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Freedom of association has always been a vital feature of American society.
In modem times it has assumed even greater importance. More and more
the individual, in order to realize his own capacities or to stand up to the institutionalized
forces that surround him, has found it imperative to join with
others of like mind in pursuit of common objectives. His freedom to do so
is essential to the democratic way of life. At the same time the exercise of
this freedom has given rise to novel and troublesome problems. Organizations
have grown in size and power, and organizational techniques have achieved
a new order of effectiveness. These associations have been strenuously resisted
at times by other private groups, or sought to be regulated or curbed by
government authority. At another level the rights of individual members and
minority groups within these centers of private power have come to be a
matter of growing concern. And likewise the position of the individual who
does not belong, and who does not wish to be forced into association, has
raised the problems of defining an area of personal freedom into which neither
government nor private organizational power may intrude.

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