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Making the PeacePublic Order and Public Security in Modern Britain$
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Charles Townshend

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229780

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229780.001.0001

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In Defence of the Realm

In Defence of the Realm

(p.56) 4 In Defence of the Realm
Making the Peace

Charles Townshend

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the passage of the Defence of the Realm Acts (DORA) 1914 and 1915 in England during World War I. The laws were enacted as emergency measures to ensure public order. However, many critics saw the legislation as a violent disregard for traditional and hitherto respected civil rights of the English. DORA legalized for the first time in 250 years the sentencing of a civilian to death without trial by jury. There are also criticisms on the alacrity with which the English people surrendered their cherished liberties to the discretion of government officials during an emergency.

Keywords:   Defence of the Realm, public order, England, World War I, civil rights, death sentence

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