Monday, March 25, 2013

Loyalty Oath

       Did you know that fear of radicalism caused Massachusetts, along with several other states, to pass loyalty oath requirements for teachers in the 1930’s?  While searching for materials related to former Headmaster Ted Eames, I came across a small card signed by William B. Jacob, swearing his support for the US Constitution and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Additional research led to the discovery that Massachusetts passed a law in 1935 requiring all teachers, both at public and private institutions, to sign such a card before being allowed to teach.  Judging from the subsequent letter sent in December of 1935, the state intended on enforcing this newly passed requirement. The law was not without controversy; several professors at Tufts University and Harvard University refused to sign oaths of allegiance.  While support for the oath waned the following year, when elections led to many oath supporters not being returned to the MA legislature, the law remained in effect until struck down by the MA Supreme Court in 1967.

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