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Also known as the Smith Act, the Alien Registration Act of 1940 made it illegal to advocate or belong to a group that advocated the overthrow of the United States government. This law was the basis of the prosecution of many members of the Communist and Socialist Workers parties.

In 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court restricted the application of the law to instances of active participation in, or verbal encouragement of, specific insurrectionary activities.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition

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