In what ways did the U.S. government restrict civil liberties during and immediately after World War I?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During and after World War I, the government restricted the civil liberties of the American people. During the war, two laws were passed that restricted civil liberties. The Sedition Act was passed. This law made it illegal to publicly criticize the President or the war activities. The Espionage Act was also passed. This law punished anti-war activities. During times of war, it is not uncommon for the government to restrict the freedoms of the people. The government doesn’t want our enemies to think the American people don’t support the war effort.

After World War I, civil liberties were also suppressed. There was a big fear of a communist takeover after World War I ended. The goal of the communists was to spread their system worldwide. People were convinced the communists were coming here because there were a lot of strikes after World War I. Many people viewed some of the striking workers as anarchists and as radicals tied to the communist ideology. During this time period, known as the Red Scare, the FBI began to investigate radical groups. A. Mitchell Palmer authorized raids of individuals and groups that were suspected of having connections to radicals. These Palmer raids, as they were called, often were done without a search warrant. In some cases, immigrants and foreigners were exiled from the country even though the raids were done without proper search warrants being issued.

During and after World War I, people’s rights were violated, and their civil liberties were curtailed.