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The Spirit of '76

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station description The Dave Bowman Show Podcast
Plausibly Live!
Duration: 24:41
We had a discussion on the last show about the history of government “fighting’ against what it had determined was “disinformation.” As a brief aside in that discussion we hit on some laws that had been passed in the early 20th century to assist the government in its actions. This week w
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We had a discussion on the last show about the history of government “fighting’ against what it had determined was “disinformation.” As a brief aside in that discussion we hit on some laws that had been passed in the early 20th century to assist the government in its actions. This week we watched the beginning of the criminal sentences of the January 6th participants, and we are reminded of previous efforts of the government to enact laws and policies to discourage and prevent “disinformation” and “un-Americanism,” that it says can lead to “insurrection.”

One of those laws, known as the “Espionage Act” was particularly useful in suppressing stuff the government deemed anti-American. Shortly after the US decided to enter World War I, a movie producer released his magnum opus, a film that he produced specially to promote American patriotism and spirit. So much so that he named his film, “The Spirit of ’76,” a phrase that would, just fifty-nine years later, become a slogan to celebrate all things bicentennial.

But in May of 1917, the idea of celebrating all things America – at the expense of a treasured ally – was seen not just as impolite, but as a flat out violation of the Espionage Act.

It was an incident that nobody would accept today, but in 1917, it ended with an arrest and imprisonment of an American citizen who just wanted to sing the praises of his homeland…
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