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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 166861 Find in a Library
Title: Wagging Tongues and Empty Heads: Seditious Utterances and the Patriotism of Wartime in Central Alberta, 1914-1918 (From Law, Society, and the State: Essays in Modern Legal History, P 263-289, 1995, Louis A Knafla and Susan W S Binnie, eds. -- See NCJ-166852)
Author(s): J Swainger
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto Press
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8, Canada
Sale Source: University of Toronto Press
Marketing Manager
10 St. Mary Street
Suite 700
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8,
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This study of dissent in central Alberta during the First World War examines relevant court cases.
Abstract: The Alberta courts took the unusual position of gradually restricting the interpretation of political dissent, to the extent that by 1918 few individuals could be convicted. Using a strict application of proving "intent," the Alberta courts set a new standard for civil liberties in Canada and upheld the ideology of the rule of law. In so doing, they restricted the state's field of legitimate action in favor of abstract notions of fairness and justice. They also provided a clear alternative to the legal reasoning adopted by the United States Supreme Court in 1919, one that permitted a wide definition of the terms under which a person could be convicted (Schenck v. U.S.). What made the Alberta Supreme Court rule significant is that it resulted clearly from judicial support for the perspective of the local community. This was the view that working-class European immigrants who had settled the farms of central Alberta had pro- German and anti-British, pro-peace, and anti-war cultural mindsets, which entitled them to opinions that were not actionable unless there was evidence that the expression of those opinions in public places could be tied directly to hindering the prosecution of the war in Europe. 75 notes
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Alberta; Foreign laws; Freedom of speech; Jurisprudence; Sociology of law
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