006, sec. International / Middle East,

[24] “ – Anderson Cooper 360° Blog-Seeing Red in Israel”, July 31, 2006,

[25] Erlanger and Fattah, “Israel Suspending Lebanon Air Raids After Dozens Die.”

[26] “Israeli Warplanes Strike Targets Deep in Lebanon.”

[27] “Israel Rejects U.N. Involvement in Peacekeeping Force, Probe of Mission Bombing | Fox News.”

[28] Steven Erlanger and Richard A. Oppel Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons,” The New York Times, August 7, 2006, sec. International / Middle East,

[29] “Lebanon’s Two Fighting Forces,” BBC, July 22, 2006, sec. Middle East,

[30] Ibid.

[31] Erlanger and Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons”; “Acts of War Raise Risk to Region,” BBC, July 13, 2006, sec. Middle East,

[32] Erlanger and Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons”; “Israel Complains Hezbollah Used Russian-Made Missiles | Fox News”, August 18, 2006,,2933,209162,00.html.

[33] Erlanger and Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons.”

[34] “Israel Complains Hezbollah Used Russian-Made Missiles | Fox News”; Erlanger and Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons.”

[35] Erlanger and Jr, “A Disciplined Hezbollah Surprises Israel With Its Training, Tactics and Weapons.”

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Mideast Conflict Impacts Oil Prices Worldwide,”, July 14, 2006, sec. NBCNightlyNews,

[39] Ibid.

[40] Warren Hoge, “Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say,” The New York Times, July 20, 2006, sec. International / Middle East,

[41] Ibid.

[42] “Little Dissent as Israelis Support War,” BBC, July 23, 2006, sec. Middle East,

[43] “Rally Offers Support to Israelis,” BBC, July 23, 2006, sec. UK,

[44] “Protests in UK at Israeli Action,” BBC, July 22, 2006, sec. UK,

[45] Robert Pear, “Rally Near White House Protests Violence in Mideast,” The New York Times, August 13, 2006, sec. Washington,

[46] “Little Dissent as Israelis Support War.”

[47] Ibid.

[48] Germany is considered by many to be the lone economic power in Europe. Germany also supplies many countries with state-of-the-art German weaponry, one of those countries is the United States.

The Israeli-Arab Conflict

Central Connecticut State Univeristy

The Israeli-Arab Conflict

A look at the major events in the conflict since the Second World War


Daniel F Whalen


A brief look at the two major wars, the founding of the PLO, and the peace process

Throughout the course of history no area in the world has seen so much strife and conflict as the area in which the nation of Israel now sits. Since the Hittites this region has seen more conflict than any other. Most recently the conflict stems from two parties, or ethnic groups, that want the land to be their own country. These two groups, the Palestinians and the Israelis, claim this region as their homeland. In more recent times the conflict between the two groups flared up shortly after the end of the Second World War. In the conflict there have seemed at times that peace is at hand, but this peace never amounts to a sustained peace.

After the end of the Second World War there were a great number of displaced Jews from Europe, most of whom had survived the horrors of Nazi occupation and the concentration camps. Without an actually country of their own the Jews tried to find a country that would allow them residence within their borders. With not result they decided to settle in what they consider their historical homeland, which was known as Palestine at that time. This land area of Palestine is where in the Bible the lands of Judah, Canaan, and Israel sat. To many religions this is the land of Abraham, but for the Jews it is the land of David the Biblical king of Judah and then the Kingdom of Israel. This would be the claim the Jewish people would use as for the founding of modern Israel.

The Israeli-Arab Conflict as it is today started in or about the year 1948 when the Jewish Provisional Government declared its independence when the British would start their withdrawal after the end of the British Mandate for Palestine[1]. For centuries prior to World War One this region was under the control of the Ottoman Empire and with the Ottoman defeat in the war the region that is modern day Israel and Jordan was given the British to administer. Britain however grew wary of the situation in what was then Palestine and found its self caught in a three-way conflict between them and the Jewish and Arab populations[2]. In the year 1947 Britain handed over the mandate to the newly formed United Nations[3]. It was with this that the United Nations General Assembly voted to divide Palestine into two states, UN Resolution 181, one under the control of Palestinians and the other under the control of Jews[4]. This would leave Jerusalem under international control however[5]. With the United States and the Soviet Union voting for this partition along with parts of South America and most of Europe[6] it would seem that there should not be a problem. However all of the Arab nations that were members of the United Nations at that time voted against the resolution[7]. Britain however abstained from the voting, most likely due to the past mandate. It is suggested since then that the reason the Europeans voted in favor of this because of guilt over the Holocaust. This is possible because most of Europe and the United States did look the other way when the Nazi regime rounded up the Jews for forced labor and death camps. Whatever the reason the European powers had for voting for this they did not foresee the level of violence that would overcome the region.

The Jewish Government at the time would accept the Resolution, for a number of reasons but primarily for strategic reasons[8]. The Palestinians rejected because the unbalanced distribution of land. On May 14th Israel declares its independence thus forming the State of Israel. It would be the next day that five Arab nations, Egypt, Transjordan (present day Jordan), Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, would invade Israel in support of the Palestinians and the Palestinian militia[9]. One would think the onslaught of Arabs would be too much to the Israeli forces to handle, but it is important to keep in mind that most of the Jews in Israel came from Europe.   They had experience fighting the Nazis in resistance movements, which is invaluable military experience. Many had been trained by the British; they were also much better armed and motivated fighting for their new country[10]. Many of the Arab countries prior to this were colonies to various European powers, for example Egypt was a colony of Britain, but did not receive the level of training as compared to European armies. The exact reason why the Arab countries would reject the Resolution and invade the newly declared Jewish state is unknown, but there was plenty of hostility between the Jews and Arabs prior to this because the Jews formed armed mobs and militias that went about “cleansing” the land of Palestinian towns and villages[11]. Cleansing is a term used the Israeli military, it means more or less to massacre[12]. A lesson they learned from the Nazis. This hostility would continue and involve the whole region.

There would be relative peace after this brief war. The peace, or calm in the action, would last for the better part of two decades. That is not to say that both sides, the Israelis and Arabs got along.   Actions would be taken by the Arabs to press the Palestinian issue. The most notable of actions was the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in year 1964. The PLO is more or less an umbrella, or bloc, organization containing smaller Palestinian organizations brought together as one larger group. For the first few years after it’s founding the PLO was mainly under the direction of the Arab League[13]. The original doctrine of the PLO was to drive the “Jews into the sea.[14]” This is a bold statement for an organization that did not have a standing army or funds to arm an army. This maybe why over time the PLO would become a loose collection of political and more associated with terrorist organizations. It would not be until Yasser Arafat takes control of the PLO that the PLO sees some political success. Today one hardly hears of the PLO.

Perhaps the most important part in this conflict that has had long term effects that resonate to today was the Six Day War in June of 1967. This was a quick war in which Israel military, Israeli Defense Force (IDF), dispatched of the Arab armies with ease. Israel attacks Egypt, Syria, and Jordan for reasons known to them. By the end of the six days of battle Israel close to tripled the size of its territory. From Egypt Israel seizes the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank for Jordan[15]. It was said in peace negations Egypt would regain the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights would be returned to Syria[16], however Israel would remain in control of these territories along with the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Gaza Strip and West Bank would become the strongholds for the Palestinians; almost like the ghettos the Jews were forced to live in during the Second World War. It can be said that the one thing the Jewish people took out of the Holocaust was how to isolate people they wanted to have limited contact with.

