Eugene Debs, a candidate for president, expressed anti-draft and anti-war sentiments at a rally, illustrated by his statement to the crowd, “[Y]ou need to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and cannon fodder.” The Supreme Court, finding “the defendant caused and incited and attempted to cause and incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny and refusal of duty in the military and naval forces of the United States and with intent so to do delivered, to an assembly of people, a public speech,” held that Debs’ speech violated the Espionage Act.

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This is an indictment in thirteen counts. The first alleges a conspiracy between the plaintiff in error and one Carl Gleeser, they then being engaged in the preparation and publication of a newspaper, the Missouri Staats Zeitung, to violate the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, c. 30, § 3, 40 Stat. 217, 219. It alleges as overt acts the preparation and circulation of twelve articles, &c. in the said newspaper at different dates from July 6, 1917, to December 7 of the same year. The other counts allege attempts to cause disloyalty, mutiny and refusal of duty in the military and naval forces of the United States, by the same publications, each count being confined to the publication of a single date. Motion to dismiss and a demurrer on constitutional and other grounds, especially that of the First Amendment as to free speech, were overruled, subject to exception, and the defendant refusing to plead the Court ordered a plea of not guilty to be filed. There was a trial and Frohwerk was found guilty on all *206 the counts except the seventh, which needs no further mention. He was sentenced to a fine and to ten years imprisonment on each count, the imprisonment on the later counts to run concurrently with that on the first.

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Socialist Charles Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917 for distributing leaflets which called the draft involuntary servitude and called for a boycott of the draft. The act made it a crime to “attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States[.]”

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The Espionage Act (June 15, 1917, c. 30, Title I, § 3, 40 Stat. 217, 219) provides that: "Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States . . . shall be punished." Sugarman was charged with having violated this section on July 24, 1917, by words spoken in an address made at a Socialist meeting which was attended by many registrants under the Selective Service Act, sustained in Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366. He was tried in the District Court of the United States for the District of Minnesota, found guilty by the jury, and sentenced. See 245 Fed. Rep. 604. Thirty-one exceptions were taken to rulings of the trial judge. Instead of seeking review by the Circuit Court of Appeals under § 128 of the Judicial Code, the case is brought here under § 238.

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