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Darkest before dawn; sedition and free speech in the American West.


Darkest before dawn; sedition and free speech in the American West.

Work, Clemens P.

U. of New Mexico Press


318 pages




Work (journalism, U. of Montana at Missoula) unearths the story of dissent and its suppression in Montana during and immediately preceding World War I. He discusses how Montana's 1918 sedition law essentially used the patriotic fervor stirred up by the war to cast radical groups such as the Industrial Workers of the World as disloyal and potential saboteurs allowing the use of beatings, lynchings, raids, censorship, and jailings to repress the IWW and attempt to silence its demands for economic justice. At the end of the book, he describes how this Red Scare was followed by a national debate over the role of free speech in a democratic society, which he describes as a dawning of the First Amendment, "which had lain wrapped in semi-darkness for 130 years."

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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