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241 Appendix K Schenck v. United States Leaflet (1917) [Side One] LONG LIVE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES Wake Up, America! Your Liberties Are in Danger! The 13th Amendment, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States says: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The Constitution of the United States is one of the greatest bulwarks of political liberty. It was born after a long, stubborn battle between kingrule and democracy. (We see little or no difference between arbitrary power under the name of a king and a few misnamed “representatives.”) In this battle the people of the United States established the principle that freedom of the individual and personal liberty are the most sacred things in life. Without them we become slaves. For this principle the fathers fought and died. The establishment of this principle they sealed with their own blood. Do you want to see this principle abolished? Do you want to see despotism substituted in its stead? Shall we prove degenerate sons of illustrious sires? Sources: This is based upon a leaflet, distributed by the Socialist Party in Philadelphia, which was the basis of the prosecution in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919). This 1917 leaflet was printed in two stages, as described in the Opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the Schenck Case. (The direction “(OVER)” was placed at the foot of each side of the leaflet.) See Briefs and Records, United States Supreme Court, Schenck v. United States (1919). See also George Anastaplo, The Constitutionalist: Notes on the First Amendment (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1971; Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005), 296–300. Appendix K 242 The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, quoted above, embodies this sacred idea. The Socialist Party says that this idea is violated by the Conscription Act. When you conscript a man and compel him to go abroad to fight against his will, you violate the most sacred right of personal liberty, and substitute for it what Daniel Webster called “despotism in its worst form.” A conscript is little better than a convict. He is deprived of his liberty and of his right to think and act as a free man. A conscripted citizen is forced to surrender his right as a citizen and become a subject. He is forced into involuntary servitude. He is deprived of the protection given him by the Constitution of the United States. He is deprived of all freedom of conscience in being forced to kill against his will. Are you one who is opposed to war, and were you misled by the venal capitalist newspapers, or intimidated or deceived by gang politicians and registrars into believing that you would not be allowed to register your objection to conscription? Do you know that many citizens of Philadelphia insisted on their right to answer the famous question twelve, and went on record with their honest opinion of opposition to war, notwithstanding the deceitful efforts of our rulers and the newspaper press to prevent them from doing so? Shall it be said that the citizens of Philadelphia, the cradle of American liberty, are so lost to a sense of right and justice that they will let such monstrous wrongs against humanity go unchallenged? In a democratic country each man must have the right to say whether he is willing to join the army. Only in countries where uncontrolled power rules can a despot force his subjects to fight. Such a man or men have no place in a democratic republic. This is tyrannical power in its worst form. It gives control over the life and death of the individual to a few men. There is no man good enough to be given such power. Conscription laws belong to a bygone age. Even the people of Germany , long suffering under the yoke of militarism, are beginning to demand the abolition of conscription. Do you think it has a place in the United States? Do you want to see unlimited power handed over to Wall Street’s chosen few in America? If you do not, join the Socialist Party in its campaign for the repeal of the Conscription Act. Write to your congressman and tell him you want the law repealed. Do not submit to intimidation. You have a right to demand the...


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