The World War I And The Red Scare

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In the early 20th Century, the United States endured a time of political unrest. During World War I, fears of socialism and communism entered the psyche of the United States and culminated in the Red Scare. Hundreds of American citizens – particularly immigrants – suffered unprecedented arrests and deportations (Fariello 4). During this time, Charles Schenck, secretary of the Socialist Party of America, actively opposed the war. Due to Schenck’s efforts, the organization distributed thousands of leaflets criticizing conscription and encouraging readers to assert rights against the draft and intimidation (Schenck v. United States 1). In the 1919 case Schenck v. United States, the defendants were charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by causing and attempting to cause insubordination in U.S. military forces by distributing a document denouncing the draft in name of the 13th amendment (Schenck 1). When insurgency and fear continued, Congress amended the Espionage Act with the Sedition Act, which limited many more forms of speech (Fariello 14).
At this point, society had to decide whether these limits on speech aligned with its interests. Holmes similarly had to consider whether to forfeit his belief that ideals in the Constitution and its Amendments exist absolutely (Cohen 27). In the end, he decided that a balance between absolute ideals and the responsibilities of Congress must prevail as the most fair compromise – or standard. In this fairness, the Court affords
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