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Literature Study GuidesGitlow V New York

Gitlow v. New York | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

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Course Hero. "Gitlow v. New York Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Sep. 2019. Web. 9 Dec. 2022. <>.

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Course Hero. (2019, September 27). Gitlow v. New York Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from

In text

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Course Hero. "Gitlow v. New York Study Guide." September 27, 2019. Accessed December 9, 2022.


Course Hero, "Gitlow v. New York Study Guide," September 27, 2019, accessed December 9, 2022,



United States Supreme Court

Year Decided



Primary Source


U.S. Supreme Court Case

At a Glance

  • In a 7–2 decision the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction under New York state law of Benjamin Gitlow (1891–1965), a socialist.
  • Gitlow had been charged with violating the state's criminal anarchy law for distributing a document that called for overthrow of the government and establishment of a socialist system.
  • This decision is a landmark case because the court held that, under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, 1st Amendment protections applied to not only the federal government but also state governments. This finding was influential in later court decisions.
  • Despite the 1st Amendment protection, the majority held that Gitlow's call for overthrow of the government was not protected speech.
  • The majority opinion was written by Justice Edward T. Sanford (1865–1930), a conservative jurist who was closely allied with Chief Justice William Howard Taft (1857–1930).
  • Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) wrote a dissent stating that the case was wrongly decided by the majority because Gitlow's threat to the government did not meet the "clear and present danger" test established in Schenk v. United States (1919).


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