Emma Goldman’s Supreme Court appeal occurred during a transitional point for First Amendment law, as justices began incorporating arguments related to free expression into decisions on espionage and sedition cases. This project analyzes the communications that led to her arrest—writings in Mother Earth, a mass-mailed manifesto, and speeches related to compulsory military service during World War I—as well as the ensuing legal proceedings and media coverage. The authors place Goldman’s Supreme Court appeal in the context of the more famous Schenck and Abrams trials to demonstrate her place in First Amendment history while providing insight into wartime censorship and the attitude of the mainstream press toward radical speech.
1. Introduction 2. Uncertain Times for Freedom of Expression 3. Goldman, Mother Earth, and the No-Conscription League 4. Fashioning the Courtroom and Newspapers Into Forums for Anarchy 5. Epilogue: The Spark