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Describe some wartime attacks on civil liberties (WWI).

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ricki007 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 9, 2011 at 9:37 AM via web

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Describe some wartime attacks on civil liberties (WWI).

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM (Answer #1)

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The main attack on civil liberties in the US during WWI was the passage and enforcement of the Espionage and Sedition Acts.  These acts made it illegal, in effect, to criticize government leaders and/or the war effort.  It also allowed, for example, the postmaster-general of the US to bar anything from the mail that would violate the act.  This law was used to imprison Eugene V. Debs for speaking out against the draft.  The law was also used to obtain more than 1,000 convictions against people like Socialists.

Another possible candidate for an attack on civil liberties was the attack on all things German.  For example, the teaching of German in public schools essentially disappeared during the war.  This is, however, a less clear-cut case of infringement on civil liberties because there is no constitutional guarantee that any language can be taught in schools.

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