Loyalty Oaths

The concept of a Loyalty Oath is the loyalty to an organization, institution, or state for which one is a member or participant. Similarly, it is not a pledge or oath of allegiance but more of a legal document a person signs and is legally bound to. Loyalty Oaths were commonly used between 1950 and 1960 when there were social tensions in the United States and people wanted to guard themselves against particular problems. These problems ranged from changes in an organization, violent overthrow of a state, or the creation of problems within an organization. During the Cold War between 1949 and 1951, the University of California Regents, professors, and students were embroiled in the Loyalty Oath Controversy, as were many other college and university campuses. Professors were required, by the regents, to sign oaths to affirm their loyalty to the California state constitution and a denial of membership or belief in organizations, including communist organizations, pushing for the overthrow of the United States government. In the summer of 1950, thirty-one non-signers, including internationally known scholars, were dismissed. The United States Supreme Court continues to recognize and consider them to be legal documentation.