Another war of importance in this conflict would be the Yom Kipper War fought in October of 1973. Much in a the way many feel the Second World War was a extension of the First World War, the Yom Kipper War is seen as a extension of the Six Day War. With Iraq taking the place of Jordan, the belligerents remained the same other wise. This war would start with an Egyptian invasion of the Israeli occupied Sinai Peninsula. With great success the Egyptians would halt their advance and would dig in to hold their positions, leaving Syria to invade from the North from the Golan Heights. Once the IDF regained its wits it repulsed the invading armies and drove deep into Syria and Egypt. These two crushing defeats for the Arab nations at the hands of the IDF are nothing short of embarrassing. It is clear that there is not a balance of power in this region with the Arab armies being routed all the time.

Peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict is possible, but it will come at a high price for all those involved. The fighting has gone on for such a long time it is only natural that the belligerents grow disgusted of it. There are renewed calls for a two state solution to the conflict.   From all outward signs the majority of Palestinians seem to favor that. There are issues that need to be resolved first and issues that stand in the way. An important issue that stands in the way is demographics[17]. There are an estimated five millions Jewish people in Israel and the occupied territories, with about 1.3 millions Arabs in Israel and an estimated 4 million in the Gaza Strip and West Bank alone[18].   What makes this an issue is that the infra-structure for the Palestinians to support so many people in a small amount of space just is not able to do it. In news footage of the Gaza Strip and West Bank the Palestinians live in near squalor conditions. The occupied territories are designed now to keep the Palestine’s in them and out of Israel, similar to the ghetto system used by the Nazis.

Another issue that has to be resolved is the question of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and the IDF withdrawing from the occupied territories. Even moderate voices within the Israeli government believe that the Jewish settlements should be abandoned and the IDF’s presence in the occupied territories should come to and end[19]. Doing this would not only be symbolic, but would show the Arab governments that the Israelis are willing to live peacefully. This would also put pressure on the Arab countries to live peacefully and not be the aggressor.

Lastly is the issue of American involvement in the region. Many around the world view the United States as a strong supporter of Israel. The United States needs to settle on its foreign policy, oil policy, and strategic polices for the region before anything between the Israelis and Arabs can be settled[20]. Since the 1991 Gulf War the United States has been involved in the geo-politics of the Middle East. Also with the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States only went farther in destabilizing the region. Since that invasion Iran has stepped up anti-Israeli rhetoric, calling for an end of the state of Israel.

Chances for peace in the Israeli-Arab Conflict seem to be fleeting, although many people are hopeful that peace can be achieved. There was the symbol of future peace when Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands at the White House while Bill Clinton was President in 1993 when both accepted the Oslo Accords. In the United States and around the world the footage of this must have been shown a millions times. But when there are symbols of peace they seem to be false or halfhearted attempts at peace. The problem they will continue to have is that on both sides each new generation is exposed to greater violence. Once the violence can end peace will be closer.


Bard, Mitchell Geoffrey. Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 3 ed. New York: American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (Aice), 2006.

“Dis73a03 Yom Kippur War.” USC – University of Southern California. (accessed May 10, 2010).

Drummond, Dorothy W. Holy Land, Whose Land? Modern Dilemma, Ancient Roots (2nd ed. Revised). 2nd ed. terre haute: fairhurst press, 2004.

Farsoun, Samih K., and Christina E. Zacharia. Palestine and the Palestinians. Boulder: Westview Pr (Trd), 1997.

Gopin, Marc. Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2002.


Herzog, Chaim. Heroes of Israel: Profiles of Jewish Courage. 1st ed ed. New York – Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1989.

LeBor, Adam. “Zion and the Arabs.” World Policy Journal 24, no. Winter 2007/2008 (2007): 61-75.

“Our Documents – Press Release Announcing U.S. Recognition of Israel (1948).” Welcome to (accessed May 1, 2010).

Qumsiyeh, Mazin B.. Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. London: Pluto Press, 2004.

“START | Terrorist Organization Profile.” START | Home. (accessed May 1, 2010).

“UN General Assembly Resolution 181.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (accessed April 21, 2010).



[2] World Policy Journal p.64

[3] Ibid p.64


[5] ibid


[7] ibid



[10] World Policy Journal p. 66

[11] Sharing the Land of Canaan

[12] ibid

[13] umd

[14] umd

[15] Colorado

[16] Chaim Herzog, Heroes of Israel p. 253

[17] Sharing the Land

[18] Ibid p. 198

[19] Holy Land, Whose Land

[20] ibid

Elements of Failure


Kelo vs. City of New London


The other day while at the gym I overheard a man complaining about how the town of Ellington, via eminent domain, took a segment of his front yard to have a traffic rotary built.  This is considered a typical use of eminent domain and how most people in the United States in envision the government use of eminent domain.  However in the post-war World War II era the use of eminent domain has taking a radical shift in its implications, cultivating into what would become the landmark case of Kelo v. New London.  This shift has to do with economic issues, such as job creation and the increase of tax revenue.  Although the need for municipalities to increase tax revenues is the primary reason for this shift has taking place in the use of eminent domain.  Cities and towns see tax revenue drying up so local governments have no issue with taking land from person A and giving it to person B because person B usually is a business that will develop that land increasing the value of that land, which in turn brings in more tax revenue than what was previously there. 

For many in the United States the Kelo decision would be a welcome outcome, for many others the decision would take what they held as sacred and place it in the crosshairs of any entity that saw a value in the land their homes stood on.  Across the United States in any given year there could be as many as ten thousand cases in which governments are using the power of eminent domain to take land from tax paying homeowners or business owners and handing that land over to development companies or wealthier business owners claiming that doing so will increase tax revenue for the city or town and spurring economic growth[1].  Businesses and their supporters would point to changing market conditions and the need for economic growth should take precedence over everything else, even if it takes from person A and gives it to person B[2].  The Kelo decision would swing the pendulum into an area that would let a segment of the population infringe on the rights and liberty of another, however the pendulum was starting to swing that way for some time.

To get to the Kelo decision one must take a look at how the process of Prior to the Civil War the concept of eminent domain was limited to the federal government in that the government could take land from a private owner for use to build a project that would benefit the general public, like a road or bridge.  What gave the federal government the right to do this was the 5th Amendment[3], however the government had to give just compensation.  The first change to eminent domain, or the takings clause, would not come until the 14th Amendment when it was decided by the Supreme Court that the states, and local town governments, have a right to take land via eminent domain under the equal protection clause[4].  It would not be until after the Second World War, which ushered in a period of unprecedented prosperity in the United States, that the takings clause would again change.

The United States since the beginning of the 20th century has promoted urban renewal by means of urban redevelopment.  One such project that succeeded in urban redevelopment, and did not need to use eminent domain, was the building of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, The New York Central Railroad already owned the land the new terminal was built on.  However projects like the Terminal are rare because the land the Terminal was built on so there was no need to use eminent domain to acquire land.  With successes like Grand Central Terminal comes a need to continue that success.    Railroads are what most people think of when they think of eminent domain, the greedy railroad baron trying to steal land from honest Americans.  With an increase in industrialization and changes in the national economy it would not be the greedy railroad robber-baron trying to get peoples land for nothing by eminent domain, it would become corporations wanting the land to build factories, hotels, and office space.

