The Espionage and Sedition Acts of World War I:  Using Wartime Loyalty Laws for Revenge and Profit

The Espionage and Sedition Acts of World War I: Using Wartime Loyalty Laws for Revenge and Profit
Daniel G. Donalson
November 2012

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-492-6 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / viii, 200 pages

Price   $67.00
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Description

Donalson focuses on how ordinary citizens used the Espionage and Sedition Acts of World War I for personal benefit and profit. He shows how the acts were used particularly but not exclusively against persons of German ancestry to settle family and neighborhood quarrels, workplace disputes, and political differences. These acts, intended to unify the nation in a time of war, instead undermined the concepts of free speech and presumption of innocence, and started the United States on the path of totalitarianism where any word or action could be interpreted as “disloyal” and result in federal action. The irony of it all was that, by the end of the war, it was the Bureau of Investigation that kept it from becoming, as Thomas Jefferson once said, a “reign of witches.”

About the Author

Daniel G. Donalson is an Adjunct Professor of History at the Community College of Denver. He earned his PhD from the University of Houston in 2009.