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Civil Liberties

Are there some civil liberties that people should be prepared to give up in times of war?

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In times of war the laws are silent. This maxim has applied to the United States in every major issue of conflict from impact of the French Revolution to the War on Terrorism of today. Perhaps the best way to begin consideration of this question is at first, a brief assessment to see how the dichotomy of patriot and citizen has been traditionally viewed in American history. In 1798 Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Act, which in the wake of the French Revolution made it a crime to "write, print, utter or publish" any "false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States or the President of the United States."
In response Kentucky's legislature approved a statement saying, "This commonwealth does upon the most deliberate reconsideration declare that the said alien and sedition laws, are in their opinion, palpable violations of the Constitution."

During the Civil War, President Lincoln put similar restrictions on written and published speech and also enacted a security code on railways similar to the current restrictions on airline travel. Actions became most severe when he suspended the right of habeas corpus for a time. Newspapers of the time including the N.Y. Times recoiled in horror, uniformly denouncing this 'tyrannical' policy.

In the First World War, Wilson's barely defeated the Espionage Act gave birth to a famous civil liberties case: U.S. v Charles Schenck wherein the Supreme Court was unanimous in upholding that leaflets distributed to resist the draft warranted conviction. The ruling stated:

"When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a narrative that discusses the question above partly as an example in how to put together a paper on the topic, partly to provide ideas and perspectives on the topic of civil liberties itself. A word version is attached.

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