In the case of Frohwerk v. United States (249 U.S. 204 (1919)), Frohwerk was publishing a pro-German newspaper denouncing US involvement in World War I. He was convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which basically made it a crime to make statements that would interfere with ‘military success’ or obstruct ‘recruiting and enlistment’ into the military, when the US was at war.

  • The US Supreme Court upheld the sentence, and said that the Espionage Act was not a violation of the 1st Amendment’s right to free speech because “the 1st Amendment was not intended to give immunity for every possible use of language.”
  • This case (along with Schenck v. United States (249 U.S. 47 (1919)) and Debs v. United States (249 U.S. 211 (1919))) defined the clear and present danger exception to freedom of speech, which says that a law is constitutional if it can be shown that the language it prohibits poses a “clear and present danger.”