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Schroeder, Theodore (1864–1953)


Before world war i, Theodore Schroeder, as felix frank-furter said, was the foremost authority in the field of first amendment rights. A prosperous lawyer, he could afford to be a full-time publicist in the cause of opposing all censorship and prosecutions for seditious, blasphemous, and obscene libels. In 1902 he founded the Free Speech League, the mainstay of civil liberties until the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union. Roger Baldwin, one of the many civil libertarians whom Schroeder influenced, declared that Schroeder "was the Free Speech League." Schroeder was an uncompromising First Amendment absolutist who defended anarchists, free-thinkers, and pornographers. He also advocated equal rights for women and defended Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger. His major works include "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law (1911), Free Speech for Radicals (1916), Constitutional Free Speech Defined and Defended (1919), and Free Speech Bibliography (1922).

Leonard W. Levy


Auerbach, Jerold 1972 (1911) Introduction to Schroeder, Theodore, "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law. New York: Da Capo Press.

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