Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Anti-Anarchy Measures”
Date of publication: February 1902
Volume number: 34
Issue number: 5
|“Anti-Anarchy Measures.” Chautauquan Feb. 1902 v34n5: pp. 461-62.|
|anarchism (government response); anarchism (laws against); penal colonies (anarchists); anarchism (laws against, impracticality of); anarchism (legal penalties).|
|George F. Hoar; George Graham Vest.|
|Editorial is accompanied on p. 462 by a reproduction from the Chicago Record-Herald of a political cartoon with the caption, “‘Anarchy Isle,’ Suggested by Senator Hoar.”|
As might have been expected, the meeting of congress
was a signal for the presentation of petitions, bills, and resolutions dealing
with the question of anarchy. Almost every suggestion ever made in the general
discussion of the problem may be found in this group of proposed measures, ranging
from the exclusion of avowed anarchists and such persons as advocate the overthrow
of all governments, to the making of attempts upon the executive and those in
the line of succession, treason, a measure which needs a constitutional amendment.
The most ingenious suggestion, however (though it is not original), is that of the venerable Senator Hoar of Massachusetts, which would rid not only the United States, but every nation in the civilized world, of anarchy and anarchists, so far as they could be identified and brought to book. Senator Hoar would establish an “Anarchy Island,” and make an international agreement for the deportation thereto of all those duly convicted of one or more of the offenses to be known as anarchism. His scheme does not include the government of that island. The exiled anarchists would be left alone, to do anything they willed, but their escape would be prevented by rigid patrolling of the island.
It is clear that this is rather fantastic. In the first place, the United States could not consistently act as jailer for other governments, whose notion of anarchy might be radically wrong and unjust, and which might exile to the island men and women of merely liberal ideas. In the second place, the administration of justice in other countries may be defective, and the innocent might be convicted on flimsy or illegal evidence of alleged anarchistic offenses. The United States could not assume responsibility for the methods of despotic and arbitrary governments.
Whether an “anarchy island” will be set aside for the American anarchists is also extremely doubtful. The difficulties and obstacles in the way of a remedy at once effective, expedient, and consonant with American principles of political organization are not overlooked by the more conservative congressmen. Hence the comprehensive resolution offered by Senator Vest of Missouri, instructing the committee on the judiciary to inquire into the subject in all its aspects, and report a constitutional method of dealing therewith. The resolution specifies the questions to be answered: The principal ones are as follows:
Has congress the constitutional power to legislate  for the punishment of anarchists who assassinate or attempt to assassinate the president of the United States, and if not, whether it is expedient to amend the federal constitution to enable congress so to legislate. Whether it is necessary to empower congress to prevent the teachings of anarchists that all governments should be destroyed, and the chief rulers of such governments assassinated. Whether it is necessary that congress shall have power to punish persons belonging to anarchical associations. Whether it is necessary to confer upon congress the power to establish a penal colony where persons convicted of anarchy shall be confined during life.
While the senate has thus provided for a preliminary
inquiry, the house has followed a different method. All the anti-anarchy measures
were referred to the committee on the judiciary, and a bill was prepared by
that body comprising the leading ideas of the various proposals. It is very
drastic. A fatal assault upon the president or any one in the line of the presidential
succession is to be punishable with death. If the assault is not fatal, the
penalty is to be imprisonment for from ten to fifty years. Aiding or abetting
such assault is also to be punishable with death in case of fatal results, and
any advocacy or propaganda of such assaults shall be deemed equal to direct
aiding or abetting. An alien who shall advocate anarchy shall be summarily apprehended,
and upon conviction imprisoned for from one to five years and then deported.
Advocacy of force in overthrowing the government shall be punishable by imprisonment
for from one to five years. No anarchist shall be admitted to citizenship, and
no anarchist shall be permitted to enter the United States.
This bill will be carefully considered and perhaps modified in important particulars.