Free Speech in Schenck vs. United States

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Free Speech During World War I, the United States began to worry that they did not have the people’s support. Anti war activists would say bad things about the government, and the United States was not happy about it. In 1917, to try to put an end to the protests, Congress passed the Espionage Act. This severely restricted the 1st Amendment freedoms. No Americans could say any statements against the war effort. Just a year later (1918) Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a crime to interfere with the sale of government securities. This Act also enforced the Espionage Act, prohibiting the publishing of anything disrespectful to the U.S. government. The first Amendment in the Constitution is, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble…” That means that everyone in the United State has free speech, and they are allowed to print/publish whatever they choose. These Acts change everything. During times of war, citizens will be sent to jail if they say something against the U.S. government. If they publish an article, saying “false” things about America they will also be punished. What Congress is saying, is that during war times, everything changes, even what’s written in the Constitution. I strongly oppose this, because it is confusing. These Acts go against a freedom that people take for granted. It is meaningless to have an Amendment if we know that our government can take it away. Talking freely should not be punished, because according to our founding fathers, it deserves to be in the 1st Amendment. However, Congress thinks differently, and they follow through with their punishments. Charles Schenck was the general secretary of the Socialist Party of America. This organization was one of the best and well known for their attacks and dissent against war. They

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