How Does The First Amendment Protect Freedom Of Expression Lesson 30
How Does the First Amendment Protect Freedom of Expression? By Andy Blumer, Luke Patton, Brian Schick, Nick Frankovich, Kara Meyers
Libel Ruining other peoples reputations by knowingly spreading lies about them. Other examples include giving away national security secrets and lying under oath.
Clear and Present Danger The courts have upheld laws prohibiting speech or writings that present a clear and present danger to others or to society.
Sedition Act of 1798 This act, passed by some of the same people who approved the Bill of Rights, indicates that some Americans still had a narrow view of free expression.
Seditious Libel This law made it a crime to publish anything that might be injurious to the reputation of the government .
Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions They govern when, where, and how you may speak, not what you may say
How did the trial of John Peter Zenger help establish freedom of the press? Zenger published something that he thought was true. The Jury found him not guilty because the information he reported in the article was true. Many Americans believed that this case not only established an important right of freedom of the press, but also proved the importance of the jury as a check on arbitrary government.
Why is protecting the right to freedom of expression important ? <ul><li>Freedom of expression promotes individual growth and human dignity- The right to think about and arrive at your own conclusions concerning mortality, politics, or anything else, is a part of individual freedom. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of expression is important for the advancement of knowledge- New ideas are more likely to be developed in a community that allow free discussions. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of expression is a necessary part of our representative government- In our system of government, the government responds to the will of the people. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of expression is vital to bringing about peaceful social change- The right to express one’s ideas freely provides a “safety valve” for strongly held opinions. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of expression is essential for the protection of all individual rights- The free expression of ideas and the right to speak against the violation of one’s rights by others or by the government are essential for the protection of all the other rights of the individual. </li></ul>
How was freedom of expression protected in early America? <ul><li>Many ideas about the importance of freedom of speech and of the press were brought to America from England. </li></ul><ul><li>In the seventeenth century, the English won the right to speak and publish without prior censorship. </li></ul><ul><li>The English could still be prosecuted for what they said and wrote, under the common law of seditious libel. </li></ul><ul><li>This law (seditious libel) made it a crime to publish anything that might be injurious to the reputation of the government. </li></ul>
<ul><li>There is no indication that the Framers intended the Constitution or the Bill of Rights to prevent prosecution for Seditious Libel. </li></ul><ul><li>The common view, in both America and Britain, was that no one should be able to make false or malicious accusations against the government. </li></ul><ul><li>The Constitution makes no mention of free press, however, because the Framers believed, as Roger Sherman of Connecticut declared, “The power of Congress does not extend to the Press.” </li></ul><ul><li>The first Amendment was designed to quiet fears that Congress might interfere with the press. These fears seemed to be confirmed by the passage of the Sedition Act in 1798. </li></ul><ul><li>This act, passed by some of the same people who approved the Bill of Rights, indicates that some Americans still had a narrow view of free expression. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1800, freedom of speech and press were beginning to be considered an essential part of free government. </li></ul>
What considerations has the Supreme Court used to limit freedom of expression? The big question for the court to decide is if freedom of expression should be limited to social groups. Neutrality is important also , for the has taken the position that no idea no matter how dangerous or obnoxious the idea is it will be heard. In court speech is limited depending on the content. The court has developed laws balancing the rights to free expression because it may cause public safety. No has the right to publish secret military information, or the names of U.S. intelligence agents overseas
Does the First Amendment protect all forms of expression? Courts have upheld laws prohibiting speech or writings that present a clear and present danger. Judges and Scholars have argued that the authors of the first amendment did not intend it to protect all kinds of speech and press. The Supreme court has shown that in a series of decisions has made it increasingly difficult to determine what is obscene. Commercial speech such as advertising receives less protection by the courts.
When has Freedom of Expression Been Suppressed? <ul><li>Before the Civil War, Congress made it a federal offense to send abolitionist literature by mail. </li></ul><ul><li>From World War I through the McCarthy era, of the 1950’s, state and federal governments prosecuted many suspected anarchists, socialists, and communists for advocating draft resistance, mass strikes, or overthrow the government. </li></ul>
What are Commonly Accepted Limitations on Freedom of Expression? <ul><li>Although the First Amendment states that there should be no laws abridging the freedom of speech, Freedom of speech is still limited. </li></ul><ul><li>You can express yourself through speech, but it is limited to certain standards and rules. </li></ul><ul><li>If you could have freedom of speech whenever, then people could lie in court, deprive others the right to a fair trial, and even give political speeches in the middle of church sermons. </li></ul>