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Concentrating on the trials of Thomas Cooper in 1800 and Eugene Debs in 1918, this article looks at how sedition laws and other legal restrictions on free speech result in courtroom trials that produce a counteractive effect. Each of these people contravened and challenged existing censorship laws designed to subdue government criticism. The resulting show trials gave voice to the individuals and causes that democratic governments attempted to stifle. This article explores the evolving legal response to the irony of how a democracy, as a government where all voices are given input, creates a legal framework to legitimize the suppression of these voices.
© 2012 by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.