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sedition

n. the federal crime of advocacy of insurrection against the government or support for an enemy of the nation during time of war, by speeches, publications and organization. Sedition usually involves actually conspiring to disrupt the legal operation of the government and is beyond expression of an opinion or protesting government policy. Sedition is a lesser crime than "treason," which requires actual betrayal of the government, or "espionage." Espionage involves spying on the government, trading state secrets (particularly military) to another country (even a friendly nation), or sabotaging governmental facilities, equipment or suppliers of the government, like an aircraft factory. During U.S. participation in World War II (1941-1945) several leaders of the German-American Bund, a pro-Nazi organization, were tried and convicted of sedition for actively interfering with the war effort. Since freedom of speech, press and assembly are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and because treason and espionage charges can be made for overt acts against the nation's security, sedition charges are rare.

See also: espionage  treason 

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