1953 February 10

Theodore Schroeder, Early Free Speech Advocate, Dies


Theodore Schroeder was the founder and leader of the Free Speech League (1902 – end date unknown). The FSL preceded the ACLU and handled a number of important free speech cases in the years before World War I. Schroeder published several books on free speech. The Free Speech League faded away during the civil liberties crisis of World War I and eventually disappeared, although the exact date of its demise is not known.

One of the early cases taken by the Free Speech League involved English anarchist John Turner, who was the first victim of the repressive 1903 Immigration Act. See March 13, 1904 for a speech by Turner explaining his case. The FSL was also involved with the radical I.W.W. in the pre-World War I years, rendering assistance in its “free speech fights.” The government suppressed the I.W.W. during World War I, and it never regained its pre-war strength.

Learn about Schroeder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Sch.roeder

Read: David Rabban, Free Speech in its Forgotten Years (1997)

Read Schroeders’s Free Speech for Radicals: http://ia600406.us.archive.org/15/items/cu31924030461630/cu31924030461630.pdf

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