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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

U.S. Government Infringement on Freedom of Speech in WWII

This presentation involves understanding the government’s infringement on the freedom of speech during World War I. By examining events such as the Supreme Court cases of Charles Schenck, Jacob Abrams, and Benjamin Gitlow, the presenter will illustrate the transformation of Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes’ ideas about free speech. Holmes came to understand the importance of the freedom of speech and wrote Supreme Court decisions that shaped more modern views of the First Amendment. Justice Holmes’ interactions with other judges and law professors helped convince him that he must apply his “clear and present danger” standard in a way that allowed for more critical speech by activists and protestors. The transformation of Oliver Wendell Holmes, highlights the importance of the First Amendment to the United States and exposes the fact that the Espionage Act of 1917 wrongly infringed on speech.

Presenter: Derek Romig (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 127 Hartwell
Time: 9:20 am (Session I)