Espionage And Sedition Acts Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Espionage And Sedition Acts?
The Espionage and Sedition Acts were two laws passed by the United States Congress in 1917 and 1918. The Espionage Act was intended to prevent citizens from engaging in activities that could be seen as contrary to the interests of the United States during World War I. The Sedition Act, a less well-known companion to the Espionage Act, made it illegal to willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the U.S. government, its flag or its armed forces.The Espionage Act was passed on June 15th 1917 with a majority vote of both houses of Congress. It made it illegal for anyone to interfere with military operations or recruitment efforts; spread false reports meant to interfere with military operations; share information related to national defense; encourage disobedience of any law related to national security; and hinder production of materials needed for war efforts. This act also extended these restrictions beyond activities occurring within US borders by prohibiting citizens from aiding an enemy power in any way whatsoever as well as allowing for detention and deportation of foreign nationals considered dangerous enemies. The Sedition Act was added shortly after on May 16th 1918 and sought primarily to restrain speech deemed harmful by forbidding citizens from criticizing their nation’s leaders or policies in public forums (including newspapers). It also prohibited speaking out against conscription into US military service an unpopular measure due largely because some felt it violated men’s civil liberties while others saw it as a waste of resources when they could be used elsewhere (such as fighting wars abroad). Both acts were seen at the time as necessary measures that ensured public safety during WWI especially since many other countries had already adopted similar legislation which granted governments more control over what their citizens could say without fear repercussions (e.g., France’s Loi sur la Presse). However, history has not been kinder on these acts which are now viewed as unconstitutional limits placed on freedom of speech/expression protected under First Amendment rights guaranteed within America’s Bill Of Rights document written in 1791. As such both acts have been repealed but still serve today as reminders about potential consequences faced when governments attempt to limit civil liberties based solely upon prevailing opinions rather than facts related directly back towards current events/situations at hand.