In early March 1953, the Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System (ACES), a private, business-backed economic education association, opened up shop in Reading, Pennsylvania. Founded three years earlier in Philadelphia, ACES sought to “demonstrate the superiority of the American competitive system over any forms of collectivism.” To achieve that goal, the organization distributed literature, created a speakers’ bureau, and offered educational activities for clergy, women's groups, and industrial workers. ACES’ most extensive program, however, targeted high school students. It consisted of a three-day schedule of activities that included classroom instruction in economics and tours of local industries. In 1953, after having successfully established a program in the Philadelphia public and parochial schools, ACES sought to expand its base of operations throughout Pennsylvania with chapters in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Erie, and Reading. Although unions throughout the state were suspicious of the organization from its inception, ACES met the strongest resistance in Reading. In that city, local socialists and trade unionists immediately mobilized along class lines and blocked ACES from gaining access to the Reading public school classrooms.