What Laws Were Passed During World War I?

Among the laws passed in the United States during World War I were the War Revenue Act, the Sedition Act and the Espionage Act. These laws restricted freedom of speech and authorized the government to mulct more money from tax-paying citizens.

The War Revenue Act of 1917 allowed Congress to raise taxes to levels never before seen to help fund the war effort. This law reduced the number of exemptions allowable by law. The amount of tax revenue increased by almost 3 million dollars between 1917 and 1918.

The Espionage Act was passed in 1917 due to the efforts of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. The law made it a crime to obstruct the United States war effort by giving information and secrets to the enemy. It also made using information to help the enemy war effort illegal.

The following year, the U.S. Congress passed the Sedition Act. This act was in response to the number of critics of the war. However, it also targeted socialists and pacifists. Eugene V. Debs, a pacifist and former Social Democrat nominee for president, was arrested after his anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, in 1918 and sentenced to 10 years in prison due to the law.