First Amendment: Banned BooksPresentation Transcript
Free Speech Banned Books
The First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting 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 peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Origins of The First Amendment The founding father most concerned with free speech and free religious exercise was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson convinced James Madison to propose the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment was Jefferson's top priority.
On Your Own What freedoms are protected by the First Amendment? 1. 2. 3. 4.
Should What We Read Ever Be Limited? Class discussion: For adults? For children (anyone under 18)? In school? In public? Material that is indecent or obscene? Who should get to decide? On your own: Answer the question above.
Case Study: Lady Chatterley’s Lover In 1957, Roth v. United States – (a Supreme Court case involving a bookseller who sent erotic literature through the mail) ruled that the First Amendment did NOT apply to obscenity. In 1959, Mr. Rosset (owner of Grove Press) sued the U.S. Post Office for confiscating copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence. He won.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover Of the 1957 Roth case, Justice William Brennan noted that the First Amendment’s purpose was to “assure an unfettered interchange of ideas” and that “all ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance – unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion – have the full protection of the guarantees.”
Obscene, but Socially Important?
The Importance of Theme Rembar argued that although sections Lady Chatterley’s Lover might be considered obscene by some, it still had social merit because it was “a novel of ideas that inveighed against sex without love, the mechanization of industrial life and morbid hypocrisy.”
Obscenity Law When the Supreme Court codified obscenity law in Miller v. California (1972), it established that a work could not be classified as obscene unless it could be demonstrated that "taken as a whole, (it) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
What’s This Got To Do With My Book? Banning a book is a denial of First Amendment rights. But children, above all, are protected by the laws of our country. So, where does that leave your book? Should it be banned? And, how will you MAKE YOUR CASE (in writing)?
Works Cited Head, By Tom. "First Amendment - The Text, Origins, and Meaning of the First Amendment." Civil Liberties at About.com - Your Guide to Civil Liberties News and Issues. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://civilliberty.about.com/od/firstamendment/tp/First-Amendment.htm>. Kaplan, Fred. "The Day Obscenity Became Art." Nytimes.com. The New York Times, 21 July 2009. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/opinion/21kaplan.html>. "Lady Chatterley's Lover." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley's_Lover>.