Violence Commission

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Editor: Stanley I. Kutler
Date: 2003
Dictionary of American History
From: Dictionary of American History(Vol. 8. 3rd ed.)
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
Document Type: Topic overview
Pages: 1
Content Level: (Level 4)
Lexile Measure: 1230L

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Page 340


VIOLENCE COMMISSION. After the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order creating the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. Its mandate was to explain the forces that were creating a more violent society and make recommendations for reducing the level of violence. Johns Hopkins president emeritus Milton S. Eisenhower chaired the commission, and federal judge A. Leon Higginbotham served as vice-chair. Other members included the longshoreman and libertarian philosopher Eric Hoffer, Terrence Cardinal Cooke, then archbishop of the New York archdiocese, and U.S. House majority whip Hale Boggs. The commission heard testimony from two hundred experts and collected and analyzed data. The final report was transmitted to President Richard Nixon on 10 December 1969. Titled To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquillity, it argued that the growing violence was a symptom of enduring social and economic inequality, and that the only long-term answer to controlling violence in a democratic society was to rebuild the cities and provide jobs and educational opportunity for the poor. The commission recommended a $20 billion increase in spending for work and social service programs, as well as a recommitment to a full-employment economy. It also recommended handgun control legislation and highlighted the connection between television and real-life violence. The commission's liberal recommendations were ignored by the administration of Richard Nixon. The commission's work, however, influenced a generation of liberal criminologists.


United States. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquillity: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969.

Richard M. Flanagan

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Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3401804415