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US AP Gov

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  • Gitlow vs New York case was ruled on the U.S. Supreme court on June 8,1925. This case was Constitution’s first case about Amendment protection of free speech. The case became a big deal to the society in November 1919 when Benjamin Gitlow, which is socialist who had served as a local assemblyman and as an associate of Alan Larkin, were arrested by New York City police officers. They were arrested for criminal anarchy, as an offense under New York state law. Gitlow and Larkin were Communist Party. They were also publishers of the Revolutionary Age, a radical newspaper in which they distributed “The Left Wing Manifesto.” That advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
  • In the court Gitlow argued at a trial that there was no action flowing from the manifest’s publication, the statute penalized assertion without bias to provocation of concrete action.
  • The Supreme Court issued its ruling, reported by Justice Edward Taft Sanford, in June 1925. The court upheld Gitlow’s conviction, but perhaps ironically the ruling expanded free speech protections for individuals, since the court held that the First Amendment was applicable to state governments through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Court of New York decided that anyone who encouraged the doctrine of violent revolution violated the law. 
  • The Impact of this case is that prohibitions on speech which simply advocated the potential violence, was eventually was dismissed in the 1930’s by Supreme Court and later on as the court became more restrictive about types of speech which government could constitutionally abolish.
  • Later on as the court became more restrictive about types of speech, which government could constitutionally abolish it.
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