Harry M. Broder


As we search today for an effective solution of the problem of preserving our basic freedoms from internal and external enemies, it seems particularly appropriate to consider a some-what analogous situation in history. From 1789 to 1795, English opinion changed from widespread approval of the French Revolution and its aims to a hatred and fear that included all persons and ideas which advocated any departure from the status quo in England itself. As late as 1792, the possibility of war seemed so remote the the Army estimates were reduced. One year later, France and England were at war, and the government embarked on a program of repression of internal reformers that resulted in the passage of the infamous Two Act in December, 1795. These Acts declared that spoken or written words could be construed as treason even though no overt acts were committed, and prohibited meetings unless notice had been given to the authorities by the resident householder.