As urban renewal hit full steam state and local governments face the problem land was limited, so to make up for the lack of land the governments would look for areas within cities and towns that were blighted.  Now in most blighted neighborhoods most of the people may not have much and are willing to take the compensation offered.  However there would be some whose property was in good shape, or better, but unfortunately fell into the blighted zone.  In Washington D.C. one case like this would arise in 1954, Berman v. Parker.   In the District of Columbia there arose a need to improve blighted areas because these substandard areas could be “…injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and welfare…” of the citizens within these areas[5].  The District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency was given the authority to take in possession of properties for redevelopment and in doing so blighted a neighborhood that the Berman’s department store stood.  The Berman’s store was in better shape compared to the rest of the neighborhood in which the overwhelming majority of buildings were beyond repair and still had outside toilets, some even lacked electricity[6].  Without dissent the Court affirmed the decision of the lower court stating it is “…fruitless…” to define the limits of eminent domain, which the Court defined as a police power.  It was, and is; in the eyes of the Court a police power municipal governments need to insure “public safety, public health, morality, peace and quiet, law and order[7].”   The Court further explains it is not the responsibility to of the “…courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line…nor size of a particular project area[8].”  The Court explains why takings such as this are important to the public, but gives a stinging rebuke to the Bermans and others that may want to challenge the takings clause in the future with the final sentence of the opinion.  The Court said in that rebuke “The rights of these property owners are satisfied when they receive that just compensation which the Fifth Amendment exacts as the price of the taking[9].”  This one sentence is very powerful and it alone, despite the precedents the court used, explains what eminent domain is and will be in the future.  It more or less says to take the money that is offered as compensation, do not dispute eminent domain because the government will always win.

Like the Berman case, there is another that the Supreme Court used in the Kelo decision as a precedent was the case of Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff from 1984.  Even though the Midkiff case is an eminent domain case it is nothing like the Berman or Kelo case.  The Midkiff case had to deal with breaking up a long-standing feudal tradition in Hawaii were that 47% of the land was owned by 72 private landowners who leased the land to tenants[10].  The State of Hawaii contended that because of the vast amounts of land these 72 landowners held the value of land was overly inflated and limited growth within the state.  The State wanted to take possession of the land to sell to private individuals; therefore the Hawaiian Legislature enacted legislation to seize the land from the landowners[11].  The landowners claimed they wanted to sell their land but federal tax code would inflict substantive monetary costs, making leasing the land more profitable for them[12].  Like the Kelo case the state of Hawaii wanted to give the land to private homeowners, however many of these homeowners already were leasing the land from the landowners.  It would be because of this that the Court would “…have no trouble concluding that the Hawaii Act is constitutional[13].”  The Midkiff case lacked the usual elements of an eminent domain case in that the land was not blighted and in some cases the renters improved the land.

A case that gets a single mention in each, the Supreme Court decision and the Connecticut Supreme Court, decision is Poletown Neighborhood Council v. City of Detroit.  The Poletown case is from 1981 and was decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan, never made it to the United States Supreme Court.  The Poletown case is very much like the Kelo case, in that a corporation is involved.  By time Kelo was argued in the United States Supreme Court Poletown would be overturned by the Supreme Court of Michigan in 2004 with the Wayne County v. Hathcock case[14].  The details of the Poletown case are eerily similar to that of the Kelo case, which makes one wonder why the Connecticut Supreme Court did not reference it more in the decision it rendered, the Poletown case deals with many of the same elements as Kelo.  The Poletown case revolves around a neighborhood of mostly Polish immigrants that was blighted by the city and taken by eminent domain by the city of Detroit to be given to General Motors, so that a factory can be built on the land. Michigan Supreme Court decided that the land should be given to General Motors because the plant would “…alleviate and prevent conditions of unemployment…” in the state and any “…benefit to a private interest is merely incidental[15].”  To make the point clear the Michigan Supreme Court quoted former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Cooley from an eminent domain case just over a century prior that said “…the most important consideration in the case of eminent domain is the necessity of accomplishing some public good which… the law does not so much regard the means as the need[16].”

The Kelo case is similar to that of Poletown in that a private corporation is involved in that the private corporation will be receiving the taken land to develop for its own need.  In Poletown General Motors was directly involved in the need to take the land, in Kelo Pfizer Pharmaceutical was involved, however Pfizer’s amount of involvement may never be truly known.  It would be safe to say Pfizer was very involved in the process, to the point that some felt there was a backroom deal between Pfizer and then Governor John Rowland[17].  It would be the State of Connecticut issuing the funds, seventy million dollars, to New London and New London Development Council to move forward with what become known as the Fort Trumbull Project, that was to be injection of jobs and tax revenue into the city of New London, with Pfizer building a new state-of-the-art research center next to the proposed project[18].  The land for this proposed project consisted of a scrap metal yard, water treatment plant, residential housing, and abandoned AMTRAK station, and the closed Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory totaling ninety acres of undervalued waterfront property[19].  Not the most attractive pieces of land, certainly showing the elements of a dead city, and one could question why anyone would want to live in this neighbor, but yet a home is a home.

At the core of the defense were a small number of homeowners, nine in total. Some like Suzette Kelo lived there a short while, Kelo herself had just bought her house in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood 1997, a year prior to the project being announced.  Others like, Wilhelmina Dery, lived in the neighborhood for long periods of time.  Dery herself was born in the house she lived in, and would die in that house[20].  It is east to see why Dery would choose not to sell her house; it would be tough for her to replace all the memories.  Suzette Kelo on the other had could have should with the possibility of making a profit, granted it would be at taxpayer expense.

The question in the Kelo case was far beyond that of public use, because to many involved it was exactly how the land would be used.  Many felt the land was going to be used for the benefit of Pfizer, not the public, because Pfizer asked for a hotel, upscale condos, and office buildings be put on the land.  These are all things that were worked into the final proposal, giving the Fort Trumbull project a direct similarity to the Poletown case.  The proposal from the New London Development Corporation would have in one parcel of the project close to ninety thousand square feet of “…high technology research and development office space…located close to other research and development facilities, including those of Pfizer[21].”  New London is not known for high technology research, there are other areas in the state that may fit that description, and New London would be more suited for naval research and development with the Electric Boat Shipyard across the Thames River.  Another issue involved in this project was doubt of any success, Pfizer included or not, because of a number of failures the New London Development Corporation has had since it was formed in 1990[22].  This feeds in the publics beliefs that Pfizer was indeed the entity behind the project with its self interests being served.

New London is a dying city, if not a dead one already.  With the United States Coast Guard Academy and Connecticut College takes up the vast amounts of the land in New London, neither of which is taxable.  Including the parks and churches fifty six percent of the land in New London is nontaxable, leaving the city to struggle to find ways to bring money in[23]. With limited tax revenue coming into the city, the city struggles to pay for services such as police, fire and education.  There is a negative impact to the citizens of New London, an impact that was starting to be felt within the city.  Not helping New London, to the north two casinos were opening up on Native American reservation land.  Growth was all around New London, but not in New London.  There were few options for New London, and the city government knew something would have to be done soon to help the city.

It could be said the Supreme Court may have had the best of intentions in mind when it affirmed the ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court, helping a city that is dying a slow death rebuild and prosper benefiting those who live in the city.  Cities over time become stagnate and need to find sources of increased revenue.  However its borders limit a cities growth, which means they have to take from one and give to another to generate new streams of tax revenue.  However what the Supreme Court failed to do was protect the rights of citizens, who put time and effort in making a home a home.  It is a difficult balance that the society needs to maintain.  With history as a guide we can see that many times the Supreme Court has not always made the best decisions, sometimes choosing a perceived benefit over actual law and actual benefits.  Today in the city of New London the neighborhood that was fought over, the piece of land the Supreme Court said there would be perceived benefits of tax revenue and job growth, is nothing but a empty plot of grass, void of any buildings, jobs, and increased tax revenue.  It seems everyone in New London knew this project would be a failure, except the Supreme Court.


Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

“Bill of Rights Transcript Text”, n.d.

Cohen, Charles E. “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London: An Argument for Banning Economic Development Takings.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 29, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 491–568.

“Eminent Domain – 60 Minutes – CBS News”, September 28, 2003.;lst;1.


Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (Supreme Court 1984).

Kelo, Susette, Thomas B Metzloff, Sarah Wood, Todd Shoemaker, Duke University. School of Law., and Distinctive Aspects of American Law (Project). Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005). Durham, NC: Distinctive Aspects of American Law Video Project, Duke University School of Law, 2006.

Kelo V. City of New London, 268 Conn. 1 (Supreme Court 2004).

Kelo V. New London, 545 US 469 (Supreme Court 2005).

Poletown Neighborhood Council V. City of Detroit, 410 Mich. 616 (Supreme Court 1981).

Saginor, Jesse, and John F. McDonald. “Eminent Domain: A Review of the Issues.” Journal of Real Estate Literature 17, no. 1 (January 2009): 3–43.

STEWART, GEOFFREY T., JERILYN BOWIE-HILL, ANNE K. KEATY, and RAJESH SRIVASTAVA. “The Influence of Kelo V. City of New London, Connecticut on the Use of Eminent Domain in Place Marketing and Economic Development.” Marketing Management Journal 18, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 179–190.

[1] “Eminent Domain – 60 Minutes – CBS News”, September 28, 2003,;lst;1.

[2] Geoffrey T. Stewart et al., “The Influence of Kelo V. City of New London, Connecticut on the Use of Eminent Domain in Place Marketing and Economic Development,” Marketing Management Journal 18, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 179.

[4] Jesse Saginor and John F. McDonald, “Eminent Domain: A Review of the Issues,” Journal of Real Estate Literature 17, no. 1 (January 2009): 3.

[5] Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

[6] Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (Supreme Court 1984).

[11] Charles E. Cohen, “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London: An Argument for Banning Economic Development Takings,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 29, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 512.

[12] Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Cohen, “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London,” 515; Saginor and McDonald, “Eminent Domain,” 11.

[15] Poletown Neighborhood Council V. City of Detroit, 410 Mich. 616 (Supreme Court 1981).

[16] Ibid.

[17] Susette Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) (Durham, NC: Distinctive Aspects of American Law Video Project, Duke University School of Law, 2006).

[18] Ibid.

[19] Kelo V. City of New London, 268 Conn. 1 (Supreme Court 2004); Kelo V. New London, 545 US 469 (Supreme Court 2005); Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005).


[21] Kelo V. City of New London, 268.

[22] Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

[23] Ibid.

Die Mütter

“In marriage, husband and wife are one person and that person is the husband”

– Sir William Blackstone



Opposition to The Equal Rights Amendment

By Dan Whalen

Those who were opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment and those for the Amendment would exaggerate the theoretical effects that the Amendment would have within the country[1].  The Equal Rights Amendments exaggerations had a profound effect on those who could not make up their minds about supporting the Amendment.  Instilling fear into those undecided is a great tool, people can be weary of changes to laws and the effects those changes will have throughout the land.  It makes it a question when we look back of how it almost passed and not why it was defeated.   In reality the Amendment would have minimal effect on existing laws and most likely over time would go unnoticed like some other amendments.  For example many people do not know that the currant income tax is established by the 16th Amendment[2].  Did this defeat of the Amendment show how powerful propaganda can be?

Many historians overlook how those opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment justified their opposition to the Amendment.  A lot of the historians focus on how the supporters of the Amendment took the passage of the Amendment for granted as if work to pass it did not have to be done.  Few do take notice of the wording the opposition to the Amendment used, but they do not look at how the words used by the opposition does not support the argument made against the Amendment.

The question of the equality of people has been a question that has plagued man kind since the times of the great thinkers like Socrates and Plato.  In ancient Greece the term people generally referred only to free adult males[3], those who were not slaves. In Rome the people being treated with equality generally where free adult males who owned land[4].  This is a tradition that continued until the year 1776 a document was written in the newly formed United States stating that all men are created equal.  Of course at that time the term men meant white men, not women or slaves.  As time would progress the term men would be interpreted to mean all those of the human race.  However though when Thomas Jefferson wrote the words all men are created equal he did not say that they are all equal under the law.  However if we move forward eleven years to 1787, the Constitution, with its preamble, it says “We the People.”  These words would imply that everyone has equality in the United States.  This question of equality has been the thorn in the side of the United States ever since the United States became a country.  Long seen by many as the land of equality, it is not.  Consider that a war was fought to free slaves and they were never considered equal even after the war.  American expansion to the West would lead to a near extinction of the Native American, who many in the 19th century considered to be a second-class citizen.  Equality in the United States is something of a myth to some within the society.  What makes this a myth is there is great opposition to equality. Perhaps this is why the most vocal opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment comes from the most surprising of places, primarily women who would benefit from passage of the Amendment.  Some may also find it surprising that the rhetoric used by the leaders of the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment is used to dispute anything, similar to what we see today to what is seen as expansion of government power into the private lives of the citizens, in how they misuse facts and language to destroy what they do not like or feel will infringe on freedom and liberty.

The quest for equal rights for women in the United States has a long and arduous history.  The equal rights movement grew out of the suffrage movement that had a great victory with the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  With the 19th Amendment and the momentum behind it by time the suffragist Alice Paul would pen the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.  It is important to note that during the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the writing of the Equal Rights Amendment a conservative President would be elected.  President Harding wanted what he called “a return to normality,” which meant almost anything.  As the positive momentum was fleeting the Nation Women’s Party held meetings to discuss how the proposed amendment would have an effect on women in the United States.  During this debate it was agreed by those in the Nation Women’s Party, but mostly those in the League of Women Voters, that the Equal Rights Amendment would have a negative effect that could strip away special benefits for women under the law[5].  Their overall view was women are not equal to men, but special[6].  With this delay, or failure to capture the positive momentum, would cost them dearly.  The prosperity of the 1920’s would make people forget about the plight of women.  Pockets flush with money and material goods at affordable prices, peoples priorities changed to less political matters.  There would be surprising opposition to the Amendment by the League of Women’s Voters[7].   Division between the women’s groups will become commonplace, but at this time in the 1920’s it was clear the Equal Rights Amendment would need more time to gain popular support amongst women.  It would give those in Congress and else where who oppose it reason to delay and bury it in everyday business.  The final nail in the coffin to the Equal Rights Amendment and the women’s movement in the post-war 1920’s was the Great Depression in 1929.  The Depression would limit or eliminate any chance for women to gain equal footing to man.  All the momentum they had gained was lost like so many other opportunities that could have been[8].

