A brief history of the Espionage Act | REALPOLITIK


Press freedom is under attack like never before – or so we believe. Such a viewpoint requires a look to history, so let’s go back 100 years and explore the history of the Espionage Act and the concept of Sedition.

Some context, and the history of the Espionage Act.

There is always a sense of “the urgency of the now” in every era. This moment is the most important, this is the biggest risk we face, this is the most this, that, and the other thing… ever.

This is a story of humans. Now, and before, and likely tomorrow.

On the subject of the Espionage Act, free speech, and press freedom, our story today is no different.

But the challenges we face today – from the strategic environment to attitudes about free speech and political sentiment – are arguably far less severe than the circumstances faced by everyone in the midst of WWI. This period of time was when the Espionage Act was passed.

I very much hope this episode offers you greater context with respect to the history of the Espionage Act, and a deeper understanding of its history and how it both shapes, and differs, from our circumstances today.

Sources used:

About Realpolitik

Realpolitik is an independent news and analysis source dedicated to sharing a perspective rarely discussed in the mainstream or other independent outlets. In short, it’s all in the name: realpolitik. The show is decidedly nonpartisan but is situated firmly on the side of classical, liberal, enlightenment values and achievements. The elevation of the realpolitik framework is in the spirit of historian John Bew, who asked: “how can we achieve liberal enlightened goals in a world that does not follow liberal enlightened rules?” The answer to this question is important because ignorance of realpolitik is like playing a game where you don’t know the rules – you will lose this game, and simultaneously not understand why. Realpolitik is driven by data and trends concerning State power, economics, and conflict, not by the President’s twitter account.

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