The Hawthorne Act, also referred to as the Hold Your Tongue Act, was a law ratified in 735 that severely limited the use of Power of Persuasion in the Leland Confederacy and set forth ways of handling imperants who abused their enmanity.
The Hawthorne Act was drafted in order to protect non-imperants from being controlled by imperants as they were during the Queendom period. It also alleviated fears of an imperant overthrow of the newly-created confederacy.
Section 1 defines the jurisdiction of the law. It gives complete control to confederate-level governing bodies to enforce or modify imperant-related laws and administer appropriate punishments. It also establishes lines of communication between confederate and provincial law enforcement agencies in order to maintain proper records regarding imperant behavior. Section 2 defines what constitutes legal and illegal use of Persuasion. After being amended in the following centuries, it now also allows for the establishment of licensure programs and the use of legal waivers to permit its use on individuals in specific circumstances. Section 3 defines the punishments for varying levels of Persuasion abuse, up to and including death. Originally, this section outlined very severe punishments with no opportunity for leniency--a reflection of the fear of the time. It has since been amended multiple times to allow Inquisitors to take the circumstances of the abuse into consideration, including the age of the perpetrator, and to reduce the severity of mandatory sentencing.
This law is not only public knowledge, it is one of the few topics mandated at a confederate level to be taught in schools as part of the history and civics curriculums.
In the early days of the Leland Confederacy, the average person was still haunted by the memories of living under the oppressive rule of the Crown and the Golden Noble class. These imperants of authority Commanded with little to no regard for the wellbeing of those affected by their words. Many lost their lives being involuntarily brought into the pwoer struggles between the Golden Noble Houses. Though technically illegal, non-imperants also faced rampant personal violation at the hands of imperants, and many were left to deal with the products of those violations on their own. Non-imperant business owners lost unknowable amounts of money to imperants negotiating in bad faith or simply not paying for services. Despite anti-imperant rioting at the end of the Queendom leading to the mass execution of imperants throughout Leland, essentially driving them to near extinction, there remained a fear that someone from the line of an imperant bastard might attempt to reinstate the monarchy. Early politicians who also feared the return of the imperant monarchy rallied the public around them and rose to prominence through calls to bring about strict bans and harsh punishments for the use of Persuasion.
The Hawthorne Act was one of the very first concerns of the newly formed confederate legislature, on par with the very establishment of the confederacy itself. Marva Hawthorne, hailing from the newly formed, led the committee responsible for drafting the law. In the chaos of the confederacy's early years, it would take some time before an agreement could be reached, and even longer for the act to be ratified by the provincial governments which were also still in their infancies. The last of the provinces to ratify the act was Irocra due to the province's reluctance to join the confederacy and the belief that the punishments laid out in Section 3 were not harsh enough.
The Hawthorne Act remains one of the most fundamental laws supporting the confederacy, though most people will never knowingly come in contact with an imperant in their day-to-day lives due to their rarity. Amendments to the law have come as the fear of a return to the days of the Queendom subsided, but the use of Persuasion remains a hot button issue in many ways. Imperants in modern times feel the act is blatant persecution, punishing them for atrocities committed centuries ago and encouraging others to use imperants as scapegoats for their own misdeeds.