Sedition Dbq

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In the year 1917, shortly after the US entered World War One, Congress passed the Espionage Act, which made it illegal to speak out against the war, or to publicly side with the country’s enemies. Anyone caught doing it would be fined up to $10,000 [approx. $200,000 in 2017] and/or serve in prison for up to 20 years. Later in 1918, the Sedition Act was passed, which added more to the the list of stuff punishable under the Espionage Act, including making up false information in an attempt to obstruct war efforts, bad-mouthing the government, the flag, the Constitution, or the military, doing anything to obstruct the means of producing war materials, and defending any of those actions ( This prompted many to question if it was justifiable…show more content…
Shortly after the US entered World War One, a war that wasn’t very popular with some parts of the public, the Espionage Act and Sedition Act were passed. Under the newly written Espionage Act and Sedition Act, approximately 6,000 arrests were made for “loosely defined anti war activities,” and 1,500 were convicted. Clarence Waldron, a Reverend, received 15 years in prison for telling a Bible class that Christians should not participate in the war, and Eugene Debs, a well known activist, received 10 years in prison for delivering a speech that criticized America’s economic motivations for war (he was pardoned shortly after the war ended) (Danzer). It was absolutely necessary for these arrests to be made. To the government, all it takes is for certain individuals, like Clarence Waldron or Eugene Debs, who had the power influence the public, to ignite strife within the public, and the nation's capability to fight the war would be in severe danger of collapse. For the US to fight the war at its full capacity, it requires the public to cooperate. Without public support, there would be no recruits enlisting for the war, no workers willing to provide for the front line, and as a result, there would be no war. However. some people argued that the US can fight wars just as effectively without senseless censorships and arrests, since the majority will always support the war efforts when it is “right for America.” While it may be true that in times of war, the nation still has the capability to fuel its war efforts without doing anything to mitigate opposition, the Vietnam War has proven that with the presence of opposition, war efforts can easily collapse, regardless of whether or not the war is “right for America.” During the Vietnam War, American media outlets and journalists had the “ability to cover the Vietnam War without censorship,”
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