On Just 15, 1917, shortly after the United States entered into WWI, the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed. For the most part, the Espionage Act was of very little dispute in the United States. However, a small portion of the act touched on the freedom of speech. President Woodrow Wilson decided that there needed to be a law that protected the United States from “the insidious methods of internal hostile activities” (TheFreeDictionary.com). Essentially, the law made it s crime to obstruct military recruitment, to encourage mutiny, or to aid the enemy by spreading lies. In 1918 an amendment was added to the Espionage Act of 1917, this act was called the Sedition Act of 1918. This act prohibited anyone from uttering, writing, or publishing any disloyal language concerning the flag, Constitution, government, or armed forced (Visions of America, 611).
The freedom of speech is such a valuable right we have as Americans. It seems a little unfair that the government would take that away from us. However, I understand that desperate times comes desperate measures. Although, I am not quite sure that this was the right move by our government. There were many people that were arrested due to the act, the validity of their arrest would alter from case to case. There are different circumstances when our country is in danger, and the government has the right to make adjustments to laws as they see necessary.
In extreme cases, I can see why some people were arrested , but for the most part it was mostly unfair for the people to be. In the book, it mentions that someone of a German descent was expelled from the local mining union jus because of where he had originated from. Germans were treated so unfairly, some even changed their name or stopped participating in their German traditions. It is astonishing that people were treated like that, just because of where they originated from. The laws that were in place amplified the tension within the country. It seems that the laws did more harm than they did good.
I am not convinced that the national security of our nation was in that much danger that we had to take away civil liberties away from the American people. Although, some parts of the law were valid such as making it a law to interfere with military recruitment. When our country is in a time of need, we should come together as a nation and do what we need to do to make out country a great place to live. Interfering with military recruitment would be doing more harm than good when considering the bigger picture. The American government should have reconsidered their decision to enact the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.