65th United States Congress
The Sixty-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from March 4, 1917, to March 4, 1919, during the fifth and sixth years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency; the apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Thirteenth Census of the United States in 1910. The Senate had a Democratic majority, the House had a Republican plurality but the Democrats remained in control with the support of the Progressives and Socialist Representative Meyer London. March 4, 1917: Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman member of the United States House of Representatives. March 8, 1917: The United States Senate adopted the cloture rule to limit filibusters. March 31, 1917: The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies, which become the US Virgin Islands, after paying $25 million to Denmark.
April 2, 1917: World War I: President Woodrow Wilson asks the U. S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. April 10, 1917: An ammunition factory explosion in Chester, kills 133. May 21, 1917: Over 300 acres are destroyed in the Great Atlanta fire of 1917. May 26, 1917: A tornado strikes Mattoon, causing devastation and killing 101 people. July 1, 1917: A labor dispute ignited a race riot in East St. Louis, which left 250 dead. July 12, 1917: The Phelps Dodge Corporation deported over 1,000 suspected Industrial Workers of the World members from Bisbee, Arizona. July 28, 1917: The Silent Protest was organized by the NAACP in New York to protest the East St. Louis Riot of July 2, as well as lynchings in Texas and Tennessee. August, 1917: The Green Corn Rebellion, an uprising by several hundred farmers against the World War I draft, took place in central Oklahoma. November 24, 1917: In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 9 members of the Milwaukee Police Department were killed by a bomb, the most fatal single event in U.
S. police history until the September 11, 2001, attacks. December 26, 1917: President Woodrow Wilson used the Federal Possession and Control Act to place most U. S. railroads under the United States Railroad Administration, hoping to more efficiently transport troops and materials for the war effort. January 8, 1918: Woodrow Wilson delivered his Fourteen Points speech. March 4, 1918: A soldier at Camp Fuston, fell sick with the first confirmed case of the Spanish flu. April 3, 1918 "The American's Creed" is the title of a resolution passed by the U. S. House of Representatives on this date, it is a statement written in 1917 by William Tyler Page as an entry into a patriotic contest. Source:The American's Creed at USHistory.org May 15, 1918: The United States Post Office Department began the first regular airmail service in the world. October 8, 1918: World War I: In the Argonne Forest in France, U. S. Corporal Alvin C. York single-handedly killed 25 German soldiers and captures 132. December 4, 1918: U.
S. President Woodrow Wilson sailed for the Paris Peace Conference, becoming the first U. S. president to travel to Europe. January 6, 1919: Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, died. January 15, 1919: The Boston Molasses Disaster: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, killing 21 and injuring 150. February 25, 1919: Oregon placed a 1 cent per U. S. gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the first U. S. state to levy a gasoline tax. April 6, 1917: Declaration of war against Germany, Sess. 1 ch. 1, 40 Stat. 1 April 24, 1917: First Liberty Bond Act, Sess. 1, ch. 4, 40 Stat. 35 May 12, 1917: Enemy Vessel Confiscation Joint Resolution, Pub. L. 65–2, 40 Stat. 75 May 12, 1917: First Army Appropriations Act of 1917, 40 Stat. 69 May 18, 1917: Selective Service Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 15, 40 Stat. 76 May 29, 1917: Esch Car Service Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 23, 40 Stat. 101 June 15, 1917: Emergency Shipping Fund Act of 1917, c. 29, 40 Stat. 182 June 15, 1917: Second Army Appropriations Act of 1917, 40 Stat. 188 June 15, 1917: Espionage Act of 1917, Sess.
