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State Historical Society of Iowa

Revocation of Babel Proclamation, December 4, 1918

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Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, 4 December 1918


The Babel Proclamation was issued by Iowa's Governor William L. Harding. He took the anti-German sentiment in the wake of World War I further than any other state, and he proclaimed that "Only English was legal in public or private schools, in public conversations, on trains, over the telephone, at all meetings and in all religious services." This document source is the revocation from Harding that removed executive order from the provisions of the "Babel Proclamation," but upheld the use of English only in classrooms. A revocation is the official cancellation of a decree, decision or promise. 

Transcript of Revocation of Babel Proclamation

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What portion of the initial proclamation was not revoked? Using evidence from the source, why was this portion allowed to stand?
  • Compare the Babel Proclamation to the Revocation. Using evidence from both documents, how did Governor Harding characterize immigrants?