The Equal Rights Amendment would get a breath of fresh air after the Second World War, when human rights would become ever more popular in the shadow of the inhuman acts of the Nazi Regime in Germany.  The war showed how the rights of people can be trampled on and how people can be reduced to be second-class citizens.  Eleanor Roosevelt would champion in the newly formed United Nations the Declaration of Human Rights.  This new way of thinking in the world breathed new life into the lifeless Equal Rights Amendment and the movement to have it adopted.  During the war the Amendment would be subject to debate for the first time in the United States Congress.  In the House Judiciary Committee there was a discussion about the wording of the Amendment.  The Committee would ask Alice Paul to redraft the Amendment shifting the responsibility to implement the enforcement of the Amendment to the government as opposed to private business[9].  This change in wording was to be an aid to those who will oppose the Amendment later on[10].  Opposing the Amendment would be labor unions, the ACLU, the Women’s Bureau in the Department of Labor, and liberal Democrats because they were afraid the Equal Rights Amendment would promote the rights of the individual at the expense of workers and mothers[11].  The Amendment failed to go beyond debate Congress, but that does not mean support for it was lost.  If anything it would gain support in what then would be considered the most of unlikely places.  There would not be any hearings on the Amendment between 1948 and 1971, mostly due to Democratic Representative Emanuel Celler of Brooklyn, New York[12] the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee[13].  Representative Celler would lose a re-election bid in 1972 when he lost in the Democratic Primary to a woman, Elisabeth Holtzman[14].  His defeat was mostly likely due to his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment because, like during the suffrage movement, pro-Amendment groups decided to vote out those who opposed it[15].

Although there would not be any debates on the Amendment for two decades, which does not mean it was buried away from the light of day.  It would gain much needed strength during this time and gain new supporters.  After World War II the United States would go through one of the largest economic booms in the history of the United States.  This was partly because two industrial giants, Germany and Japan, were bombed literally back to the Stone Age by the United States[16].  This gave the United States virtually no competition for industrial goods.  This industrial boom in the 1950’s would create labor shortages at factories[17].  With this industrial boom a new industry would blossom, the service-retail industry.  People had newfound wealth and needed ways to spend it.  With all these new jobs companies were hiring more women for the workforce.  These women in the workforce would become an economic force, partly because they were creating wealth for themselves.  Now in the workforce women would demand equal rights, partly due to men being paid more for the same work women were doing.  Also the role of the woman was changing in the society; women were becoming more empowered in the society.  But as they became more empowered there was resistance to the Equal Rights Amendment.  The ACLU considered changing their stance on it, but did not, as support with in the organization for the Amendment grew[18].  The ACLU opposition is puzzling because the Amendment bolstered the rights and liberties of women and the ACLU was co-founded during World War I by a woman[19].  New support for the Equal Rights Amendment came from the United Auto Workers union at a convention in 1955 considered a resolution to protect the rights of women members[20].  Many delegates at the convention mentioned many women are the sole breadwinners in their family and have the right to better treatment in the workplace.

In the 1960’s, the Equal Rights Amendment would gain its most strength and spur the debate about the Amendment to a new level.  The 1960’s were a time of change in the United States with the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam Conflict.  It is during this decade of change that those who once opposed the Equal Rights Amendment would support it and those who support it think otherwise.  To help the Amendment gain support of the people President Kennedy decided to have a Commission on the Status of Women, the first of its kind.  He would not be the only President to do this, Presidents Johnson and Nixon would also.  The Commission suggested that cases be tested in the Supreme Court that would expand the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment[21].  It would be President Nixon’s commission that would suggest the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to secure equal rights for women in the United States[22].  To add to the growing appeal of the Amendment a book published in 1963 titled The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.  The book would portray the daily life of a housewife as boring, slavish, and it was a stinging critic of the expanding consumer society. Shortly after the publishing of the book, perhaps inspired by, a new political action group for women was formed in 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW).  Now, unlike the suffrage movement, the women were getting their stories told and made public.

The 1970’s, became the decade of action for the Equal Rights Amendment and important for the women’s movement.  This decade is the watershed of the Amendment.  Battle lines would be drawn and the future political landscape for the United States would be craved out.  The big first step was when Senator Birch Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, would announce hearing in the Senate on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment at a convention of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs[23].  Senator Bayh would be at odds with another Democratic Senator on this issue, Sam Ervin of North Carolina.  This is when the Supreme Court enters the fray with two important cases, both opinions rendered in the same year.  The first case decided was Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. in January 1971[24].  The opinion of the Court was that employers may not deny employment to a person because of a person’s sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Perhaps more important to the women’s cause would be later that year of 1971, the Supreme Court overturned a clause in the Idaho Constitution that gave men a preferred status in probate judgments.  The clause in the case, Reed v. Reed, the Justices concluded was a violation of the 14th Amendment that guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens of the United States[25].  Hailed by proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment as a step forward and an example of why the Amendment is necessary, a minority of opponents would use this case to declare that women already had equal rights under these two provisions used by the Court in deciding the cases.  The Amendment would pass both houses of Congress in 1972, which is when the real fight for the Amendment began.

Congressional Interlude

The 1970’s were the decade in which the old guard of society moved to the background and the new generation moves forward.  It is the decade the opposition gathers strength to ebb the flow of growing momentum supporting the Amendment.  Up until actual passage of the Amendment in Congress, the opposition was in the Congress.  There were two people that stood out as hardened opponents to the Amendment.  One was Representative Emanuel Celler of New York.  As mentioned before he was the sole person that was blocking hearings on the Amendment in the Congressional committee he chaired.  It was a rare procedural loophole that helped the Amendment get voted on in the House of Representatives, circumventing Rep. Cellers committee[26].  Rep. Celler was the focus of a stinging letter from Ann Wallace of NOW for his use of language in opposing the Amendment, his use of language showed how he believed in a male dominated world[27].  One of the most striking things Rep. Celler would say is that “there is no equality except in a cemetery[28].”    A better example of his opposition to this Amendment would be when he said, “There is as much difference between a male and female as is between a chestnut and a chestnut horse.  Viva la difference[29].”  To Rep. Cellers’ despair the House would vote 346 to 15 in favor of the Amendment on August 10th 1970[30].  However in the considered liberal New York Times would find time to mock the vote saying “The House of Representatives . . . voted 346 to 15 for an amendment designed to give women equal rights, just in case they already don’t have them[31].”  Prime examples of the resistance to equal rights for women, as if women should be happy with what they have and not ask for more.

Senator Samuel J. Ervin Jr. of North Carolina would put Rep. Celler to shame with what he would say in opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.  Part of his opposition was that he felt that the Constitution should not be changed.  He has been described as a man from the 18th Century, a relic[32], a fundamentalist, and a strict constitutionalist[33].  Sen. Ervin was a man who amassed great power and influence in the Senate[34], power and influence he was not afraid to throw around and exploit.  This was known by supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment who would add “…we know he has the old-fashion male bias about women[35].”  In contrast to the more progressive Sen. Bayh who was chairman of the Constitutional Rights Subcommittee who felt by bringing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Senate now was needed to “stimulate national concern and prick the national conscience” as a method for successfully passing the Amendment[36].  Sen. Ervin was just starting to practice law when Sen. Bayh was born, which highlights the difference in generations and their opinions on this issue.

