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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era 1945-1975: Clabaugh Act (1947)

Clabaugh Act (1947)




The Clabaugh Act (1947)

Almost immediatelyafter the end of World War II the Cold War began.  Civil wars broke out in China and Greece, and President Harry Truman established the “Truman Doctrine” in March, 1947, affirming the American policy of global opposition to communism.  Domestically, the federal government initiated “loyalty oaths” for federal employees, and many public and private agencies followed suit soon after.  In Illinois, the General Assembly passed the Clabaugh Act in July, 1947.  The act prohibited any official from the University of Illinois from extending university facilities “to any subversive, seditious, and un-American organization, or to its representatives.”  The sponsor, Rep. Charles Clabaugh of Champaign, said the bill was directed specifically at the American Youth for Democracy chapter on the University of Illinois campus, but would generally stamp out any and all “subversive” organizations on campus.  The bill was passed unanimously in the house and by a 41-1 margin in the senate. 


University of Illinois Sources:

Student Organizations Publications, 1871- (RS 41/6/840): Box 4 includes publications from the American Youth for Democracy

Student and Faculty Org. Constitutions & Registration Cards, (RS 41/2/41): Box 3 includes information on the American Youth for Democracy, Box 28 includes the Young Progressives of America.

Nicholas C. Wisseman Papers, 2003 (RS 41/30/153) – MA thesis “McCarthyism at the UI” covers Clabaugh Act controversy at UI

Charles W. Clabaugh Papers, 1979 (RS 26/20/45):  Includes a sketchbook with Clabaugh’s observations on the legislature and public policy.

Fraternity Affairs File, 1941-85 (RS 41/82/9): Includes information on the “All American Conference to Combat Communism”

Myron Miller, “The University Should Stop Treating Students Like Children,” The Green Caldron (March 1953) (RS: 15/7/811): Box 2

Daily Illini, 1874- (Microform in Newspaper Library)

Reference Vertical Files- Clabaugh Act (at University Archives)


Eleanor Bontecou, The Federal Loyalty-Security Program, (Ithaca, N.Y., 1953).

Robert A. Freer, Academic freedom at state universities : the university of Illinois, 1867-1950, a case study. (Cambridge, MA: 1950) [microfilm copy of this undergraduate Harvard thesis available in the UI History Library]

Stanley I. Kutler, The American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War (New York, 1982).

Illinois General Assembly Oral History Program, “Charles W. Clabaugh Memoir, Vol. II,” (Springfield, Il, 1982)

James Truett Selcraig, The Red Scare in the Midwest, 1945–1955: A State and Local Study (Ann Arbor: 1982).

Francis H. Thompson, The Frustration of Politics: Truman, Congress, and the Loyalty Issue, 1945-1953 (Rutherford, N.J., 1979).

Nicholas Wisseman, “Falsely Accused: Cold War Liberalism Reassessed,” Historian, 66 (Summer 2004), 320–34.

Chicago Tribune, “House Measure Calls for Fee on Businesses,” May 15, 1947, p.1.

Chicago Tribune, “List Members of A.Y.D. unit at Illinois U.” May 25, 1947, p. 23.

Chicago Tribune, “House Passes Bill to Probe Red Activities,” July 1, 1947, p. 10.