As a result of World War I, the United States emerged as a dominant world power. As the country welcomed the "tired and huddled masses," it did so against a backdrop of social and political dissent, both nationally and internationally.
During World War I, German Americans were registered as alien enemies, including Hans Joachin von Fischer Treuenfeld. He voluntarily requested to be detained because of the treatment he was receiving from Americans, who suspected him of being a German spy.
Settling in Oregon, Bhagat Singh Thind served during World War I and was naturalized at least twice. Denied citizenship by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the case ended up defining Asian Indians as non-white and ineligible for naturalization.
After a speech made in Canton, Ohio, opposing the war, prominent socialist leader Eugene V. Debs was arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. The Supreme Court upheld the guilty verdict, deciding that the First Amendment rights could be suppressed in times of war if the speech presented a “clear and present danger” to the United States.