Freedom of Speech

Essay by guesswho79University, Bachelor'sA, July 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution guarantees four freedoms: freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791. Since that time, those freedoms have been discussed, debated, fought and died for. Since that time, millions of immigrants have come to America to secure those freedoms. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. They believed in the power of ideas and debate, not censorship.

In all truth, our forefathers were pioneers into our freedom of speech. The Revolutionary War took place in pursuit of the freedoms written about by colonial politicians. The monarch's in England were ultimately unable to do anything to diminish the use of free speech (Armstrong, 26) Overtime; this amendment has been tested in many ways. The "freedom of speech" later covered not just "speech" but also television, newspapers, the arts, and literature.

In its early existence, many felt it was written by and for upper- class white men. United States history tells the stories of the many demonstrations, battles, and wars fought to ensure that the document protects and works for all citizens.

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"(Constitution, 1st amendment). This Amendment was written by the constitutions framers because they believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society But historically, at times of national stress -- real or imagined -- First Amendment rights come under enormous pressure. During the "Red Scare" of the early 1920s, thousands were deported for their political views. During the McCarthy period, the infamous blacklist ruined lives and careers. Today, the creators, producers and distributors...