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Friars U.S. History

Influencing American Attitudes

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Influencing American Attitudes

1.       At the outset many Americans believed they should stay out of the war, and even after the U.S. entry into the war the Attitudes of these people did not change.

2.       President Wilson wanted all Americans to support the war and therefore established the Committee on Public Information

a.       The CPI led a propaganda campaign to encourage the American People to support the war.

b.      They put out fact-based information that presented an upbeat picture of the war, they even went so far as to picture the Germans as evil monsters, People were warned to be on the lookout for German spies

c.        These tactics were especially hard on German Americans, many of whom lost their jobs, in some places things got so out of hand that the German language courses were stopped and German books were removed from shelves.

3.       However even with the measures by the CPI opposition still remained

4.       To silence opponents Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts

a.       These measures outlawed acts of treason and made it a crime to “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal… or abusive language” criticizing the government, the flag, or the military.

b.      More than 1000 people were convicted of violating these laws

5.       Many believe these Acts violated the 1st amendment    

The Supreme Court disagreed and upheld the constitutionality of the Acts.

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