Clear And Present Danger Essay

6647 words - 27 pages

Introduction.Clear and Present Danger is the restriction of the right of free speech when it is deemed to have a clear and present danger and affect upon people. Throughout history, the affect of clear and present danger is evident. What Supreme Court cases in history have had a substantial bearing on clear and present danger? What programs have been implemented by the government to mitigate instances of clear and present danger in the United States? What action has congress taken to pertaining to surveillance of suspected offenders? The answers to these questions will be covered in detail and enable us to truly understand the affect that clear and present danger has had on our country.Debs v. United States - an example of Clear and Present Danger.Eugene Debs was a socialist who made two public speeches denouncing capitalism and World War I and promoted socialism. In 1918, Debs speech "Socialism is the Answer," given in Ohio before twelve hundred persons consisted of remarks such as "I might not be able to say all that I think, but you need to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and common fodder." The Supreme Court used its clear-and-present-danger test to ascertain whether this speech had a bad tendency. (Linder, 2003)During the speech, the growth of Socialism and its success being prophesized was the main theme. He began his speech by stating that he had just returned from a visit in the workhouse where three of his friends were paying a penalty because of their devotedness to the working class community. The three friends were Baker, Wagenknecht and Ruthenberg. In the case of Ruthenburg v. United States, 245 U.S. 480, 38 Sup Ct. 168, Ruthenberg was convicted of aiding and abetting another in failing to register for the draft. In his speech, he mentioned that he was proud of those persons that paid the penalty for standing up to improve the conditions for all mankind. He went on by expressing opposition to Prussian militarism, which insinuated that he felt likewise about the United States. He praised the loyalty to Socialism of Kate Richards O'Hare who was convicted of obstructing the enlistment service. Debs said that O'Hare was convicted based on false testimony. He said that the master class of people always declared the war and the subject class of people always fought the battles with nothing to gain and everything, including their lives, to lose. He went on by stating that the working class never had a voice in declaring war and in declaring peace. In his words, "You have your lives to lose; you certainly ought to have the right to declare war if you consider war necessary." Debs illustrated the growth of Socialism, the prophecy of the international Socialist crusade of continuing to sustain success, and the glorification of minorities. However, Debs did not feel that his speech obstructed war. He had adopted an "Anti-War Proclamation and Program" in April of 1917 in St. Louis. (FindLaw, 2004)During the early 20th...

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