The State of New York passed a statute that prohibited the written or verbal advocacy of criminal anarchy, which is a doctrine advocating overthrowing the government through force or violence. Gitlow (defendant), a socialist, was arrested for distributing copies of a left-wing manifesto that called for the establishment of Socialism in America through mass political strikes and revolutionary mass action of any kind. At trial, Gitlow argued that since there was no conduct incited by the publication and distribution of the manifesto, his speech constituted mere utterances that did not present a clear and present danger to the United States government. Gitlow was nevertheless convicted. He then challenged his conviction against the State of New York (plaintiff) on the grounds that the state’s criminal anarchy statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.