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World War I

            President Woodrow Wilson's campaign slogan for the presidential election of 1916 was "He Kept us out of war". Wilson maintained his neutrality policy backed by the progressives who saw war as a violation of the very spirit of reform. Behind the scenes though, Wilson supported a policy of preparedness in the event the United States did go to war. His position was attacked from both sides: preparedness was seen as advocating charged cowardice, while pacifists denounced any attempt at military readiness. Before Wilson's announcement of war, the United States had taken several social, military, and economic steps to ensure the United States was prepared to fight the "war to end all wars.".
             A week after war was declared; Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (CPI). The CPI was headed by George Creel and was used to distribute posters and pamphlets discussing the reasons America had gone to war. Creel " took quite seriously the traditional regard of American democracy for the individual consenting will as the cornerstone of political legitimacy and social action. (Kennedy 60)"Another aspect of the CPI was the Four-Minute Men who gave brief speeches at public gatherings on the issue of the US at war. The CPI also exploited the new medium of film and supported films such as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin. With the exploitation of film and growing anti-German sentiment, vigilantism emerged as another tool to socially prepare the citizens of America for war. Wilson encouraged acts of "super-patriotism" "familiar words like hamburger and sauerkraut were replaced by liberty sandwich and liberty cabbage (Kennedy 68) .
             In 1917 Wilson passed the Espionage Act, which authorized sentences of up to twenty years in prison for anyone found guilty of aiding the enemy, obstructing the recruitment of soldiers, or encouraging disloyalty. The following year Congress passed the Sedition Act which imposed harsh penalties on anyone using disloyal, profane, or abusive language about the U.

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