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Sedition and Domestic Terrorism - Subversive Advocacy In The 1920s

laws political criminal enacted

In the years immediately after World War I there was widespread concern that such radical political doctrines as anarchism and Communism could lead to social, economic, and political upheaval. The federal government used the immigration laws, as amended in 1918, to deport aliens holding radical political views, and this fear of alien ideas initiated the Palmer Raids of 1920, in which some four thousand aliens suspected of membership in the Communist Party were rounded up and held without warrant.

Two-thirds of the states enacted criminal-syndicalism or criminal-anarchy laws between 1917 and 1921. These laws, which were modeled on the 1902 New York criminal-anarchy statute, prohibited any person from advocating or teaching that organized government should be overthrown by force, violence, or other unlawful means and from organizing or becoming a member of any organization whose purpose was to advocate or teach this doctrine. In addition, some thirty-three states enacted laws prohibiting the display of "red flags." In this period approximately fourteen hundred persons were arrested, and about three hundred convicted, under these state sedition and red-flag laws. In two major decisions, the Supreme Court upheld state sedition laws as consonant with the First Amendment (Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925); Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)).

Sedition and Domestic Terrorism - The Smith Act [next] [back] Sedition and Domestic Terrorism - The Espionage Acts Of 1917 And 1918

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