Modern History Sourcebook:
The Espionage Act, May 16, 1918
Be it enacted, That section three of the Act . . . approved June I5, 1917, be . .
amended so as to read as follows: SEC. 3. Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false
reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the
military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies,
or shall wilfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, or say or do anything
except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor . . . with intent to
obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds . . . or the making of loans by or to the
United States, or whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause . . . or
incite . . . insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or
naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct . . . the recruiting or
enlistment service of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war,
shall wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or
abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of
the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag . . .
or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States, or any language intended to bring
the form of government . . . or the Constitution . . . or the military or naval forces . .
. or the flag . . . of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute . .
. or shall wilfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall wilfully . . . urge,
incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things .
. . necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war . . . and whoever shall wilfully
advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section
enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any coun try
with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United
States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for
not more than twenty years, or both....
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© Paul Halsall, January 1999