BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.

Sections 1 and 2 prohibit teaching or advocating by printed matter, writing or word of mouth, that men should not enlist in the military or naval forces of the United States. The prohibition is made to apply whatever the motive, the intention, or the purpose of him who teaches. It applies alike to the preacher in the pulpit, the professor at the university, the speaker at a political meeting, the lecturer at a society or club gathering. Whatever the nature of the meeting and whether it be public or private, the prohibition is absolute, if five persons are assembled. The reason given by the speaker for advising against enlistment is immaterial. Young men considering whether they should enter these services as a means of earning a livelihood or as a career, may not be told that, in the opinion of the speaker, they can serve their country and themselves better by entering the civil service of State or Nation, or by studying for one of the professions, or by engaging in the transportation service, or in farming or in business, or by becoming a workman in some productive industry. Although conditions may exist in the Army or the Navy which are undermining efficiency, which tend to demoralize those who enter the service and would render futile their best efforts, the State forbids citizens of the United States to advocate that men should not enlist until existing abuses or defects are remedied. The prohibition imposed by the Minnesota statute has no relation to existing needs or desires of the Government. It applies although recruiting is neither in process nor in contemplation. For the statute aims to prevent not acts but beliefs. The prohibition imposed by § 3 is even more far-reaching than that provided in §§ 1 and 2. Section 3 makes it punishable to teach in any place a single person that a citizen should not aid in carrying on a war, no matter what the relation of the parties may be. Thus the statute invades the privacy and freedom of the home. Father and mother may not follow the promptings of religious belief,

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254 U. S.

of conscience or of conviction, and teach son or daughter the doctrine of pacifism. If they do any police officer may summarily arrest them.

That such a law is inconsistent with the conceptions of liberty hitherto prevailing seems clear. But it is said that the guaranty against abridging freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution applies only to federal action; that the legislation here complained of is that of a State; that the validity of the statute has been sustained by its highest court as a police measure; that the matter is one of state concern; and that, consequently this court cannot interfere. But the matter is not one merely of state concern. The state law affects directly the functions of the Federal Government. It affects rights, privileges and immunities of one who is a citizen of the United States; and it deprives him of an important part of his liberty. These are rights which are guaranteed protection by the Federal Constitution; and they are invaded by the statute in question.

Congress has the exclusive power to legislate concerning the Army and the Navy of the United States, and to determine, among other things, the conditions of enlistment. It has likewise exclusive power to declare war, to determine to what extent citizens shall aid in its prosecution and how effective aid may best be secured. Congress, which has power to raise an army and naval forces by conscription when public safety demands, may, to avert a clear and present danger, prohibit interference by persuasion with the process of either compulsory or voluntary enlistment. As an incident of its power to declare war it may, when the public safety demands, require from every citizen full support, and may, to avert a clear and present danger, prohibit interference by persuasion with the giving of such support. But Congress might conclude that the most effective Army or Navy would be one composed wholly of men who had enlisted with full appreciation of


BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.

the limitations and obligations which the service imposes, and in the face of efforts to discourage their doing so.1 It might conclude that the most effective Army would be one composed exclusively of men who are firmly convinced that war is sometimes necessary if honor is to be preserved, and also that the particular war in which they are engaged is a just one. Congress, legislating for a people justly proud of liberties theretofore enjoyed and suspicious or resentful of any interference with them, might conclude that even in times of grave danger, the most effective means of securing support from the great body of citizens is to accord to all full freedom to criticise the acts and administration of their country, although such freedom may be used by a few to urge upon their fellow-citizens not to aid the Government in carrying on a war, which reason or faith tells them is wrong and will, therefore, bring misery upon their country.

The right to speak freely concerning functions of the Federal Government is a privilege or immunity of every citizen of the United States which, even before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, a State was powerless to curtail. It was held in Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35, 44, that the United States has the power to call to the seat of government or elsewhere any citizen to aid it in the conduct of public affairs; that every citizen has the correlative right to go there or anywhere in the pursuit of public or private business; and that "no power can exist in a State to obstruct this right which would not enable it to defeat the purpose for which the government was established." The right of a citizen of the United States to take part, for his own or the country's benefit, in the making of federal laws and in the conduct of the Government, necessarily includes the right to speak or write about them; to endeavor to make his own opinion concerning laws existing

1 See General John A. Logan, "The Volunteer Soldier of America," pp. 89-91; Col. F. N. Maude in the Contemporary Review, v. 189, p. 37.

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254 U.S.

or contemplated prevail; and, to this end, to teach the truth as he sees it. Were this not so "the right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for any thing else connected with the powers or duties of the national government" would be a right totally without substance. See United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 552; Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 79. Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the Nation than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril. There are times when those charged with the responsibility of Government, faced with clear and present danger, may conclude that suppression of divergent opinion is imperative; because the emergency does not permit reliance upon the slower conquest of error by truth. And in such emergencies the power to suppress exists. But the responsibility for the maintenance of the Army and Navy, for the conduct of war and for the preservation of government, both state and federal, from "malice domestic and foreign levy" rests upon Congress. It is true that the States have the power of self-preservation inherent in any government to suppress insurrection and repel invasion; and to that end they may maintain such a force of militia as Congress may prescribe and arm. Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. 1. But the duty of preserving the state governments falls ultimately upon the Federal Government, Luther v. Borden, 7 How. 1, 77; Prize Cases, 2 Black, 635, 668; Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 727. And the superior responsibility carries with it the superior right. The States act only under the express direction of Congress. See National Defence Act, June 3, 1916, c. 134, 39 Stat.


BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.

166; Selective Service Act, May 18, 1917, c. 15, 40 Stat. 76. The fact that they may stimulate and encourage recruiting, just as they may stimulate and encourage interstate commerce, Monongahela Navigation Co. v. United States, 148 U. S. 312, 329, does not give them the power by police regulations or otherwise to exceed the authority expressly granted to them by the Federal Government. See Kurtz v. Moffitt, 115 U. S. 487; Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 16 Pet. 539. Congress, being charged with responsibility for those functions of Government, must determine whether a paramount interest of the Nation demands that free discussion in relation to them should be curtailed. No State may trench upon its province.


Prior to the passage of the Minnesota statute it had been the established policy of the United States, departed from only once in the life of the Nation, to raise its military and naval forces in times of war as in peace exclusively by voluntary enlistment. Service was deemed a privilege of Americans, not a duty exacted by law. Specific provision had been made to ensure that enlistment should be the result of free, informed and deliberate choice. The law of the United States left an American as

1Act of March 3, 1863, c. 75, 12 Stat. 731.

* Recruiting officers were required to explain to every man before he signed the enlistment paper the nature of the service, the length of the term, the amount of pay, clothing, rations and other allowances to which a soldier is entitled by law; and to read and explain to the applicant many of the Articles of War before administering to him the oath of enlistment. U. S. Army Regulations, 1913, paragraphs 854, 856.

The following is contained in the instructions sent to all officers and men assigned to recruiting duty:

"All progress and success rests fundamentally on truth. Hence never resort to indirection or misrepresentation or suppression of part of the facts in order to push a wavering case over the line. Recruits signed up on misrepresented facts or partial information do not make good soldiers. They resent being fooled just as you would, and will never yield their full value to a Government whose agents obtained their services in a way not fully square. Therefore tell your prospect anything he

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