Alien Registration Act Essay

1910 Words 8 Pages
In 1940, during World War II, the United States Congress passed the Alien Registration Act making it illegal for any citizen of the United States of America to advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Tensions were high between the United States and other nations that supported the Axis powers, yet the United States took this fear too far by passing a law that only compromised the practice of free speech. This law required non-citizens to register themselves within four months of arriving with the government for the purposes of keeping a mouth guard on incoming immigrants from inciting revolutions during a fearful time of communism and opposing world views (United).
On December 15, 1791 the first Amendment was passed stating,
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government. Specific cases such as the Dennis vs. United States, specifically outline the perceived threat that a jury was able to convict individuals on. Because there was widespread fear in America during World War II, this law was only amplified and caused extremes to become a normality in the courtroom. The Bill of Rights was signed by our founding fathers for a specific reason, and the freedom of speech was most drastically altered by this Alien Registration Act. As stated by Congressman Vito Marcantonio, “the Smith Act, in its attempt to proscribe advocacy, is incompatible with the right which the American people irrevocably reserve to themselves to choose among competing ideas (Puloka).” To elaborate, the Alien Registration Act only further suppressed the free political freedom that America was founded upon, and poses a great threat to democracy in America. A democratic nation cannot exist by outlawing ideas that it simply does not agree with, or perceives as a direct threat to the government as a whole. Because the government felt that the core beliefs of democracy were being threatened by the beliefs of others, it was pure hypocrisy on the government’s part to pass this bill. If the table were to be turned, would the ones restraining the ideas of another party wish for their ideas to be restrained as well? America was founded upon a democratic society, and should maintain that philosophy because of the guiding principles laid out in the United States

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