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Much of the recent suppressive legislation in the United States is in the form of state laws. These laws fall into the general classes of red flag laws, criminal syndicalism, and criminal anarchy or sedition laws. The majority of these laws came, not with the war, but as an aftermath. That this surprising legislation was due to no real danger to the common welfare is shown by the fact that of the 91 laws passed by the close of 1921, 58 were passed in the legislative year of 1919, a year after the close of the war. This formidable array of legal restriction may be attributed to the red hysteria which passed over the country immediately following the war. It has already been noted that the enactment of these state statutes began with the New York and New Jersey laws of 1902, and that the progress of the repression was shown by the Washington statute of 1909 and the Massachusetts red flag law of 1913. Thirty-four states have enacted statutes

of this sort declaring them to be emergency statutes, but the emergency appears to have become permanent.

These laws were

vigorously enforced until as late as 1922 when a drop in

convictions and prosecutions became apparent.

The Red Flag Laws

Twenty-five states had adopted red flag laws up to 1

the close of 1921. The New York red flag law makes it a

1. N. Y. Laws, 1919, c. 409.


misdemeanor to display the red banner "in any public assembly
or parade as a symbol or emblem of any organization or asso-
ciation, or in furtherance of any political, social, or econ-
omic principle, doctrine, or propaganda". Other states, being
more careful about its display sub rosa, forbid its display
anywhere. Some states even guard against the adoption of a
different colored flag, or the wearing of red neckties or
buttons, by punishing the use of any color, or any emblem
if it is "distinctive of bolshevism, anarchism, or radical
socialism". Washington guards against any emblem "suggestive
of any organized or unorganized group of persons who by their
rules, creeds, purposes, practices, or efforts, espouse any
theory or principle antagonistic to or subversive of the con-
stitution or its mandates. In West Virginia imprisonment for
a year, and for the second offense five years, may be imposed
for the possession of any red or black flag, or the display
of "any emblem of any nature whatever indicating sympathy or
support of ideals, institutions, or forms of government, hos-
tile, inimical, or antagonistic to the form or spirit of the
constitution, laws, ideals, and institutions of this state or
of the United States".

Such laws as these are patently infringements of
An exceedingly wide range of ordinary and

civil liberties.

harmless conduct is brought under them and made punishable. Furthermore this conduct is made criminal on the basis of bad

intention, which is punishing men for their thoughts.

viction thus rests upon what the

inside the head of the accused.

2. Kansas, Laws, 1919 c. 184.
3. Washington, Laws, 1919 c. 181.

A conjury thinks is going on Again, in view of the fact

4. West Virginia, Laws, 1918 c. 24.

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