Many historians, politicians, experts, believe that the Espionage Act of 1917 was one of the must controversial laws passed. This law was passed on June 15, 1917 shortly after the United States entered world war I. The reason why many people believe this law was so controversial, is that many argue that it directly affected the constitutional right of freedom of speech.
The reason is because this act originally prohibited any attempt to interfere with military operations, to support United States enemies during wartime, it also prohibited promoting insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal in the military, and or to interfere with military recruitment. The punishment for braking this law could be punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more that 30 years or both and fines up too $10,000. Moreover, many believed that this restrictions were unconstitutional, but later on in 1919 the U. S Supreme Court unanimously ruled in court case Schenck v. United States that the act dud not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions. President Woodrow Wilson Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory and Jon Crawford supported the pass of the act, however the viewed it as a compromise. This document it quite important to historians that would like to study laws related to people leaving in the United States during this era.
This article helps historians understand the importance of the U. S trying to keep a sense of control on their own grounds. By the government implanting this law they can feel a little safer of retaliation. Regardless, people still protested and did things that opposed the law. However, by having the law it helps to keep that control. This shows historians that besides all the problems going on overseas, the president it still had and “urgency” of having some type of law protecting the U. S form any type of anarchy, or interference with the military. Moreover, this document can give a lot of insight to historians that study human group movements or the arrest of political figures. For example, anti-war groups like Frayhayt or “left-wing” politicians like Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, John Reed. This document could be used for historians with a specialty in law, or historians that study political people and group organizations during this time
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