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Espionage Act of 1917

Espionage Act of 1917

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Espionage Act of 1917

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  1. Espionage Act of 1917 Do your rights change during a time of war?

  2. First Amendment • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. • What does the First Amendment mean to you?

  3. Questions to Think about • What is Patriotism? • love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it • Why might not all people living in the US be patriotic? • If a person living in the US is not a patriot, do they pose a threat to the US?

  4. On December 7, 1915, congressmen and senators reacted enthusiastically when Wilson proclaimed in his Third Annual Message to Congress: "There are citizens of the United States ... born under other flags but welcomed by our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life" (Shaw 1924, p. 151). Wilson added that such advocates of "disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out."

  5. Who are they talking about • Who do you think President Wilson is talking about? • Hyphenated Americans- Americans who are from other countries, in this case the fear is German-Americans and Irish-Americans • Why would people worry about these citizens?

  6. Espionage Act of 1917 • The Espionage Act dealt with a wide range of issues, from criminalizing various acts of espionage to protecting shipping. Mostly it was uncontroversial. The act is remembered, however, for those provisions that affected civil liberties. • First, Title 1, section 3, of the act made it a crime, punishable by up to twenty years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine, to "make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States" and to "cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military or naval forces ... or ... willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States."

  7. Espionage Act of 1917 • Second, title 12 empowered the postmaster general to declare any material that violated any provision of the Espionage Act or that urged "treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States" unmailable. Use of the mails to transmit such materials was punishable by imprisonment and a fine. • Finally, as originally introduced, the bill gave the president the power to censor publication of material that he deemed potentially useful to the enemy. The censorship provision faced stiff opposition from the press and from across the political spectrum. Opponents included Republicans from the progressive wing of the party, such as Senators William Borah and Hiram Johnson, as well as Wilson's constant critic from the party's conservative wing, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Despite a direct appeal by Wilson to Congress to enact this provision, Congress removed it from the bill.

  8. The Draft • On May 18, 1917 the Selective Services Act was passed. This required all men between the ages of 21-31 to sign up for the Draft • This meant that these men could be required to serve in the US military • What do you think of this requirement?

  9. Charles Schenck’s Pamphlet • Schenck did not agree with the draft, he felt it went against his rights. • He created a pamphlet called “Assert Your Rights” and handed it out to people • Do you see a problem with this?

  10. Assessment • Do you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s Ruling? Write a 5-7 sentence essay over your opinion of the Schenck v. U.S. case outcome. Start your essay with your position statement. Then make sure to support your opinion with facts (at least 4 facts) that you have learned about the case, WWI, the Espionage Act and the First Amendment.

  11. Rubric

  12. Resources • Summaries of the sections of the Espionage act are taken from Espionage Act (1917) and Sedition Act (1918)- A summary