In 1970 after the House passed the Amendment by an overwhelming majority Sen. Ervin would take on the responsibility to buck the trend and kill the Amendment in the Senate.  Sen. Ervin and a few other Southern Senators did is add what are known as riders to the Amendment that they knew other Senators would vote against normally to bury the Amendment and prevent a vote on it.  A rider is similar to a earmark in that it is a item added to a bill that alone may not get passed, but added to a more popular bill it will, or kill a bill by adding something unpopular to the bill.  One rider added to the Amendment by Senator James B. Allen (D) of Alabama was an item that would have taken away the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over public schools[37].  In the debate over the rider and other riders added to the Amendment, Sen. Ervin commented that, “…most sex discrimination is a matter of private practice, not public law[38].”  In essence, what Sen. Ervin meant with his comment is that discrimination of any kind is perfectly acceptable and there should not be a law saying otherwise.   Sen. Ervin would even go as far as to introduce a bill to substitute the Equal Rights Amendment that would make laws passed by Congress and state legislatures apply to both men and women identically “ …no matter [how] irrational or unreasonable[39].” Sen. Ervin would stress the point with this bill that women should be exempt from the draft, which is a moot point because the draft was in the process of being phased out.  Also Sen. Ervin would point out he would be willing to permit passage of laws that are “…reasonably designed to promote the health, safety, privacy, education or economic welfare of women, or to enable them to perform their duties as homemakers or mothers[40].”  What Sen. Ervin tried to accomplish with this bill is up for debate, but it exhibits how he felt that women should not be treated the same as men.  More over his counter bill was an effort to derail the Equal Rights Amendment with a lesser token piece of legislation.  Again the language Sen. Ervin would use to suggest that he feels it is important for women to stay in the home and be of service to their husband.  The substitute bill Sen. Ervin proposed continued to promote the patriarchal custom within the American society. Not to mention the perceived fear that the Amendment would in some way overturn many laws, federal and state, that is concerned alimony and child support[41].  Nevertheless the Amendment would die in 1970 never leaving the floor of the Senate.  While the Amendment could not get out of Congress, other laws in the country promoting equality of the sexes where passed.  One such law was in New York City, passing a law to end discrimination on the grounds of sex in places of public gathering, such as bars[42].  Everyone within New York City was pleased with this law, except for perhaps Emanuel Celler who must have thought the city had become a cemetery.

All rise for the honorable . . .

The Equal Rights Amendment would get a reprieve the following year when the House would have hearings on the Amendment.  It would make its way through committee and the full House with another strong vote of support[43].  However many would lead one to believe this was not an easy for the public to accept, or so it would seem. The Equal Rights Amendment was popular among many people in the United States[44].  To start the year of 1971 off the Supreme Court without the wisdom of past precedents took upon its self to decide a case in which a mother of seven alleged that the Martin Marietta Corp. refused to hire her because she had at the time pre-school-age children, they have been hiring men with pre-school-age children[45].  This was not the overwhelming victory the women’s movement was hoping for, nor did it strengthen the need for the Amendment.  Another case later in the year would have the more profound implications.  The case of Reed v. Reed from Idaho in which after the death of the son of a separated couple the probate court decided after both parents requested to be the administer of the estate, that the father should be.  The probate court based that decision on the clause that the male is preferred which was in the Idaho State Code[46].  The Court ruled that this provision in the Idaho State Code was a violation of the 14th Amendment, which states in Section 1: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws[47].”

Both legal cases highlighted how the Amendment would cover all these legal challenges making such cases unnecessary and save the country a lot of time and money by preventing these future cases from going through the courts.  The Supreme Court did to a degree leave open the door that parenthood can be considered a basis in employment[48].  There were other cases in the Federal Court system that would set precedents that would eliminate some of the workplace discrimination against women.  In the case of Weeks v. Southern Bell the Ninth Circuit ruled it is up the employer to prove a woman could not perform a job she has applied for in a safe and productive manner[49].  In a similar ruling the Ninth Circuit ruled that in the case of Rosenfeld v. Southern Pacific a woman should be given the opportunity to prove she can do a position or job she has applied for[50].  These rulings were an interpretation of the Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment, which was making state and federal laws designed to protect women from harmful jobs obsolete.

It is surprising that groups supporting and opposing the Amendment never mentioned these cases.  For the groups supporting the Amendment the cases would weaken their argument for the Amendment, and the cases showed that President Kennedy’s Commissions approach to achieving equal rights for women could bring success.  For the opposition to bring it should have been a natural reaction to support their agreement.  By not bringing it up the opposition focused on another argument to support their argument.

“And God looked down into the kitchen and there wasn’t any stew![51]

The most vocal of the opponents to the Equal Rights Amendment would have to be a woman named Phyllis Schlafly.   Her stance against the Equal Rights Amendment would propel her to fame in ultra-conservative circles.  It would be her radical views against the Equal Rights Amendment at times seemed illogical and borderline hysteria.  A lot of the themes she used then are alive today when conservatives oppose something.  It is uncanny how her message has withstood the test of time.  It is her message itself however that is the enigma when one look at her background.

She has 6 children and a law degree from Washington University.  She was a practicing lawyer.  She remained married until the death of her husband until he died in 1993[52].  With all this said one could say she would be for the Equal Rights Amendment based on her background and seeing the inequality in the legal system.  It is almost hypocritical for her to be against the Amendment because many felt the Amendment was for professional, white-collar women.

In 1972 Phyllis Schlafly would form the conservative political action group known as the Eagle Forum, partly to help her promote her pro-family agenda by speaking out against the Equal Rights Amendment[53].  Like many other conservative political action groups Schlafly chose something seen as patriotic as the symbol and name of her group[54].  Since the bald eagle is the national bird it is a symbol of America.  Part of her opposition to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment was a fear that the government was looking to control the daily lives of women and their families[55].   Schlafly said, “The federal government is breathing down the necks of industry and forcing reverse discrimination in the hiring if less qualified women instead of men[56].”  Clearly a statement like this is to warn people that the federal government is going to take over control of private business.  She affirms this with, “The ERA isn’t going to provide employment for women.  Only private industry can provide jobs.[57]”  Words chosen wisely to remind people whom the enemy in a country in the middle of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.  Summoning the fear of communism is a tool often used by those in conservative movements, like the John Birch Society, in the 1960’s.  It helps creates an us and them mentality in the country, dividing the country needlessly.

Schlafly’s other attack against the Equal Rights Amendment was that the Amendment was an attack if on the American housewife.  A time-honored tradition passed down from the patriarchal tradition of the older civilizations in which the husband was the sole breadwinner and was the sole member of the family that was in the workforce.  Schlafly did not see the reason for the status quo to change, change was allowing women the freedom to enter the workforce and support their family equally with their husband.  Today two-income families are commonplace, but to Phyllis Schlafly it was an affront to civilized society.  Schlafly felt that the women’s liberation movement was a manifestation forced upon women from the media[58].  In essence Schlafly is saying that what the media projects to be a real women is false, that a real woman is a housewife.  Schlafly would support that by saying women are most privileged people in American society[59].  Schlafly based this opinion on the genetic difference that women can have babies, relying on the husband to support the family, and that if the husband leaves that by law he has to pay child support[60].  This could be, in theory, true and if asked any lawyer who argues in family and child support courts knows the laws are slanted towards women even though they are suppose to look at both parties equally and decide in the best interest of the child.  This is a point Schlafly points out when she said in a speech “Another bad effect of the Equal Rights Amendment is that it will abolish a woman’s right to child support and alimony . . .the man is always required to support his wife and child he caused to be brought into this world[61].”   Called “privileges” by Schlafly, it can be called extortion by some, it was suggested that Schlafly had a 19th century view which she failed to noticed that in the 19th century common law women were the property of the man[62].  This is in contrast to those women who felt that being a housewife is tantamount to slavery.

The household slavery issue as many in the pro-ERA movement would call it had its birth in the 1940’s with its apex, the publishing of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan in 1963.  Many would argue no person would want the job of a housewife because the job lacks the standardized legal protections other jobs have[63].  Pointed out also is that the housewife does not receive a wage[64], which for the labor she performs is equal to slavery.  As time progressed many women would mock the work the idea that the role of housewife to be liberating and fulfilling of their needs[65].  It is important to point out that many new inventions would add time to the day for housewife such as the dishwasher, laundry machine, and the dryer giving the housewife periods of unproductive time in the home.  Women of the day would have to find new hobbies to kill the time during their day at the home.

