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Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West (Paperback)
  • Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West (Paperback)
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Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West (Paperback)

(author)
£25.95
Paperback 328 Pages / Published: 30/09/2006
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Two weeks after the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, the town of Lewistown, Montana, held a patriotic parade. Less than a year later, a mob of 500 Lewistown residents burned German textbooks in Main Street while singing ""The Star Spangled Banner."" In Lewistown's nationalistic fervour, a man was accused of being pro-German because he didn't buy Liberty Bonds; he was subsequently found guilty of sedition. Montana's former congressman Tom Stout was quoted in the town's newspaper, ""The Democrat-News"", ""With our sacred honour and our liberties at stake, there can be but two classes of American citizens, patriots and traitors!"" ""Darkest Before Dawn"" takes to task Montana's 1918 sedition law that shut down freedom of speech. The sedition law carried fines of up to $20,000 and imprisonment for as much as twenty years. It became a model for the federal sedition act passed in 1918. Clemens Work explores the assault on civil rights during times of war when dissent is perceived as unpatriotic. The themes of this cautionary tale clearly resonate in the events of the early twenty-first century.

Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
ISBN: 9780826337931
Number of pages: 328
Weight: 490 g
Dimensions: 230 x 155 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Clemens P. Work's excellent new book, "Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West" describes in absorbing detail one of the darkest eras in Montana history in which dissenting voices were stifled."
""Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West" is a formidable piece of scholarship, a fine and readable history on the wax and wane of free speech, our ability as Americans to say what we believe. Shot through with contemporary resonances, Work's book would make an ideal present for anyone with the least bit of political leanings."
This is history at its exciting, human best. Clem Work tells the little-known story of how Americans were punished for what they said during World War I: imprisoned, brutalized, lynched. It is a crucial part of the American struggle for freedom of speech.
An important contribution to the literature of the history of free speech in America. No future study of sedition laws could hope to be complete without drawing on this well researched and well written work. Clem Work has made his mark, and what a marvelous mark it is!

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