Freedom Of Expression

Essay by Amir AhmedA-, August 1995

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Freedom of Expression

No other democratic society in the world permits personal freedoms to the degree of the United States of America. Within the last sixty years, American courts, especially the Supreme Court, have developed a set of legal doctrines that thoroughly protect all forms of the freedom of expression. When it comes to evaluating the degree to which we take advantage of the opportunity to express our opinions, some members of society may be guilty of violating the bounds of the First Amendment by publicly offending others through obscenity or racism. Americans have developed a distinct disposition toward the freedom of expression throughout history.

The First Amendment clearly voices a great American respect toward the freedom of religion. It also prevents the government from 'abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'1

Since the early history of our country, the protection of basic freedoms has been of the utmost importance to Americans.

In Langston Hughes' poem, 'Freedom,' he emphasizes the struggle to enjoy the freedoms that he knows are rightfully his. He reflects the American desire for freedom now when he says, 'I do not need my freedom when I'm dead. I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.'2 He recognizes the need for freedom in its entirety without compromise or fear.

I think Langston Hughes captures the essence of the American immigrants' quest for freedom in his poem, 'Freedom's Plow.' He accurately describes American's as arriving with nothing but dreams and building America with the hopes of finding greater freedom or freedom for the first time. He depicts how people of all backgrounds worked together for one cause: freedom.3

I selected Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as a fictitious example...