CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

When the Great War Reached Wisconsin, Free Speech Was the First Casualty

President Wilson's Government Criminalized Dissenters, Socialists, and German Immigrants as Traitors

Woodrow Wilson did not want to go to war. On two different occasions during the weeks leading to the 1917 declaration of war that brought the United States into World War I, the president expressed reservations regarding the course he was contemplating.

Because war is autocratic, he feared that free speech and other rights would be endangered. The President told Frank Cobb of the New York World: “Once lead this people into war, and they’ll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance. To fight you must be brutal …

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