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The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed to provide penalties for those convicted of interfering with military operations, insubordination in the military, and to promote the success of the country’s adversaries. Penalties include 20 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $10,000. For more information on the Espionage Act read the fact file below or download the comprehensive worksheet pack containing over 11 worksheets.
- On December 7, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson asked the congress for the legislation.
- The Senate passed a version of the bill on February 20, 1917. However, the House did not vote before the then-current session of Congress concluded.
- After U.S. declared war against Germany on April 1917, both the Senate and Congress deliberated versions of the Wilson administration’s drafts which included press censorship.
- The Senate removed the censorship provision but President Wilson insisted that press censorship is needed.
- Despite the removal of the censorship, the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed and signed by president Woodrow Wilson on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I.
- The congressional opponents of the president were propositioning the removal of the responsibility for monitoring pro-German activity from the Department of Justice to the War Department.
- The subsequent Act was more aggressive and restrictive but it silenced the people who were opposed to the war.
- The Act included the following as a crime:
1: Conveying information or interfering with military operations, insubordination in the military, and promoting the success of the country’s adversaries. Penalties include 30 years’ imprisonment or punishable by death or both.
2: Conveying false reports determined to interfere with success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its adversaries during war, insubordination in the military or naval forces of the United States, or interfering with military recruitment. Penalties include a maximum fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 20 years or both.
- On May 16, 1918, the Espionage Act was reinforced by the Sedition Act.
- Sedition Act imposed severe penalties on anyone found guilty of committing of conveying false statements that hindered the prosecution of the war, stirring in contradiction of the production of vital war materials, insulting the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military, or advocating any of the aforementioned acts.
- Espionage Act and Sedition Act were intended at socialists or anti-war activists during the First World War. Both Acts were used to punishing effect in the years after the war, specifically during the first Red Scare, the period characterized by the fear against the influence of communism into American society.
- Labor leader Eugene V. Debs was one of the famous activists arrested during this period. He delivered a speech in 1918 in Canton, Ohio criticizing the Espionage Act. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
- Considerable parts of the Espionage Act are still part of the United States law up to this day.
Espionage Act Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Espionage Act Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The Espionage Act of 1917 which was passed to provide penalties for those convicted of interfering with military operations, insubordination in the military, and to promote the success of the country’s adversaries
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Espionage Act Facts
- Espionage Act Word Search
- Is It True?
- Historical Ladder
- Picture Analysis
- Guilty or Not
- Role Power
- Proposing Amendments
- My Point of View
- Poster Making
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Link will appear as Espionage Act Of 1917 Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 12, 2017
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