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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

The Limits of Radical Dissent in World War I

As World War I ended, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Louis Brandeis, along with other activist judges, were able to assert their groundbreaking libertarian interpretation of free speech, because they were no longer obligated to support the war policies of the Wilson Administration or swayed by the ultra patriotic fervor of average Americans. In the convictions that fostered the Supreme Court cases of Abrams v. United States (1919), Gitlow v. New York (1925) and Whitney v. California (1927), individuals were targeted not because their words created a clear and present danger, but because of their ideological beliefs. Although the United States Supreme Court upheld the convictions in these seminal free speech cases, the eloquent dissenting statements made by Supreme Court Justicesí Holmes and Brandeis sowed the seeds of the modern construction and constitutional interpretation of the First Amendment.

Presenters: Charles LoFaso (Graduate Student)
Sean Maloney (Graduate Student)
Alison Parker (Faculty)
Patrick Pittman (Graduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 9:45 am (Session I)