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Theodore Roosevelt on Free Speech
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Fighting for Free Speech in World War I: Eugene Debs on the Homefront
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Theodore Roosevelt on Free Speech


Commander of the “Rough Riders” cavalry during the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) made a name for himself as a robust outdoorsman, scrappy soldier, clever statesman and American nationalist. He was one of the most outspoken proponents of American interventionism of his time.

Roosevelt believed a country could only progress if men fought and died for ideals they believed in. A product of the bloody 19th and early 20th centuries, Roosevelt’s nationalist ideology fell just short of fascism.

Roosevelt penned his essay “Lincoln and Free Speech” at the conclusion of the First World War, an international conflict sparked by rampant, surging nationalisms across Europe. Just as Abraham Lincoln pressured then-president James Polk to intensify America’s war efforts against Mexico, Roosevelt thought it necessary to pressure any president who spoke of peace during time of war. His essay on presidential skepticism stemmed from his vehement dislike for Woodrow Wilson and his policy of isolationism during WWI.

Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy as a presidential skeptic rides on the coattails of his legacy as a war hero and great American executive.

Is This the Birth of American Censorship?

The Democratic and Republican candidates both claim to be Free Speech crusaders, albeit for different reasons. They must if they want to make a serious run at becoming Commander in Chief. Americans hold their First Amendment dear, but they are increasingly losing sight of what the document means. The next President of the United States will be sure to help them figure it out.

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Fighting for Free Speech in World War I: Eugene Debs on the Homefront

One of the loudest voices of this period is Eugene Debs, outspoken proponent of labor unions and leader of the Socialist Party. Labeled a “traitor” by the Wilson administration, Debs takes the stand at Nimissila Park in Canton, Ohio. Before him stands a crowd of hundreds of anti-war protestors. Debs knows that he can, and probably will, be arrested for the comments he is about to make. However the self-proclaimed orator has made a name for himself by speaking out against injustice. He will not be silenced by anyone, not even his government.

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