Anthony Comstock – The Father of American Censorship Essay

Anthony Comstock – The Father of American Censorship Essay

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Anthony Comstock – The Father of American Censorship


Anthony Comstock was the most prominent American advocate of censorship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Born in Connecticut in 1844, Comstock fought with the Union in the Civil War and upon release became an influential member of the Young Men’s Christian Association.  His personal quest to rid America of indecent and immoral literature made his name synonymous with the epithet “Comstockery” or the excessive pursuit of moralistic censorship.

    Comstock soon realized that the YMCA was an insufficient front for his rigorous efforts to protect children from the corruptive effects of demoralizing publications.  In 1873 he helped found the Society for the Suppression of Vice, an organization of gentlemen from New York City.  In a November 1882 article in North American Review, Comstock describes the mission of this society, “the enforcement of the laws for the suppression of the trade in, and circulation of, obscene literature and illustrations, advertisements, and articles of indecent and immoral use.”...

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