“The free speech league: a study on the ideas about the freedom of speech during the progressive era”
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The period of Progressive Era that predates the World War I was vivid with government involvement in freedom of speech in different forms. The censorship laws as well as the prevention and criminalization of public speeches that were raided by the police force, while officials claimed to target the anarchists of the time, extended into the personal lives of the ordinary people. Personal mails and different forms of literature were the targets of censorship. The law and the judges made decisions that did not fully comply with the U.S. Constitution in regard to the First Amendment. The intellectuals of the time began to raise their voices against these violations of the civil liberties. They used their knowledge in their profession to tackle with and reveal the wrongdoings of the decision makers. The Free Speech League comes to the forefront amidst these forms of suppressions against the freedom of speech fin de siècle. This work aims to present and discuss the ideas discussed and published for the readers of the country by the members of this League. These ideas shed light on the earlier approaches on the civil liberties before the World War I and prior to the organizations like American Civil Liberties Union, and help us understand the roots of the later civil liberties movements.