Socialists Ejected from New York State Assembly

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In New York, the State Assembly removes five elected representatives because they belong to the Socialist Party of America. Socialists are being targeted for official suppression because of their opposition to World War I and because of their difficulty in responding to events in Russia.

Speaker Thaddeus C. Sweet orders: "The Chair directs the Sergeant-at-Arms to present before the Bar of the House Samuel A. DeWitt, Samuel Orr, Louis Waldman, Charles Solomon, and August Claessens." Sweet declares that the Socialist Party of America is not a genuine political party, that it admits "enemy aliens" as members, that it lends aid and comfort to enemies, and that the five members must "appear before such tribunal to prove your right to a seat in this legislative body."

As a sign of how extreme the hostility is, Assemblyman Louis Cuvillier states on the floor of the Assembly during the trial that "if the five accused Assemblymen are found guilty, they ought not to be expelled, but taken out and shot."

The socialists lose their case, are re-elected, and are expelled again. Because voters insisted on elected Socialists against the wishes of Republicans and Democrats, the state legislature tries to pass laws to prevent the election of socialists.

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