The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 164
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Ebey Affair, however, had a deeper meaning. An examination of
the charges made against George Ebey and the persons responsible for the
attack on his reputation reveals that, just as it did on the national level, the
Communist issue served as an effective, simplistic device to symbolize
a plurality of more complex issues for conservative political pressure groups.
The Houston example demonstrates that McCarthyism was not a crusade
by the general public but a widely practised exercise of interest group
politics-not an aberration but a typical expression of the American poli-
tical culture.3 A review of George Ebey's background before he came to
Houston in 1952 indicates how susceptible he was to a McCarthyite at-
tack, especially when one considers the mood and climate of Houston dur-
ing the McCarthy period.
A native Californian, George Ebey attended California schools, gradu-
ated from Leland Stanford University in 1929, and received his masters
degree in education from that institution in 1931. Upon completion of his
graduate training at Stanford, Ebey began teaching at the Kamehameha
School in Honolulu, Hawaii, remaining there until 1937. While in Hawaii,
he began his participation in various activities that later would furnish
ammunition for McCarthyite attacks. Ebey joined the American Friends
of Spanish Democracy, which supported the Loyalist cause in the Spanish
Civil War. In 1936 he wrote a letter to a Honolulu newspaper which at-
tacked mandatory teachers' loyalty oaths. The published letter claimed
that "flag-waving Americanism" produced the loyalty oaths, which in-
dicated the type of rampant nationalism that had resulted in World War
I. He added that his intense feelings of loyalty for America could never
be expressed in a compulsory oath.4
After receiving his Ph.D. from Teachers' College, Columbia University,
in I940, Ebey served with distinction in the Army Air Corps from 1942
to 1946. Joining the faculty of Chico State College in California at the
'As Michael Paul Rogin has written, McCarthy's use of Communism was a symbolic
weapon that struck a receptive chord within the American public. Yet the phenomenon
of McCarthyism, as Rogin also testifies, was more than a symbol. It existed on levels
of politics and power where the actions or inactions of political pressure groups arid
parties greatly influenced the course of events. Michael Paul Rogin, The Intellectuals
and McCarthy: The Radical Specter (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967), 261-268. For
more on McCarthyism as a typical expression of the American political culture, please
see Robert Griffith and Athan Theoharis (eds.), The Specter: Original Essays on the
Cold War and the Origins of McCarthyism (New York, 1974).
4George W. Ebey, "Personal File Form for Columbia University," June 8, I953,
George W. Ebey Papers (Archives, University of Houston), Box 1, File 6; General Re-
search Company, "George William Ebey" (2 vols.; Houston, 1953), I, 40-45; George
W. Ebey to the Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, April 23, 1936 (quotation), Ebey Papers,
Box 5, File 15. Because the Soviet Union and the American Communist party also sup-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/m1/196/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.