1, ch. 30, 40 Stat. 217 August 8, 1917: River and Harbor Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 49, 40 Stat. 250 August 10, 1917: Priority of Shipments Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 51, 40 Stat. 272 August 10, 1917: Food and Fuel Control Act, Sess. 1, ch. 53, 40 Stat. 27 October 1, 1917: Second Liberty Bond Act, Sess. 1, ch. 56, 40 Stat. 288 October 1, 1917: Aircraft Board Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 61, 40 Stat. 296 October 3, 1917: War Revenue Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 63, 40 Stat. 300 October 5, 1917: Repatriation Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 68, 40 Stat. 340 October 6, 1917: Federal Explosives Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 83, 40 Stat. 385 October 6, 1917: War Risk Insurance Act of 1917, Sess. 1, ch. 105, 40 Stat. 398 October 6, 1917: International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Sess. 1, ch. 106, 40 Stat. 411 December 7, 1917: Declaration of war against Austria-Hungary, Sess. 2, ch. 1, 40 Stat. 429 February 24, 1918: Revenue Act of 1918, Sess. 2, ch. 18, 40 Stat. 1057 March 8, 1918: Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, Sess. 2, ch.
20, 40 Stat. 440 March 19, 1918: Standard Time Act of 1918, Sess. 2, ch. 24, 40 Stat. 450 March 21, 1918: Federal Control Act of 1918, Sess. 2, ch. 25, 40 Stat. 451 April 4, 1918: Third Liberty Bond Act, Sess. 2, ch. 44, 40 Stat. 502 April 5, 1918: War Finance Corporation Act, Sess. 2, ch. 45, 40 Stat. 506 April 10, 1918: Webb-Pomerene Act, Sess. 2, ch. 50, 40 Stat. 516 April 18, 1918: American Forces Abroad Indemnity Act, Sess. 2, ch. 57, 40 Stat. 532 Apr
Meyer London was an American politician from New York City. He was one of only two members of the Socialist Party of America elected to the United States Congress. London was born in Kalvarija, Lithuania on December 29, 1871. Meyer's father, Efraim London, was a former Talmudic scholar who had become politically revolutionary and philosophically agnostic, while his mother had remained a devotee of Judaism, his father had established himself as a grain merchant in Zenkov, a small town located in Poltava province of the Ukraine, but his financial situation was poor and in 1888 his father emigrated with Meyer's younger brother to the United States, leaving Meyer behind. Meyer attended Cheder, a traditional Jewish primary school in which he learned Hebrew, before entering Russian-language schools to begin his secular education. In 1891, when Meyer was 20, the family decided to follow his father to America so Meyer terminated his studies and departed for New York City, taking up residence in the city's Jewish Lower East Side.
In America, Meyer's father had become a commercial printer, doing jobs in the Yiddish and English languages and publishing his own radical weekly called Morgenstern. Efraim London's shop was a hub of activity, bringing together Jewish radical intellectuals from throughout the city, many of whom met and influenced the printer's son with their ideas. Meyer earned money as a tutor, taking on pupils at irregular hours and teaching literature and other topics, he obtained a job as a librarian, a position which allowed him sufficient time to read about history and politics and to study law in his free time. Meyer frequented radical meetings developing proficiency as a public speaker and participant in public debates. In 1896, London was accepted to the law school of New York University, attending most of his classes at night, he completed the program and was admitted to the bar in New York in 1898, becoming a labor lawyer, taking on cases which fought injunctions or defending the rights of tenants against the transgressions of landlords.
London rather limited himself to matters of civil law. In the 1890s, London joined the Socialist Labor Party of America, standing as its candidate for New York State Assembly in 1896, he was attracted by Eugene V. Debs and his new Social Democracy of America and resigned from the SLP to help establish Local Branch No. 1 of the Social Democracy in New York in 1897. He was a delegate to the June 1898 convention of SDA in Chicago and was one of the political action-oriented minority which bolted the June 1898 convention to establish the Social Democratic Party of America following a dispute over the strategy of socialist colonization. In 1898, London again ran for New York Assembly in the old 4th Assembly District, this time as the candidate of the SDP. In the summer of 1901, the Chicago-based SDP merged with another group of former adherents of the Socialist Labor Party to form the Socialist Party of America, London transferred his political allegiance to the new organization, he ran for a third time for the 4th Assembly District seat in 1904, this time under the banner of the SPA.
