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Literature Study GuidesThe Sedition Act

The Sedition Act | Study Guide

United States Congress

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Course Hero. "The Sedition Act Study Guide." July 26, 2019. Accessed March 28, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Sedition Act Study Guide," July 26, 2019, accessed March 28, 2023,



United States Congress

Year Ratified



Primary Source


History, Law

At a Glance

  • President Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) signed the Sedition Act into law on May 16, 1918.
  • The Sedition Act of 1918 is an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, which was passed shortly after the United States entered World War I (1914–18).
  • The Espionage Act had already criminalized interference with the draft and acts of espionage and sabotage against U.S. forces, military installations, infrastructure, and industries producing goods for the war effort.
  • The Sedition Act further limits the rights of citizens to speak out against the war.
  • The Sedition Act was used to suppress the speech and activities of left-wing organizations and anti-war campaigners.
  • The Sedition Act was challenged on grounds that it violated the First Amendment's protection of free speech. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in Abrams v. United States (1919).
  • The law was repealed in 1920 over concerns about the restriction of civil liberties.


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