The Struggle for Free Speech in the United States, 1872-1915

Edward Bliss Foote, Edward Bond Foote, and Anti-Comstock Operations

By Janice Ruth Wood

© 2008 – Routledge

150 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415542760
pub: 2012-02-23
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415962469
pub: 2007-12-25
US Dollars$130.00
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About the Book

Passed in 1873, the Comstock Act banned 'obscene' materials from the mail without defining obscenity, leaving it open to interpretation by courts that were hostile to free speech. Literature that reflected changing attitudes toward sexuality, religion, and social institutions fell victim to the Comstock Act and related state laws. Dr. Edward Bliss Foote became among the earliest individuals convicted under the law after he mailed a brochure on birth-control methods. For the next four decades, Foote Sr. and his son, Dr. Edward Bond Foote, challenged the Comstock Act in Congress, legislatures, and courts and also offered personal assistance to Comstock defendants. This book chronicles the Footes’ struggle, examining not just the efforts of these cruising champions of freedom of expression and women's rights, but also the larger issues surrounding free speech and censorship in the Gilded Age of American history.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Historical Background

Chapter Three: Legal Encounters with Comstock

Chapter Four: Free-Speech Organizational Activities

Chapter Five: Personal Involvement in Free-Speech Cases

Chapter Six: Conclusions

Appendix

Notes

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

As a media professional for 15 years, Janice Wood worked in newspaper journalism and corporate communication in her native Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. She now teaches in Texas Christian University’s Schieffer School of Journalism.

About the Series

Studies in American Popular History and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS000000
HISTORY / General
HIS036000
HISTORY / United States / General
HIS037030
HISTORY / Modern / General
HIS054000
HISTORY / Social History