|Petition of Jane Addams, et. al to President Calvin Coolidge, regarding the restoration of civil rights to
American citizens convicted of espionage during World War I
To the President; White House, Washington, D.C.
The undersigned citizens urge upon you the wisdom of restoring the rights of citizenship to the 1500 men and women
convicted solely for their utterances during the war under the espionage act and related laws.
We urge that these rights be restored by a general proclamation by you as the sole constitutional authority able to
grant pardons. Unless such a proclamation is issued, these people will continue to be punished indefinitely by the loss
of their rights of citizenship solely because of their spoken or written opposition to the war.
We submit that such continuing punishment for offenses in an emergency long since passed was never contemplated
at the time. Nor is it in accord with the traditions of our government, particularly as expressed in the amnesties
following the Civil War, which restored citizenship to all persons engaged in the rebellion.
Any course other than a general proclamation of the restoration of the rights of citizenship would be impracticable.
Word cannot be gotten to these 1500 people to make individual applications for restoration of their rights.
Furthermore, even if it were possible to reach them, most of them, feeling the injustice of a continuing punishment for
offenses of speech in war-time, would decline to make such applications, expecting the government to take the
initiative to correct injustice, just as it did when it commuted the long sentences imposed during the war days.
Now ten long years after the war, is not the time ripe, Mr. President, to clear the record of war prosecutions for
opinions, to release these men and women from continuing punishment, and to restore to them their rights as citizens?
Jane Addams [writer, social worker, Chicago, Ill.]
Judge George W. Anderson [Judge, Circuit Court of Appeals, Boston]
Rev. Iddings Bell [Warden, St. Stephens College, Anandale-On-Hudson, N.Y.]
Bishop Chauncey Brewster [Bishop, Protestant Episcopal Church, Hartford, Conn.]
Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin [Clergyman, author, New York City.]
Prof. Zechariah Chafee, Jr. [Professor of law, Harvard Univ.]
Prof. John Dewey [Professor of law, Columbia Univ.]
Raymond B. Fosdick [attorney, New York City.]
Prof. William E. Hocking [Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge.]
Francis Fisher Kane [attorney, Philadelphia]
Prof. Underhill Moore [Professor of law, Columbia Univ.]
Judge Julian W. Mack [Judge, Circuit Court, New York City.]
Prof. Harry A. Overstreet [Professor of Philosophy, City College of New York.]
Allen S. Olmsted [attorney, Philadelphia]
Herbert Bayard Swope [Executive Editor, “The World”]
Don Carlos Seitz [writer, New York City.]
Prof. F. W. Taussig [Professor of Economics, Harvard Univ.]
Robertson Trowbridge [Union League Club, New York City.]
Wilbur K. Thomas [Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia]
Vera B. Whitehouse [author, New York City]
Lillian D. Wald [social worker, New York City]