1922 April 29

“Children’s Crusade”: Families of Political Prisoners Picket White House Seeking Amnesty


The campaign to achieve amnesty for persons convicted of violating the Espionage Act during World War I was one of the major efforts of civil libertarians in the 1920s. On this day, thirty five women and children, labeled the “Children’s Crusade,” picketed the White House, seeking a presidential amnesty proclamation. President Warren G. Harding declined to meet with them, however.

The amnesty campaign continued for another 11 years, until December 23, 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt finally pardoned all victims of Espionage Act prosecution who were still in prison.

Learn more: Stephen Kohn, American Political Prisoners: Prosecutions Under the Espionage and Sedition Acts (2004)

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