The Russian Revolution of 1905 was inspirational to the former citizen of the Tsarist regime, London threw himself into the task of speaking to mass meetings organized to help raise funds for the relief of Jewish victims of the pogroms which erupted at that same time. London engaged in fund-raising on behalf of the Bund, the Yiddish-language revolutionary movement in regions with significant Jewish populations in the old Russian empire. London was active in the 1910 New York Cloakmakers Strike, during which the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union brought out 50,000 in a successful struggle for higher wages and better work conditions against their employers. In his capacity as counsel for the ILGWU, London drew up and published a communique in the name of the strike committee. In this manifesto, London declared: We charge the employers with ruining the great trade built up by the industrious immigrants. We charge them with having corrupted the morale of thousands employed in the cloak trade....
Treachery and espionage are encouraged by the employers as great virtues of the cloakmakers. This general strike is greater than any union, it is an irresistible movement of the people. It is a protest against conditions; this is the first great attempt to regulate conditions in the trade, to do away with that anarchy and chaos which keeps some of the men working sixteen hours a day during the hottest months of the year while thousands of others have no employment whatever.... We appeal to the people of America to assist us in our struggle. London argued against an injunction issued against the strikers before the New York Supreme Court en route to a victory of the strikers after a labor action lasting the better part of two months. London's place in the cloakmakers' strike made him one of the best-known public faces of the Socialist Party in New York City and over the course of three runs for Congress he constructed a winning coalition, emerging victorious despite the violence and fraud practiced by the campaign of his Tammany Hall-supported Democratic opponent in the election of 1914.
London thus became the second Socialist elected to Congress, following Wisconsin's Victor Berger. As a Congressman, Meyer London was one of 50 representatives and six senators to vote against entry into World War I. Once America was at war, London felt obliged to support the nation's efforts in the conflict, he opposed the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, which made criticism of the president or the war a c
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France at 5:45 am, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. But, according to Thomas R. Gowenlock, an intelligence officer with the US First Division, shelling from both sides continued for the rest of the day, only ending at nightfall; the armistice expired after a period of 36 days and had to be extended several times. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year; the date is a national holiday in France, was declared a national holiday in many Allied nations. During World War II, many countries changed the name of the holiday. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted Remembrance Day, while the US chose Veterans Day. In some countries Armistice Day coincides with other public holidays.
On 11 November 2018, the centenary of the World War One Armistice, commemorations were held globally. In France, more than 60 heads of government and heads of state gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; the first Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V, hosting a "Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic" during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day events were subsequently held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on the morning of 11 November 1919, which included a two-minute silence as a mark of respect for those who died in the war and those left behind; this would set the trend for a day of remembrance for decades to come. Similar ceremonies developed in other countries during the inter-war period. In South Africa, for example, the Memorable Order of Tin Hats had by the late 1920s developed a ceremony whereby the toast of "Fallen Comrades" was observed not only in silence but darkness, all except for the "Light of Remembrance", with the ceremony ending with the Order's anthem "Old Soldiers Never Die".
In Britain, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production should 11 November fall on a weekday. This became Remembrance Sunday. After the end of World War II, most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, like the United Kingdom and, adopted the name Remembrance Day. Other countries changed the name of the holiday just prior to or after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts; the United States chose All Veterans Day shortened to'Veterans Day', to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts. In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, both Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are commemorated formally, but are not public holidays; the National Service of Remembrance is held in London on Remembrance Sunday. In the United States, Veterans Day honours American veterans, both dead; the official national remembrance of those killed in action is Memorial Day, which predates World War I.
Some, including American novelist Kurt Vonnegut and American Veteran For Peace Rory Fanning, have urged Americans to resume observation of 11 November as Armistice Day, a day to reflect on how we can achieve peace as it was observed. In Poland, National Independence Day is a public holiday, celebrated on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland's sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, after 123 years of partition by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Empire. "Armistice Day" remains the name of the holiday in Belgium. It has been a statutory holiday in Serbia since 2012. Serbia is an Allied force that suffered the biggest casualty rate in World War I. To commemorate their victims, people in Serbia wear Natalie's ramonda as a symbol of remembrance. Ceremonies are held in Kenya over the weekend two weeks after Armistice Day; this is because of the armistice only reached African forces, the King's African Rifles, still fighting with great success in today's Zambia about a fortnight where the German and British commanders had to agree on the protocols for their own armistice ceremony.
