Daughters of the American Revolution

Founded in 1890, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution represent a consistency in ideology of American traditionalism and staunch patriotism. Initially, when refused entry into the Sons of the American Revolution society, four women conceptualized and originated their own organization in retaliation. Their motto, “God, home and country,” sits at the center of their identity, as the women work to defend a “patriotic equilibrium”, that during the 1950s was “in danger of being destroyed by un-American radicals.”[1] Membership in the DAR reached highs of almost 200,000, their hardline values pushed by predominantly white, middle- and upper- class women of whom could prove “lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence” and be able to provide documentation “of the Revolutionary War service of her Patriot ancestor.”[2]

The DAR played a vital role in the women’s anti-communist crusade of the 1950s, their legislative efforts forcing them into the limelight of anti-communist activism. Projecting a maternal concern upon the fear of communism, women of the DAR used concerns of “potentially subversive effects of communism among America’s youth”[3] and “mob rule and the death of patriotism if un-American socialists, communists, and other radicals were allowed to spread their dangerous doctrines within American labor unions.”[4] Fiercely guarding the nuclear American home, the influential organization underlined the relationship between traditional family values and anti-communism: “any type of change with regard to America’s entrenched gender hierarchies would be detrimental to the country’s political system and vice versa.”[5]

Injecting themselves into key political discourses, the DAR were a source of support for the government’s own battle upon communism in the US. As written in the New York Times, DAR president Miss Carraway, known for her relentless passion, strongly supported the Congressional investigations amidst the Red Scare. Her disdain for communism is clear, comparing the reporting of communism as similar to reporting a murder.

Current evolutions of the DAR, furthermore, revel in the standards set by the organization’s anti-communist campaign of the 1950s: “even after the communist hysteria of the 1950s had subsided, the organization upheld the banner of anticommunism and warned of the devasting consequences this un-American ideology would have for US society.”[6] 


References

[1] Simon Wendt, “Defenders of Patriotism or Mothers of Fascism? The Daughters of the American Revolution, Antiradicalism, and Un-Americanism in the Interwar Period,” Journal of American Studies 47, no. 4 (November 2013), 950.

[2] “How to Join,” Daughters of the American Revolution, accessed April 2020, https://www.dar.org/national-society/become-member/how-join.

[3]Wendt, “Defenders of Patriotism or Mothers of Fascism?”,961.

[4] Ibid, 950.

[5] Ibid, 947.

[6] Ibid, 968.

“Speakers to D. A. R. Back Red Inquiries.” New York Times (1923 – current file). Apr 20, 1954. https://colorado.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.colorado.idm.oclc.org/docview/113095388?accountid=14503