Freedom of Speech

Essay by Smith2028University, Bachelor'sB+, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Prior to the Radification of the Constitution of the United States, the largest argument opposing the ratification had its roots in basic civil liberties and rights. The controversy stemed over the lack s a listing of what the people are entitled to against government. The Bill of Rights was agreed upon and the ratification of the Constitution followed. The Bill of Rights, also the first 10 amendments to our Constitution, protect many of the liberties Americans take for granted today. The right to freedom of Religion, freedom of the press, and freedom to Assemble. The Right to bear arms, the right against self-incrimination and double jeopordy, and the right to a speedy trial are just a few. One of the most important, and most basic rights of this document is the Right to free speech. Under the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law repecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble and to peition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The origin of the First Amendment was undoubtedly a reaction against the restraint of speech and of the press that existed in English society. Until 1694, England had an elaborate system of licensing, no publication was allowed with-out the accompaniment of a government-granted license. William Blackstone wrote in his famous commentaries on the law that "the liberty of the press consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted...