Montana Lost It’s Freedom Of Speech?
If you hang out in Montana for any period of time, you quickly realize that we have our beliefs and we stand by them no matter what. Our freedom is cherished. It's hard to believe, but there was a time that if you spoke your mind in this state, you wound up behind bars.
Our state once passed a law that severely restricted freedom of speech and unfortunately, many Montanans suffered because of it.
The Montana Sedition Law was passed in 1918 making it illegal to speak out against our involvement in World War I with 76 men and three women were convicted of sedition in Montana in 1918 and 1919.
According to Only In Your State, the saddest story is that of Herman Bausch who was a young man who immigrated from Germany at the age of 16 and wanted to live the American dream.
They say that Bausch worked hard and had a small farm in what is now Billings, a wife, and an infant son when he refused to buy Liberty Bonds and allegedly said the U.S. never should have entered the war. Bausch ended up spending 28 months in prison... and his infant son died of the flu during that time. Once he was released he tried to go on with his life, but his now 85-year-old daughter Fritzi says he was never the same. He was always depressed and broken -- all because he exercised his First Amendment rights.
Only one man was pardoned in 1921 but on May 3, 2006, Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a Proclamation of Pardon for 78 people convicted of sedition .