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persons. Bills to curb the Klan were introduced in fourteen states and passed in five (New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan).
A decision of the United States Supreme Court in this year is worthy of note. This decision knocked out an Iowa law prohibiting teaching any other language than English in the schools. The Federal government was still somewhat active against radicals. The familiar "scares" of the Department of Justice were continued but few arrests were made. Secretary of State Hughes refused to allow the Russian-born wife of an American citizen to re-enter this country because she was a radical regardless of the fact that her husband was in this country and that she had lived in this country all but a few years of her life. Deportations were continued
by the Department of Labor although the number decreased. The efforts of the Department were confined to the deportation of alien ex-political prisoners, both federal and state, as undesirable residents. Such deportations are a discretionary matter with the Secretary of Labor.
A case of obvious suppression and which smacks
of foreign dictation of American policies was the prosecution of Carlo Tresca, an Italian citizen, for publishing an advertisement of a book on birth control in his paper "Il Martello". It seems established that the complaint against Tresca was lodged with the State Department by the Italian Ambassador, who, it is claimed, was motivated by a desire to suppress the anti-Fascist paper of which Tresca was the editor. The advertisement was printed without Tresca's knowledge and he
offered to delete the advertisement.
Nevertheless he was
found to be technically guilty and was sentenced.
President Coolidge, upon coming to office, showed willingness to release political prisoners and found reason for doing so in a report prepared by Newton D. Baker, Bishop Brent, and General Harbord. All prisoners save one were released just before Christmas.
Political prisoners of the State of Illinois were released on November 29, 1922, by the order of the governor. In February and January, 1923, the governor of New York released political prisoners held in that state. State political prisoners in prison during this year were as follows: California, 105; Washington, 5; Idaho, 3; Pennsylvania, 4; Oklahoma, 2; Kansas, 1; and Arkansas, 1.
The trial of William Z. Foster took place in
St. Joseph, Michigan in March, and resulted in a hung jury. This refusal of the jury to convict may be regarded as an evidence of a popular trend away from vigorous suppression. Bills for the repeal of criminal syndicalism,
sedition, and similar laws were introduced into the legislatures of New York, Minnesota, Michiga, and California in 1923. They were brought to public hearing in Michigan and California and killed in committee in both cases. A significant event in the beginning of return to toleration and a restoration of the pre-war standard of American Civil Liberties is shown by the repeal of the Lusk Laws of New York which regulated and controlled public teaching. The repeal of the bills was backed by the Teachers' Union and Governor Smith.
The records of the American Civil Liberties Union
tend to show that during 1923 there was a sharp decline in
The Condition of Civil Liberties in 1924
In the year 1924 the steady decline from the
high points in the violations of civil liberties in the year 1922 was continued. A drop in all the forms of suppression was noted during this year.
Outside of the state of California there were no
prosecutions involving free speech begun, and no prosecutions were made in that state after the summer.
prisoners were incarcerated at the close of the year than at any time since the war. At the beginning of the year 122 were in prison but at the close of the year this number had fallen to 98--all members of the I. W. W. No communists, anarchists, or socialists were in prison anywhere in the United States. Three Communists were convicted during the year but at the close of the year were out on bail pending the appeal of the ir cases. The report of the American Civil Liberties Union for the year 1924 assigns three reasons for the 2 greater leniency evidenced in this year:
2. "Free Speech in 1924", American Civil Liberties Union.