The First Amendment Encyclopedia

Presented by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies

Case Categories: Bad Tendency Test

The bad tendency test was mostly used to determine whether criticism of World War I was protected by the First Amendment. The end result of the bad tendency test was that during the wartime era the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government’s anti-seditious behavior almost without fail. Among the most well-known cases related to the First Amendment were Abrams v. United States (1919), Gitlow v. New York (1925), and Whitney v. California (1927).

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