These inventions meant little to some who thought being a housewife was the greatest job to ever have.  Not having to go out in the workforce and making a living left a few women feeling like they were special, if not privileged.  They would not the privilege of being a housewife to be treaded upon by others who look down upon this lifestyle.  Following the in the steps of Phyllis Schlafly other groups opposing the Equal Rights Amendment would spring up all over the country.  These groups would go by names such as the Pussycat League, Protect Our Women, League of Housewives[66], and Happiness of Womanhood.  Happiness of Womanhood was the most vocal of these groups and perhaps the oldest.  The group would rely heavily on their message which was that they were more than happy to be housewives and nothing else.  Happiness of Womanhood considered themselves at war with pro-equal rights and women’s liberation groups.  One of the many leaders of Happiness of Womanhood was concerned because she thought that the “…woman liberationists have tried to have the word ‘housewife’ taken out of the dictionary[67].”   Another would add with the comment “I don’t want my 8-year-old niece using restrooms with adult men[68].”  Despite of the silliness of their beliefs of what they thought the effects of what Equal Rights Amendment would be, they all agreed that the Amendment was an attack on the American family.  What the groups failed to point out is that there are constitutional rights to privacy that guarantee separate restrooms for both sexes[69].  Highlighted by the signs they used at protests against the Amendment like “Communists have done it Again[70].”  All the members of Happiness of Womanhood wanted to do was have their men “make the living and we’ll make life worth living[71].”  That is a ideal that most people in ever changing times cannot live by.  However many of their statements highlight the absurdity of their thoughts on what the Equal Rights Amendment would do and how extreme they had to make their message.  It is safe to say in a civilized society young girls would not be able to go into the same restroom with adult males.  With that said the society does not find it odd for a man or woman to bring their young children into a restroom of the opposite sex so that they can change them or keep and eye on them.  They do show that dispensing misinformation and a blatant disregard to the common sense of the average person can get headlines in the press.

These groups however fell under the umbrella of a group called STOP-ERA.  STOP-ERA was headed by the aforementioned Phyllis Schlafly[72], which would make one think she was looking to promote herself and garner popular to perhaps profit from it.  Under her direction these groups would not comment on any number of the legal cases that would have a impact on women’s rights working their way through the Federal court system.  It could be argued that by doing so it would it would show how a minimal impact the Equal Rights Amendment would have on the society at large[73].  If they did speak of these cases it would not only weaken their argument, it would bring these cases into the light of day.  The opposition took advantage that most people do not know what is happening in the Federal court system or in the Supreme Court.  This is not information the average citizen generally pays attention to.  Schlafly being a lawyer would know this thus by not speaking about the cases not only downplays them, but it suppresses them in essence.  Reason would suggest this is why Schlafly wanted all the anti-Amendment groups under the umbrella of one master group.  By doing this Schlafly could use the STOP-ERA to spread the message against the Amendment to the more conservative parts of the country, primarily the South and Mid-West[74].  The message to these states was that if the Equal Rights Amendment passed was that if the Amendment passed white homemakers would lose their homes and families[75].   This of course is illogical and lacks any factual foundation as an argument against the Amendment.  By saying husbands would abandon their families and the woman would be left to fend for her and any children is a very powerful propaganda message.

Perspective and Impact

When one looks back at the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment it will be seen how the people of the opposition would shape the battles of public debate for generations to come.  To say that the Equal Rights Amendment is defeated is at best foolish when one considers that the 27th Amendment was first proposed on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on May 7th, 1992[76].  Considering that the Equal Rights Amendment only needs three more states to ratify it shows that it is not defeated.  Having 35 states having ratified it shows it is far from defeat.  What it does show is that those who oppose it had control of the dialogue in the debate over the Amendment.  Before the 24-hour news cycle and the propagandizing of many right-wing news agencies, opponents to the Amendment would use any means to get their message out in the news.  It could explain why they would make what can be considered by some to be ridiculous comments about how the Amendment if passed would have some major impact on the society.  The opposition would argue that the Amendment would in some way change the role of women[77], but they never explain how the role of women would change.  The bulk of their argument was that in some way their roles has housewives would be forever changed, but technology and consumerism had more of a profound impact on the changing role of the housewife.    As women entered the workforce with college degrees in the 1970’s, they would make roughly the same as a man with an eighth-grade education[78].  How women opposed to the Amendment were more concerned about being housewives and unconcerned with the working women is shocking to say none the less.  But it highlights how selfish the society has come.  It is similar to the debate the United States had when President Obama proposed healthcare reform.  Those with insurance did not care about those who did not.  People opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment would oppose it because they felt in was the government over stepping its bounds.  One woman opposed to the Amendment said, “I’m totally concerned about the government intervening in our lives.  I just feel that we’re being surrounded by rules and regulations; you almost feel that you are being strangled[79].”  The sentiment that the government is entering the private lives of the citizens is something heard form the supporters of the Tea Party movement in the United States.  That is were the similarity ends, but it is a symptom of a society consumed with the self and not the betterment of the others.

This is also the problem human rights groups have with their battle for everyone to have human rights.  Those who have certain rights may not want others to have those same rights that they have and not everyone wants those rights.  Think of a housewife who has no income of her own, but relies on her husband for support.  Today one looks back and sees that housewife as a leech, unwilling to contribute.   Times were different then and it was possible for a man to support his family with his income alone.  What the housewives then failed to see was the society was changing and that one income would eventually need to be supplemented with another.  Those opposed to the Amendment were afraid of the change society was bringing their way.  Think of Sen. Ervin, a man born in a time when the man was the breadwinner.  It was within the culture he grew up in, to think otherwise did not make sense to him.  That old culture gave the wife the sense that her right was to be supported by her husband[80].  In these times however that old notion seems a bit cliché; keeping the old habits of patriarchy and authoritarianism as they are[81].



Original wording to the Equal Rights Amendment

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.


Version Proposed from 1943 to 1972

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.


Version of the Equal Rights Amendment Passed in 1972

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3.  This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.



Primary Sources:

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“American Civil Liberties Union Records, The Roger Baldwin Years, 1917-1950: Finding Aid,” n.d.

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Charlton, Linda. “Badillo, Rangel, Delaney And Podell Renominated.” New York Times, June 21, 1972.

———. “The Feminine Protest.” New York Times, August 28, 1970.

———. “Women March Down Fifth in Equality Drive.” New York Times, August 27, 1970.

Chittick, Elizabeth L. “The Question of Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment PRO…” Congressional Digest 56, no. 6 (June 1977): 174.

Commission on Civil Rights, Washington. “The Equal Rights Amendment: Guaranteeing Equal Rights for Women Under the Constitution. Clearinghouse Publication 68.” (June 1, 1981).

“Digital History,” n.d.

Down on the Farm, a Wife’s Life Isn’t the Drudgery It Used to Be.” New York Times, May 28, 1973.

Edwards, Don. “Equal Rights, Unlimited.” New York Times, November 25, 1971.

“EBSCOhost: Should Congress Approve the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution,” n.d.


“EBSCOhost: The Equal Rights Amendment Reconsidered: Politics, Policy, and Social Mobil…,” December 7, 2010.

“EBSCOhost: The Question Of Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment PRO.,” n.d.

“Effort to pass new Equal Rights Amendment long overdue, says women’s studies director – University of North Texas News Service,” n.d.

“Equal Rights.” New York Times, October 10, 1970.

