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A. Mitchell Palmer
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U.S. Attorney General
    (May 4, 1872-May 11, 1936)
    Born in White Haven, Pennsylvania
    Birth name was Alexander Mitchell Palmer
    Congressman from Pennsylvania (1909-15)
    US Attorney General (1919-21)
    He was offered the post of Secretary of War, but declined because of his Quaker beliefs.
    He launched America's first 'Red Scare' four decades before Joseph McCarthy.
    He had 10,000 suspected Communists, socialists and anarchists swept up in mass arrests.
    He ordered people detained without charges.
    His influence waned after he predicted Communists would try to overthrow the government on May Day of 1920, only for the day to pass without incident.
    He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination (1920).
    As a congressman, he fought for legislation to protect workers in dangerous jobs.
    A mail bomb sent by anarchists to his house was intercepted and defused (April, 1919).
    Two months later, his home was damaged when an anarchist bomb went off prematurely, killing the would-be assassin.
    Despite his anti-radical stance, he petitioned President Wilson to pardon socialist leader Eugene V. Debs.

Credit: C. Fishel

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