Facts of the Case:
Espionage Act of 1917, Section 3:
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports of false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military..., shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty..., or shall willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.
Supreme Court Decision:
Significance of Schenck v. United States:
Excerpt from Schenck's Pamphlet: "Assert Your Rights":
"In exempting clergymen and members of the Society of Friends (popularly called Quakers) from active military service the examination boards have discriminated against you.
If you do not assert and support your rights you are helping to "deny or disparage rights" which it is the solemn duty of all citizens and residents of the United States to retain.
In lending tacit or silent consent to the conscription law, in neglecting to assert your rights, you are (whether knowingly or not) helping to condone and support a most infamous and insidious conspiracy to abridge and destroy the sacred and cherished rights of a free people. You are a citizen: not a subject! You delegate your power to the officers of the law to be used for your good and welfare, not against you.
...When you conscript a man and compel him to go abroad to fight against his will, you violate the most sacred right of personal liberty and substitute for it what Daniel Webster called "despotism in its worst form."
...Exercise your rights of free speech, peaceful assemblage and petition the government for redress of grievances. Come to the headquarters of the Socialist Party..., and sign a petition to Congress for the repeal of the Conscription Act."