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War is the Health of the State 10/5 Tommy Bennett

The first amendment of the United States Constitution was intended to protect Americans’ right to say whatever they want, practice whatever religion they wish, protect freedom of press, and defend peaceful protest. Does this amendment truly protect individual American’s rights if it can be taken away at the moment citizens truly need it? This kind of injustice is exactly what the vague language used in the creation of the Espionage Act of 1917 allowed to happen. Since the early 20th century, one of the main goals of the United States government has been to prevent the spread of socialism throughout its population. Preserving capitalism is in the best interest of the people who hold power within the United States government, as well as those who hold influence over those “leaders” through economic means. By making adverse opinions to the war illegal, the United States could also effectively silence socialists of the time and that is exactly what they did. Through propaganda they were able to equate being a socialist with being anti-American, and could therefore unjustly arrest socialist leaders with the support of the general public. It is disgraceful that the supreme court didn’t recognize the law as completely unconstitutional in the Schenck case and it is clear that checks and balances failed those who stood in opposition to the government when they needed it most. While it is extremely difficult to anticipate censorship, I do believe that social media and increased communication through technology makes it more difficult for the government to silence its people. Although all Americans need to stay vigilant that the government or other powerful groups don’t use their resources to obstruct the 1st amendment.

 

The US used the propaganda to make it seem as though the war was the just thing to do and to claim it would be “The War to End All Wars” when in fact their reasoning was capitalistic as is the usual of the government. The US was making so much money through supplying the allies, but were still shocked when Germany refused to acknowledge their neutrality. You can’t both supply one side and claim neutrality. It is debatable whether Germany was justified or not in sinking the “Lusitania”, but the United States was somewhat responsible for their involvement in the war and had no right to act as though they had done nothing to provoke the attack. Additionally, once the war began, the people who acrued wealth were, per usual, the wealthy. It would appear to be true that the poor fight the rich people’s wars.

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Christopher Wilson Christopher Wilson

    For America to have even claimed that WWI was “The War to End All Wars” reminds me of the colloquial phrase: “Who died and made you king?” This American Exceptionalism ideology definitely has to stop as it causes the elite and the federal government to think that they are above human beings yet below God. In response, I feel that they make these “divine” decisions because they themselves are not in touch with the actual public. When those men who fought in the war died, the American people grieved tremendously over their deaths. The U.S. government probably honored the sacrifice those men made in WWI; however, they did not hesitate afterward to deploy another series of men to go head-first into a war that was too chaotic to even risk getting entangled in.

  2. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I too found it interesting that the Supreme Court did not knock down this clear threat to our freedom of speech. What i found even more interesting is that so many Americans did not fight back because it didn’t seem like they were terribly passionate about the war and so speaking out about it would only be natural. Additionally what really stuck out to me is that this is only supposed to apply during wartime but the United States has been in a “state of emergency” since the Korean War. This makes me wonder if people know about this law at all.

  3. Alexander Barnett Alexander Barnett

    I agree with what you said about the United States’ “neutrality”. You cant have one foot in, one foot out in the war. If you are helping another country the enemy has to treat you the same way. It’s like making sure a team is hydrated and has the necessary equipment, but claiming you don’t support them.

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