The United States Code 1926

The United States Code 1926
The United States Code 1926

The United States Code 1926

The United States Code is a multi-volume compilation and codification of the United States’ general and permanent laws. According to subject matter, the volumes are divided into fifty titles. Regulations published by federal agencies, decisions of federal courts, laws adopted by state or municipal governments, and treaties are not included in the Code.

Prior to 1926, researching federal statutory law was extremely difficult. The Revised Statutes of the United States (1875), which contained inaccuracies, contained all federal statutes enacted before 1875. After 1875, laws were published in chronological sequence, without subject matter organization or a cumulative index, in volumes of the United States Statutes at Large. The publishing of the Code was approved by Congress in 1926, bringing together all legal federal laws in one volume organized by topic matter.

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The Scopes “Monkey” Trial 1925

The Scopes “Monkey” Trial 1925
The Scopes “Monkey” Trial 1925

The Scopes “Monkey” Trial 1925

The Tennessee state legislature enacted a measure in March 1925 prohibiting the teaching of evolution in all educational institutions in the state.

The Butler Act sounded the alarm across the country. The ACLU promptly offered to represent any teacher facing charges under the law. John Scopes, a famous high school science teacher, agreed to be the defendant in a law-challenge test case. On May 7, 1925, he was arrested and charged with teaching evolution theory. The defense was led by Clarence Darrow, a highly capable, experienced, and nationally recognized criminal defense attorney, and Arthur Garfield Hays, the ACLU’s General Counsel. They argued that the Tennessee statute was unconstitutional because it made a religious document, the Bible, the standard of truth in a government institution. William Jennings Bryan, a former Secretary of State, presidential contender, and the most well-known conservative Christian advocate in the country, headed the prosecution. His technique was straightforward: he needed to show that John Scopes had broken Tennessee law.

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The Emergency Quota Act 1921

The Emergency Quota Act 1921
Joseph Keppler’s 1882 cartoon “Uncle Sam’s Lodging-House” depicts the tension America was facing as a result of an influx of immigrants from around the world. The nation’s response took the form of restrictive immigration laws and, beginning in 1907, immigration quotas. | The Emergency Quota Act 1921

The Emergency Quota Act 1921

Through a national origins quota, the Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States. According to the 1890 national census, 2% of the total number of persons of each nationality in the United States were eligible for immigration permits. Immigrants from Asia were absolutely excluded.

Literacy Tests and “Asiatic Barred Zone”

The United States Congress passed the first comprehensive immigration statute in 1917. Because of the uncertainty about national security created by World War I, Congress was able to enact this bill, which included numerous key measures that opened the way for the 1924 Act. The 1917 Act imposed a literacy test on immigrants above the age of 16, requiring them to demonstrate basic reading ability in any language.

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Censorship and the Hays Office 1921

Censorship and the Hays Office 1921
Will H. Hayes (c. 1921), the postmaster general behind the crusade to save America from Hollywood. | Censorship and the Hays Office 1921

Censorship and the Hays Office 1921

The Hays Office, formerly the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, was an American organization that established a cinema moral code. Following a series of controversies involving Hollywood celebrities, film industry officials created the organization in 1922 to combat the prospect of government censorship and to promote the industry. The Hays Office, led by Will H. Hays, a politically active lawyer, established a blacklist, incorporated morals provisions into performers’ contracts, and published the Production Code in 1930, which specified what was morally acceptable on screen. In 1966, the code was replaced by a voluntary rating system.

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The Chicago “Black Sox” Trial 1921

The Chicago “Black Sox” Trial 1921
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson was one of the players from the 1919 Chicago White Sox banned from baseball for life. | The Chicago “Black Sox” Trial 1921

The Chicago “Black Sox” Trial 1921

In 1921, the Black Sox trial – baseball’s Trial of the Century — took place. The Chicago White Sox were charged with conspiring to manipulate the 1919 World Series, which the much favored Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds, along with some of the gamblers who bribed them.

For six weeks in the summer of 1921, baseball’s fallen heroes gathered in a Chicago courtroom to await their fate, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the game’s best pure hitters. Their criminal trial generated front-page news all around the country. Today, it’s unusual to see an athlete’s transgressions, whether on or off the field, be completely investigated by the judicial system.

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New York State Legalizes Boxing 1920

New York State Legalizes Boxing 1920
A zoopraxiscope, c. 1893, created by English motion-picture pioneer Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), shows two athletes boxing. | New York State Legalizes Boxing 1920

New York State Legalizes Boxing 1920

The Walker Law, adopted in the state of New York under the leadership of James J. Walker, the state senate speaker, was the first significant U.S. legislation concerning the sport of boxing. The bill made professional boxing legal in New York, and its set of boxing regulations, largely drafted by William Gavin, an English promoter, served as a model for similar legislation in other states. The New York State Athletic Commission was also founded under the statute, which has remained autonomous and continues to publish its own list of world boxing champions.

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Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater - Schenck v. US
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., c. 1924, introduced the clear-and-present-danger test. | Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

During World War I, socialists Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer distributed pamphlets claiming that the draft was in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on involuntary servitude. The leaflets urged people to oppose the conscription, but only in a peaceful way. Schenck was charged with conspiring to break the 1917 Espionage Act by inciting military insubordination and obstructing recruitment. Schenck and Baer were found guilty of breaking this legislation and filed an appeal claiming that the statute was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

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