US anti-sedition legislation (1918)


In May 1918 the United States Congress legislated to stop sedition and treasonous activities by amending the Espionage Act, making criticism of the government or the war effort a criminal offence:

Section Three

Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States;

Or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall wilfully make or convey false reports, or false statements… or incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or 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, or… shall wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States… or shall wilfully display the flag of any foreign enemy;

Or shall wilfully… urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production… or advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.