“Equal Rights Amendment,” n.d.

“Equal Rights Amendment Information,” n.d.

“Equal Rights Bill Pushed in Senate.” New York Times, August 12, 1970.

“Equal Rights for Women.” New York Times, October 6, 1971.

“Equal Rights: Who Is Against It And Why.” New York Times, September 13, 1970.

“Equal-Rights Proposal Approved by 20 States.” New York Times, August 22, 1972.

Ervin Jr., Sam J. “The Question Of Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment CON…” Congressional Digest 56, no. 6 (June 1977): 171.

Flint, Jerry M. “Job Bias Against Women Easing Under Pressure.” New York Times, January 31, 1971.

“From Phyllis Schlafly, The Positive Woman (1977),” n.d.

Graham, Fred P. “Court, for First Time, Overrules A State Law That Favors Men.” New York Times, November 23, 1971.

Herbers, John. “Senator Ervin Thinks The Constitution Should Be Taken Like Mountain Whisky– Undiluted and Untaxed.” New York Times, November 15, 1970.

“House Panel Votes Equal Rights Plan Decried by Women.” New York Times, June 24, 1971.

Johnston, Laurie. “NOW Expands the List of What It’s For and What It’s Against.” New York Times, June 1, 1974.

———. “Women Observe Their Franchise.” New York Times, August 27, 1971.

Kelbley, Charles A. “Woman’s Chains.” New York Times, November 7, 1971.

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[1] Jane Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 2.

[2] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27,” n.d.,

[3] Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, First edition first printing. (Grand Central Publishing, 2004), 3.

[4] Ibid, 3

[5] “Women Will Oppose Equal Rights Plan,” New York Times, May 1, 1924, 11.

[6] Dorothy McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A. : policy debates and gender roles, 2nd ed. (New York: Garland Pub., 1997), 30.

[7] “Women Pitch Rival Camps.,” New York Times, June 9, 1924, 2.

[8] David Bouchier, The feminist challenge : the movement for women’s liberation in Britain and the USA, 1st ed. (New York: Schocken Books, 1984), 19.

[9] McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A. : policy debates and gender roles, 30.

[10] See Appendix for the wording to the Amendment and revisions

[11] McBride, Women’s rights in the U.S.A.: policy debates and gender roles, 38.

[12] Judith Hole, Rebirth of feminism, 1st ed. (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973).

[13] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” New York Times, September 20, 1970.

[14] Linda Charlton, “Badillo, Rangel, Delaney And Podell Renominated,” New York Times, June 21, 1972.

[15] Laurie Johnston, “Women Observe Their Franchise,” New York Times, August 27, 1971, 30; Eileen Shanahan, “Rights Strategy Voted by Women,” New York Times, April 8, 1973.

[16] Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story (Starz / Anchor Bay, 2010).

[17] Bouchier, The Feminist Challenge : The Movement for Women’s Liberation in Britain and the USA, 19.

[18] Alan Reitman to Board of Directors and National Committee, American Civil Liberties Union, 20 April 1955, “Women and Social Movements in the United States,” n.d.,

[19] “American Civil Liberties Union Records, The Roger Baldwin Years, 1917-1950: Finding Aid,” n.d.,

[20] Nancy MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009).

[21] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?.”

[22] Eileen Shanahan, “Woman Unionist Scores Equality Plan,” New York Times, September 10, 1970.

[23] “May Hearings set on Women’s Rights,” New York Times, February 27, 1970, 39.

[24] Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., 400 US 542 (Supreme Court 1971).

[26] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” New York Times, August 11, 1970.

[27] “Letters to the Editor of The Times,” New York Times, August 28, 1970, 26.

[28] Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” 242.

[29] “Quote in the news,” Boston Globe, August 11, 1970.

[30] Eileen Shanahan , “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” 1.

[31]  Robert Sherrill, “That Equal-Rights Amendment What, Exactly, Does It Mean?,” 241.

[32] John Herbers, “Senator Ervin Thinks The Constitution Should Be Taken Like Mountain Whisky– Undiluted and Untaxed,” New York Times, November 15, 1970.

[33] James M. Naughton, “Constitutional Ervin,” New York Times, May 13, 1973, 85.

[34] Ibid., 13.

[35] John Herbers, “Senator Ervin Thinks The Constitution Should Be Taken Like Mountain Whisky– Undiluted and Untaxed.”

[36] “Women Fill Hearing on Rights Equality,” New York Times, May 6, 1970, 38.

[37] “Riders Threaten Equal Rights Bid,” New York Times, October 9, 1970, 11.

[38] Ibid

[39] “Substitute Bill Is Planned On Equal Rights for Women,” New York Times, August 18, 1970, 71.

[40] Ibid

[41] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Plan for Women Voted by House, 350-15,” 23.

[42] Grace Lichtenstein, “McSorley’s Admits Women Under a New City Law,” New York Times, August 11, 1970.

[43] Eileen Shanahan, “Equal Rights Amendment Passed by House, 354-23,” New York Times, October 13, 1971.

[44] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 1.

[45] Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., vol. 400.

[46] Burger, Reed v. Reed (BURGER, C.J., Opinion of the Court), 404 U.S. 71 (U.S. Supreme Court 1971).

[47] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27.”

[48] Fred P. Graham, “HIGH COURT BARS SEX BIAS IN HIRING IN TEST OF ’64 ACT,” New York Times, January 26, 1971, 21.

[49]  Eileen Shanahan, “Women’s Job Rights Gain In Federal Court Rulings,” New York Times, July 13, 1971, 37.

[50] Ibid, 37

[51] Lewis Black, The End Of The Universe (Stand Up! Records, 2002).

[52] “Phyllis Schlafly Bio,” n.d.,

[53] Ibid.

[54] Other groups, like the Tea Party, feel choosing a name for their group from the history of the United States some how makes them more patriotic than other Americans.  This is seen in those groups that oppose communism.

[55] Caroline Kortge, “Schlafly Says Women’s Movement is Dying in an Anti-Feminist Surge,” Eagle & Beacon, 3 August 1977. “Women and Social Movements in the United States,” n.d.,

[56] Ibid

[57] Ibid

[59] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents, p. 114

[60] Ibid, p. 116

[61] Ibid, p. 116

[62] Jane O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” Nation 227, no. 2 (July 8, 1978): 46.

[63] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History With Documents, 51.

[64] Ibid, 51

[65] MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000 : a Brief History with Documents, 94.

[66] David Bouchier, Feminist Challenge (Schocken, 1984), 160.

[67] By United Press International, “They’re Housewives and Proud of It,” New York Times, April 3, 1972, 44.

[68] , “Women Lobby Against ‘Rights’,” New York Times, April 15, 1973, 82.

[69] O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” 46.

[70] “Nation: Women on the March,” Time, September 7, 1970,,9171,902696-1,00.html.

[71] By United Press International, “They’re Housewives and Proud of It,” 44.

[72] “Phyllis Schlafly Bio.”

[73] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 143.

[74] Bouchier, Feminist Challenge, 162.

[75] Ibid, 162

[76] “The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27.”

[77] Mansbridge, Why we lost the ERA, 20.

[78] Bella S. Abzug, “Power to the Majority — Women,” New York Times, August 26, 1971, 37.

[79]  Sarah Slavin, The Equal Rights Amendment: The Politics and Process of Ratification of the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Haworth Press, 1982), 46.

[80] O’Reilly, “The Bogus Fear of ERA.,” The Nation, 46.

[81] Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry: (Princeton University Press, 2003), 73.