Remembrance Day Timeline of World War I Dalisson, Rémi: Remembrance day: 11 November 1922-Today in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War
United States Postmaster General
The Postmaster General of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States Postal Service. Appointed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service select the Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General, who join the Board; the office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first Postmaster General in 1775, serving just over 15 months; until 1971, the postmaster general was the head of the Post Office Department. During that era, the postmaster general was appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. From 1829 to 1971, the postmaster general was a member of the President's Cabinet; the Cabinet post of Postmaster General was given to a new President's campaign manager or other key political supporter, was considered something of a sinecure.
The Postmaster General was in charge of the governing party's patronage, was a powerful position which held much influence within the party. In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, an independent agency of the executive branch. Therefore, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in the line of presidential succession; the postmaster general is now appointed by nine "governors," appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governors, along with the postmaster general and the deputy postmaster general, constitute the full Postal Service Board of Governors; the Postmaster General is the second-highest paid U. S. government official, based on publicly available salary information, after the President of the United States. Parties No party Federalist Democratic-Republican Democratic Whig Republican Note that, while the above table indicates the President under which each postmaster general served, these postmasters general were appointed by the governors of the Postal Service and not by the President.
As of November 2017, there are four living former Postmasters General, the oldest being Anthony M. Frank; the most recent Postmaster General to die was Paul N. Carlin, on April 25, 2018; the most serving Postmaster General to die was Marvin Travis Runyon, on May 3, 2004. Postmaster General John Henninger Reagan, the only Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America Official site Papers of Arthur E. Summerfield, Postmaster General, 1953–1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Conscription, sometimes called the draft, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names; the modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a large and powerful military. Most European nations copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and transfer to the reserve force. Conscription is controversial for a range of reasons, including conscientious objection to military engagements on religious or philosophical grounds; those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country, seeking asylum in another country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing alternative service outside combat-operations roles or outside the military, such as Siviilipalvelus in Finland, Zivildienst in Austria and Switzerland.
Several countries conscript male soldiers not only for armed forces, but for paramilitary agencies, which are dedicated to police-like domestic only service like Internal Troops, Border Guards or non-combat rescue duties like Civil defence troops – none of, considered alternative to the military conscription. As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers enlisted to meet the demand for troops; the ability to rely on such an arrangement, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription therefore still reserve the power to resume it during wartime or times of crisis. States involved in wars or interstate rivalries are most to implement conscription, whereas democracies are less than autocracies to implement conscription. Former British colonies are less to have conscription, as they are influenced by British anticonscription norms that can be traced back to the English Civil War.
Around the reign of Hammurabi, the Babylonian Empire used. Under that system those eligible were required to serve in the royal army in time of war. During times of peace they were instead required to provide labour for other activities of the state. In return for this service, people subject to it gained the right to hold land, it is possible that this right was not to hold land per se but specific land supplied by the state. Various forms of avoiding military service are recorded. While it was outlawed by the Code of Hammurabi, the hiring of substitutes appears to have been practiced both before and after the creation of the code. Records show that Ilkum commitments could become traded. In other places, people left their towns to avoid their Ilkum service. Another option was to sell Ilkum lands and the commitments along with them. With the exception of a few exempted classes, this was forbidden by the Code of Hammurabi. In medieval Scandinavia the leiðangr, leding, lichting, expeditio or sometimes leþing, was a levy of free farmers conscripted into coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm.
The bulk of the Anglo-Saxon English army, called the fyrd, was composed of part-time English soldiers drawn from the freemen of each county. In the 690s Laws of Ine, three levels of fines are imposed on different social classes for neglecting military service; some modern writers claim. These thegns were the land-holding aristocracy of the time and were required to serve with their own armour and weapons for a certain number of days each year; the historian David Sturdy has cautioned about regarding the fyrd as a precursor to a modern national army composed of all ranks of society, describing it as a "ridiculous fantasy":The persistent old belief that peasants and small farmers gathered to form a national army or fyrd is a strange delusion dreamt up by antiquarians in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries to justify universal military conscription. Medieval levy in Poland was known as the pospolite ruszenie; the system of military slaves was used in the Middle East, beginning with the creation of the corps of Turkish slave-soldiers by the Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tasim in the 820s and 830s.
