What Were Some Principles of the Clear and Present Danger Doctrine?


Quick Answer

The Supreme Court's Clear and Present Danger doctrine for limiting free speech relied on a test of whether the words in question created a clear and present danger that could cause significant damage, and that Congress had a right to prevent, explains the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. There was no need to show that the words had actually caused damage, but only that they had ill intent and could do so.

Continue Reading
Related Videos

Full Answer

In 1919, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the language of the Clear and Present Danger doctrine in the case of Schenck v. United States, explains PBS. Charles Schenck was a well-known member of the U.S. Socialist party, and he had distributed several thousand fliers to young men recently drafted to fight in World War I. These fliers claimed the draft was a form of slavery and urged the men to push for a repeal of the draft act. The federal government jailed Schenck on the grounds that he had acted to cause insubordination amongst U.S. forces, which was prohibited by the recently passed Espionage Act. The Supreme Court upheld Schenck's conviction, codifying the idea that the right to free speech is not unlimited and depends on context.

Learn more about Politics

Related Questions