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Liberty in the Balance

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Date: August 22, 2006
Contact: Myron Freedman, (314) 655-1720
Contact: Bob Moore, (314) 655-1629

The National Park Service presents

“Liberty in the Balance: Rights and Repression in Wartime St. Louis”

at the Old Courthouse

St. Louis has frequently been in the crossfire of the national debate on liberty and its limits.  Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in partnership with the Exhibiting History class at Webster University, presents a new exhibit that examines the treatment of civil liberties in St. Louis during times of war.

The United States Constitution promises every American an exhilarating list of freedoms.  These rights, however, are not absolute.  During wartime, people often fear that disloyal elements will use these freedoms to undermine our resolve and threaten the very survival of the nation.  In every major conflict, the government has been called upon to restrict civil liberties in the name of national security.  Sometimes the government has obliged.

Webster students researched archival documents, images and artifacts to illustrate the major civil liberties issues from the Civil War, World War I and World War II, and the response of St. Louisans to them.  Students worked with the staff of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to bring the information and images together in a new exhibition.  Liberty in the Balance: Rights and Repression in Wartime St. Louis will be presented in the Old Courthouse beginning January 9.  The Old Courthouse is located at 11 N. 4th Street in downtown St. Louis.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, established in 1935, is comprised of the Gateway Arch, Museum of Westward Expansion, and the Old Courthouse.  This National Park Service area commemorates St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States during the 1800s and honors individuals such as Dred and Harriet Scott who sued for their freedom in the Old Courthouse. 

The Gateway Arch is open daily 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the summer).  The Old Courthouse is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round.  All ranger-led and special museum programs are FREE of charge.  Fees are charged for the tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch and for the films shown in the Gateway Arch visitor center.  For additional information, call 314/655-1700 weekdays, or 7-1-1 Voice/TTY Telecommunications Relay Service.  Visit us at www.nps.gov/jeff.

Did You Know?

Historic Old Courthouse photographed from the corner of 4th and Market

Land for the Historic Old Courthouse was donated in 1816 by Judge John Baptisite Charles Lucas and St. Louis founder Rene Auguste Chouteau. More...