The Turkish troops soon came to dominate the government, establishing a pattern throughout the Islamic world of a ruling military class separated by ethnicity and religion by the mass of the population, a paradigm that found its apogee in the Mamluks of Egypt and the Janissary corps of the Ottoman Empire, institutions that survived until the early 19th century. In the middle of the 14th century, Ottoman Sultan Murad I developed personal troops to be loyal to him, with a slave army called the Kapıkulu; the new force was built by taking Christian children from newly conquered lands from the far areas of his empire, in a system known as the devşirme. The captive children were forced to convert to Islam; the Sultans had the young boys trained over several years. Those who showed special promise in fighting skills were trained in advanced warrior skills, put into the sultan's personal service, turned into the Janissaries, the elite branch of the Kapıkulu. A n
Abrams v. United States
Abrams v. United States, 250 U. S. 616, was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States upholding the 1918 Amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, which made it a criminal offense to urge curtailment of production of the materials necessary to the war against Germany with intent to hinder the progress of the war. The 1918 Amendment is referred to as if it were a separate Act, the Sedition Act of 1918; the defendants were convicted on the basis of two leaflets they printed and threw from windows of a building in New York City. One leaflet, signed "revolutionists", denounced the sending of American troops to Russia; the second leaflet, written in Yiddish, denounced the war and US efforts to impede the Russian Revolution. It advocated the cessation of the production of weapons to be used against Soviet Russia; the defendants were charged and convicted of inciting resistance to the war effort and urging curtailment of production of essential war material. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Supreme Court ruled, 7–2, that the defendants' freedom of speech, protected by the First Amendment, was not violated. Justice John Hessin Clarke in an opinion for the majority held that the defendants' intent to hinder war production could be inferred from their words, that Congress had determined such expressions posed an imminent danger, their conviction was accordingly warranted under the "clear-and-present-danger" standard, derived from the common law and announced in Schenck v. United States and companion cases earlier in 1919. Opinions for a unanimous Court in those cases were written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. In the Abrams case, Holmes dissented, rejecting the argument that the defendants' leaflets posed the "clear and present danger", true of the defendants in Schenck. In a powerful dissenting opinion joined by Justice Louis Brandeis, he said that the Abrams defendants lacked the specific intent to interfere with the war against Germany, that they posed no actual risk, he went on to say that if their acts could be shown to pose a risk of damaging war production, the draconian sentences imposed showed that they were being prosecuted not for their speech, but for their beliefs.
On August 12, 1918, Hyman Rosansky was arrested after throwing flyers out of a 4th floor window of a hat factory located near the corner of Houston and Crosby, in lower Manhattan, New York. Rosanky had received the flyers the night before while attending an anarchist meeting. Two different flyers were given to one in English, the other in Yiddish; the flyers were an acerbic protest against the Woodrow Wilson administration for interfering with the Russian Revolution in support of the Russian government. The flyers had been printed on or about June 15, 1918, in a basement rented by Jacob Abrams located at 1582 Madison Avenue. With Rosansky's help, police arrested six other Russian Jews: Mollie Steimer, Jacob Abrams, Hyman Lachowsky, Jacob Schwartz, Gabriel Prober and Samuel Lipman. All had emigrated from Russia to the United States; the defendants were indicted for conspiring to violate the Espionage Act of 1917. Although trial had begun on October 10, 1918, actual trial proceedings were set to commence on October 15, 1918.
On October 14, Jacob Schwartz died at Bellevue Hospital. The official cause of death was. Trial concluded on October 1918, resulting in the following dispositions; the defendants appealed their convictions to the United States Supreme Court. Writing for the majority, Justice John Hessin Clarke asserted that the leaflets demonstrated an intent to hinder production of war material, could not be characterized as simple expressions of political opinion. Quoting English translations of a leaflet written in Yiddish, Clark concluded: This is not an attempt to bring about a change of administration by candid discussion, for no matter what may have incited the outbreak on the part of the defendant anarchists, the manifest purpose of such a publication was to create an attempt to defeat the war plans of the government of the United States, by bringing upon the country the paralysis of a general strike, thereby arresting the production of all munitions and other things essential to the conduct of the war.
