It’s said, Sam Adams started the Revolution, and he did it with the mighty pen. And since he really didn’t want his name on all his ranting against the crown…he made up all kinds of names for his penname:
Philo Patriae and Paces, Vindex the Avenger, Determinatus, Decant Ara Togae, (weapons are under my cloak!) Principiis Obsta: (principle obstacle) , Valerius Poplicola, Candidus, and Populus. He was also: An American, A Tory, Alfred, A Son of Liberty, A Puritan, and A Religious Politician– among many.
And Sam wasn’t the only one who wanted to remain anonymous.
Benjamin Franklin was Silence Dogood, and Polly Baker and Richard Saunders and Anthony Afterwit, Martha Careful, Alice Addertongue, Celia Shortface, Harry Meanwell, Fanny Mournful, Obadiah Plainman, Busy Body, and Sidi Mehemt Ibrahim.
John Adams was Sui Juris, U, Davila, and Humphrey Ploughjogger…and my personal favorite: Novanglus. (which means New England.)
James Madison was Helvidius and Cato…
After Thomas Paine wrote an anonymous pamphlet criticizing President George Washington‘s policies, John Quincy Adams (John’s son) wrote a series of anonymous articles called “Publicola”, defending the president. They were so well done people assumed his father wrote them.
And I even write under a pen name…Joyanna is a combination of my first name and my grandmother’s name…and Adams is not my married name, but I picked it out of respect to the founding Adams, as I am a direct descendant of that family on my mother’s side.
I really didn’t want anyone to know my married name.
In this country, writing under a pen name, thus remaining anonymous, has been protected by the Supreme Court.
In its 1960 decision in Talley v. California, the Supreme Court ruled that a law forbidding individuals from distributing handbills without identifying their identity unconstitutionally infringed on the First Amendment’s guarantee to free speech. The Court declared:
Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all. . . . Before the Revolutionary War colonial patriots frequently had to conceal their authorship or distribution of literature that easily could have brought down on them prosecutions by English-controlled courts. . . . It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.
SO…what in the world is this new bill being proposed in the Illinois Senate all about?
A new bill proposed in the Illinois State Senate looks to completely wipe out any form of anonymity on the internet by requiring that the operators of basically any website on the entire internet take down any comment that isn’t attached to an IP, address, and real name-verified poster.
It’s called the Internet Posting Removal Act and was introduced on February 13th by Illinois General Assembly veteran Ira I. Silverstein [D]. Not wanting to leave any bases uncovered, Silverstein includes that an “Anonymous Poster” means “any individual who posts a message on a web site including social networks, blogs, forums, message boards, or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.”
If James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were alive and publishing under the false name “Publius” today, they would be prime candidates for prosecution under Virginia’s anti-spam law, and the Internet Posting Removal Act. They would most likely be using the Internet to get their message out to as many fellow citizens as possible. They could be arrested for speaking their minds on important issues of the day.
Clearly, Obama’s government wants to know WHO is writing the essays and blogs against them. Sure, there are some bad people out there spamming, but making it a crime to not sign your real name is not how are country was founded.
It is a right, given to us by our founders. If not for them, we wouldn’t be here.
And I’m sure Alice Addertongue would agree with me 100 percent!