Aftermath or Prologue

THE LASTING THREAT TO AMERICA'S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT is in the carryover into peacetime of repressive measures instituted during war. In World War I there was an actual enemy whose defeat was necessary if this government was to continue to be able to guarantee citizens their freedom of speech, of assembly, and of the press. Also, during that struggle the government was a government of the people, by the people, "for the winning of the war." And the advent of peace did not result completely in replacing "for the winning of the war" with the traditional "for the people."

When peace came, the repressive measures, instead of being abolished, were used by federal, state and municipal officials, and were imitated by social, political and economic groups. These agencies employed censorship ideas and techniques against their domestic foes under the guise of protecting the institutions of the United States and the American way of life, without carefully defining the latter. As a result, in the years after 1918 many citizens discovered it was impossible for them to have pre-war freedom, but, at the same time they learned they could not be completely denied their constitutional rights.

In the post-war curtailments of civil liberties approximately the same groups received the attention of the censors. The only substitution was the Russian communist for the German spy. Except for that substitution, the other suspected groups remained the same, namely, those with radical ideas.

Evidences of suppression were everywhere as America faced the first full year of peace. Of paramount significance to the censors of 1919 was the spread of the anti-democratic and anti- capitalistic doctrines of communist Russia. Many officials classed as communists anyone with ideas of which the officials

-213-

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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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