Bausch Rumsey Janet Smith Kahn Wehinger
The Montana Sedition Project
The Facts The Book The Pardons The Film UM School of Journalism
The Pardon Ceremony, May 3, 2006 See pardon proclamation and news links below.
(Photos by Brian McDermott)

Gov. Brian Schweitzer with some of the UM students who worked on the pardons

Gov. Schweitzer speaks in front of intake photos of sedition prisoners

Onlookers watch pardon cermenony in the Capitol Rotunda

A speaker's shadow blends with prisoners' photos

Gene Dalton came from Illinois to see his grandfather, Fay Rumsey, pardoned

Close to 50 descendants came from across the country to the ceremony

Gov. Schweitzer speaks in front of the bust of former Gov. Joseph Dixon

Drew Briner came from California to honor his grandfather, Herman Bausch

Gov. Schweitzer signs one of the pardons

Shadows play over the text of the First Amendment

Descendants of William McKee receive his pardon

Prof. Work chats with Judi Rumsey, granddaughter-in-law of Fay Rumsey

Phyllis Rolf came from Minnesota to receive her grandfather's pardon

Relatives pose with Gov. Schweitzer in the reception room

Gov. Schweitzer chats with Phyllis Rolf Marie van Middlesworth, from Oregon, daughter of Fay Rumsey, has her picture taken with Gov. Schweitzer and three of Rumsey's grandsons (Delbert Rumsey from California, Gene Dalton from Illinois and Craig Keyes from Montana)
Proclamation of Clemency


Office of the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer


WHEREAS, the emotional fervor surrounding the United States' entry into World War I led to the enactment of the Montana Sedition Act of 1918, ushering in one of the darkest periods in Montana's political history; and

WHEREAS, seventy-nine men and women were convicted of violating the Montana Sedition Act; and

WHEREAS, this act punished even the mildest forms of political dissent, thereby enforcing a unanimity of thought concerning the United States' involvement in the War; and

WHEREAS, nearly a century has passed since those convictions; and

WHEREAS, the 1972 Constitution recognizes the importance of free speech and expression and of participation in governmental affairs in a democracy in peacetime and in war; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Montana, determined in the 1972 Constitution to "secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations;"

WHEREAS, pursuant to Article VI, ยง12 of the Montana Constitution the Governor of Montana may grant posthumous pardons and the Montana Legislature has not established a procedure for the grant of posthumous pardons; and

WHEREAS, there is no time limitation for correcting injustice and clearing the names of honorable people;

By this Proclamation, I have extended and do extend a full and unconditional pardon from the offense of Sedition alleged to have been committed during 1918-1919 and from the conviction of Sedition and from all sentences, judgments, and executions thereon. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have affixed my signature and caused the Seal of the State of Montana to be hereunto affixed this 3rd day of May, 2006, at Helena, Montana.

[Secretary of State's Attestation]

Selected news and feature articles about the pardons:

The Chicago Tribune, Dec. 28, 2005 Story by Maurice Possley. PDFs: Front page * the jump

The Associated Press, Jan. 9, 2006 (distributed on the North American wire) Story by Sarah Cooke.

NPR Talk of the Nation, Jan. 10, 2006

The Helena Independent-Record, Jan. 31, 2006 (editorial)

The Laurel (Mont.) Outlook, Feb. 1, 2006.

The Billings Gazette, Feb. 12, 2006. Story by Donna Healy.

The Missoulian, Feb. 18, 2006. Story by Ginny Merriam.

NPR "Day to Day," March 7, 2006. Report by Hope Stockwell.

The Missoulian, April 9, 2006. Story by Tristan Scott.

The Billings Gazette, April 23, 2006. Story and sidebar by Donna Healy.

The New York Times, May 3, 2006. Story by Jim Robbins.

The Associated Press, May 3, 2006. Story by Matt Gouras.

ABC News, May 3, 2006. Story by Bill Redeker.

The Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2006. Story by John M. Barrows and Lynn Marshall.

The Missoulian, May 4, 2006. Story by Tristan Scott.

The Helena Independent-Record, May 4, 2006. Story by Chuck Johnson.

The Medford (Ore.) Mail-Tribune, May 4, 2006. Story by Paul Fattig.

The Walla Walla (Wash.) Union-Bulletin, May 6, 2006. Editorial.

The Billings Gazette, May 7, 2006. Column by Chuck Johnson.

Research View, Summer 2006. "A Return to Justice" Story by Patia Stephens.

Montanan, Fall 2006. " When Speech Wasn't Free" Story by Patia Stephens


Back to home page

A project of the University of Montana School of Journalism

Project Director: Professor Clemens P. Work