1917 October 6

Trading With the Enemy Act Passed; Weapon Against Foreign Language Press


The 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, passed in the first months of U.S. involvement in World War I, gave the federal government extraordinary powers to regulate foreign language newspapers regarding their coverage of wartime news. It gave the government power to review articles on the war to be published in foreign languages and the censor parts of or completely prohibit their publication The law became a powerful tool for controlling foreign language newspapers, many of which were vocal opponents of U.S. involvement in the war.

Learn more: Paul L. Murphy, World War One and the Origin of Civil Liberties in the United States (1979)

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