Preface

A NATION EMERGING FROM A MAJOR WAR IS NOT THE SAME nation it was when it entered the struggle. The hostilities release forces that cannot be brought under control by a treaty of peace.

In no phase of life in a democracy is the threat of lasting harm from war greater than in the realm of personal liberty. Those wounded in battle eventually die; relatives of the slain pass away; economic losses are replaced in one manner or another; but the wartime repressive measures are like dead hands that do not relax their grasp upon the republic after the occasion which created them has passed. The true test of a democracy is the rapidity and thoroughness with which it throws off those restraints that were necessary for the waging of a successful war.

The main purpose of this volume is to show the extent to which the First Amendment to the Constitution was set aside during the greatest crisis through which this nation has passed up to the present time. A second aim of the book is to reveal an evil more dangerous to the continued existence of a true democracy than World War I censorship. That evil was the danger of carrying over wartime repressive measures into an era of peace for the sake of stifling political, economic, and social reform when reconstruction should have been the all-absorbing effort of this nation.

Few books are the product of a single person, and this work is no exception. The efforts of a great number of individuals made possible the writing of this volume. First of all, the author is indebted to Mr. Cedric Larson with whom he collaborated in producing Words That Won the War, a study

-vii-

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Censorship, 1917
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Our Censorship Heritage 3
  • The Seed of Censorship 24
  • Laws against Spies and Traitors 39
  • The Censorship Board 55
  • Cables and Telegrams 73
  • Soldiers, Sailors, and Censors 94
  • Protective Custody in the Post Office 110
  • Banned Books 153
  • Scissors and Films 172
  • No More Soap-Boxes 190
  • Aftermath or Prologue 213
  • Notes on Sources 233
  • Index 241
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