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Freedom of the ScreenLegal Challenges to State Film Censorship, 1915-1981$
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Laura Wittern-Keller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813124513

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813124513.001.0001

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The Origins of Governmental Film Censorship, 1907–1923

The Origins of Governmental Film Censorship, 1907–1923

(p.17) 1 The Origins of Governmental Film Censorship, 1907–1923
Freedom of the Screen

Laura Wittern-Keller

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter discusses the origin of governmental film censorship. Before movies were created, reformers constantly worried about the indecent content popular novels and photographs carried. It was in 1865 that Congress enacted the first antismut law, which authorized the U.S. postmaster to intercept obscene photographs. When movies arrived, however, moralists began to worry about the movie content that they viewed to be “social sewage.” The chapter looks at how movie censorship began, starting from the pressures groups imposed on the government, until the adoption of movie censorship in seven states.

Keywords:   origin, film censorship, antismut law, movie, social sewage, movie censorship, seven states, Congress

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