The Lusk Committee
The Committee's Report
On April 24, 1920, the committee submitted its four-volume report to the State Senate. Entitled Revolutionary Radicalism: Its History, Purpose and Tactics, the first two volumes of the report detailed the development of radical and left wing movements in Europe and the United States and discussed how radical organizations used propaganda to spread ideology and promote seditious activity, particularly in the United States.
The last two volumes of Revolutionary Radicalism discussed existing constructive elements that could combat the spread of radical thought. The committee in particular stressed the role of education in the formation of traditional American political, economic, and social values among citizens. The committee recommended re-educating teachers and "the educated class"--those in colleges and universities and with advanced degrees--by reorganizing and extending the educational system. The report's principal recommendations were embodied in four legislative bills aimed at reforming the educational system. These bills would require: 1) that teachers obtain a special certificate certifying that they were persons of good character and loyal to the institutions of the State and nation; 2) that all schools not under the supervision of the State Education Department or maintained by a religious denomination obtain a license from the Board of Regents; 3) that courses in adult and immigrant education be continued and expanded; and 4) that educational facilities be expanded to factories and other places of work.
These bills were passed by the legislature but Governor Alfred E. Smith, a Democrat, vetoed them. When Republican Nathan Miller assumed the Governor's Office in 1921, the legislature passed the laws again and Miller signed them into law. When Smith took back the Governor's office two years later, his administration successfully pushed to repeal the laws.