Effects Of Ww1 On American Society

Decent Essays
Edit with the Docs app
Make tweaks, leave comments, and share with others to edit at the same time.
History 175 Exam 2


Yessenia Salgado Flores

Professor Romero

History 175

02 November 2016

The Reality of Freedom During World War I

World War I — a conflict within Europe— impacted American society unimaginably. The changes that occur have an impact on the individual and their freedom. During the war, freedom became restricted; the effects remained reminiscent and lingered soon after. WWI restricted freedoms that are the foundation of the United States. The United States showed contradictory actions; in which, the freedom of speech is strictly limited. Even groups of individuals— like German Americans— were
…show more content…
It seemed like everyone was doing something to help with the war. However, those who didn't were made out to be nonaligned with American beliefs in aiding the enemy. Moreover, it seemed like the American government was getting more power and influence on its citizens. In 1917 the Espionage Act became a law in the United States which “ prohibited spying, interfering with [military] draft and false statements” against the government (Espionage Act of 1917). This was the beginning of restriction of freedom on individuals. Nonetheless, to strengthen the Espionage Act the “Sedition Act was amended” a year later (Sedition Act of 1918). The Sedition Act stated that nobody can criticize the “form of government” directly or indirectly (qtd. In Foner pg.590 ). This was clearly a restriction on the freedom of the press and speech. It seemed like the government was acting like a “King [that] can do no wrong” ( Williams 319). A variety of people were “prosecuted under the original and amended Espionage Act” (Sedition Act of…show more content…
In Foner 592). Words like “Hamburger” were changed to “liberty sandwich” and even classical music from German origin became obsolete in American society (qtd. In Foner 592). German Americans faced attacks on their culture from the United States and abroad in their homeland. Even with the war over German Americans expected many things to back to normal. They expected the attack on their culture to come to an end. However, that was not the case, in states like Nebraska it was prohibited to teach the German language. This Nebraska state law impeached Americans from the “acquisition of knowledge” just because they thought that learning German is “regarded as harmful” (Meyer v. Nebraska 629). The fact that it was “prohibited teaching in a language other than English” even after the war, showed how German Americans still experienced repression of freedom and their
Get Access