In answer to the claim that the defendants were concerned only with United States' intervention in Russia, he asserted that the leaflets sufficiently show, that while the immediate occasion for this particular outbreak of lawlessness, on the part of the defendant alien anarchists, may have been resentment caused by our government sending troops into Russia as a strategic operation against the Germans on the eastern battle front, yet the plain purpose of their propaganda was to excite, at the supreme crisis of the war, sedition, and, as they hoped, revolution, in this country for the purpose of embarrassing and if possible defeating the military plans of the government in Europe. The Court held that the leaflets' call for a general strike and the curtailment of munitions production violated the Sedition Act of 1918. Congress' determination that all such propaganda posed a danger to the war effort was sufficient to meet the standard set in Schenck v. United States for prosecution of attempted crimes, when the attempt was made through speech or writing.
Holmes' argument, in dissent, that criminal prosecution required a showing of the specific intent to bring about the particular harm at which the statute was aimed, was rejected. In his dissent, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that alt
Espionage Act of 1917
The Espionage Act of 1917 is a United States federal law passed on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U. S. entry into World War I. It has been amended numerous times over the years, it was found in Title 50 of the U. S. Code but is now found under Title Crime, it is 18 U. S. C. ch. 37 It was intended to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, to prevent insubordination in the military, to prevent the support of United States enemies during wartime. In 1919, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled through Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions; the constitutionality of the law, its relationship to free speech, the meaning of its language have been contested in court since. Among those charged with offenses under the Act are German-American socialist congressman and newspaper editor Victor L. Berger, labor leader and five-time Socialist Party of America candidate, Eugene V. Debs, anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, former Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society president Joseph Franklin Rutherford, communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Cablegate whistleblower Chelsea Manning, National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Rutherford's conviction was overturned on appeal. Although the most controversial sections of the Act, a set of amendments called the Sedition Act of 1918, were repealed on March 3, 1921, the original Espionage Act was left intact; the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed, along with the Trading with the Enemy Act, just after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. It was based on the Defense Secrets Act of 1911 the notions of obtaining or delivering information relating to "national defense" to a person, not "entitled to have it", itself based on an earlier British Official Secrets Act; the Espionage Act law imposed much stiffer penalties including the death penalty. President Woodrow Wilson, in his December 7, 1915 State of the Union address, asked Congress for the legislation: There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the arteries of our national life.
I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion and anarchy must be crushed out, they are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government, they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own, it is possible to deal with these things effectually. I need not suggest the terms. Congress moved slowly. After the U. S. broke diplomatic relations with Germany, when the Senate passed a version on February 20, 1917, the House did not vote before the then-current session of Congress ended. After the declaration of war in April 1917, both houses debated versions of the Wilson administration's drafts that included press censorship.
That provision aroused opposition, with critics charging it established a system of "prior restraint" and delegated unlimited power to the president. After weeks of intermittent debate, the Senate removed the censorship provision by a one-vote margin, voting 39 to 38. Wilson still insisted it was needed: "Authority to exercise censorship over the press....is necessary to the public safety", but signed the Act without the censorship provisions on June 15, 1917, after Congress passed the act on the same day. Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory viewed it as a compromise; the President's Congressional rivals were proposing to remove responsibility for monitoring pro-German activity, whether espionage or some form of disloyalty, from the Department of Justice to the War Department and creating a form of courts-martial of doubtful constitutionality. The resulting Act was far more aggressive and restrictive than they wanted, but it silenced citizens opposed to the war. Officials in the Justice Department who had little enthusiasm for the law hoped that without generating many prosecutions it would help quiet public calls for more government action against those thought to be insufficiently patriotic.
Wilson was denied language in the Act authorizing power to the executive branch for press censorship, but Congress did include a provision to block distribution of print materials through the Post Office. It made it a crime: To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; this was punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both. To convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies when the United States is at war, to cause or attempt to cause insubordination, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or to willfully obstruct th