August 29, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

A short editorial addresses the penalty for sedition:

THE PENALTY FOR SEDITION

Touching the question whether seditious propaganda may be carried on with impunity against the foreign policies of the United States, this federal statute may be of interest. Section 5 of the Acts of March 4, 1907, concerning criminal correspondence with foreign governments, reads as follows:

“‘Every citizen of the United Sates . . . . who, without the permission or authority of the government, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any verbal or written correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or an officer or agent thereof, with an intent to influence the measure or conduct of any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with an intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or any officer or agent thereby, in relation to any disputes on controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measure of the government of the United States, and every person being a citizen or resident within the United States or in any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, and not duly authorized who counsels, advises or assists in any such correspondence with such intent, shall be fined not more than $5000 and imprisoned not more than three years.’

“How many citizens and alien residents would be liable to punishment under this law if the government decided to enforce it literally?”

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About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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