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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

American Wartime Censorship During World War I

Americanís freedom of speech has been curtailed numerous times during incidences of national conflict. World War I was the first modern occasion to boldly challenge and drastically change the interpretation of the First Amendment, due to the nation being engaged in war. During World War I the American government passed legislation censoring what Americans could say about the war in Europe and the government at home. The Espionage Act and the Sedition Act changed the way Americans were treated by the U.S. Constitution, and they changed the boundaries the government was willing to cross or uphold in order to protect its self and American citizens. Evidence corroborating the extent to which the American government will go to insure national stability is supported by examining the court cases of Eugene Debs, Jacob Abrams, Charles Schenck, and Benjamin Gitlow. The laws created to suppress opposition to the fighting, the decisions of the government and the courts, and the reaction of the American public will be the focus of this presentation.

Presenters: Peter Digiorgio (Undergraduate Student)
Alan Lippa (Undergraduate Student)
Ian MacMaster (Undergraduate Student)
Brian Seward (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 9:15 am (Session I)