America’s Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, believed so strongly in the right to free speech that they wrote it in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states in part, “Congress shall make no law restricting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the rights of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This right was considered so important it was the first of the ten freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights. Since 1920, the ACLU has worked to preserve our freedom of speech.
Imagine a time when one could be fined, imprisoned and even killed for just simply speaking one’s mind. Speech is the basic vehicle for communication of beliefs, thoughts and ideas, that people can speak freely without being stopped, or censored. With varying opinions and beliefs, our society needs to have unlimited freedom to speak about any and everything that concerns us in order to continually improve our society. The United States First Amendment states that people have the right for absolute freedom of speech, which raises concern for when freedom of speech should be limited. It protects the freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression is made up of the right of freedom of speech; press; assembly; the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances; and the implied right of association and belief. This right is not restricted to the spoken word but encompasses other mediums of expression that communicate information known generally as “symbolic speech.” People are not using their right to free speech because they feel as if they cannot. This is not the case, just because there is a major conflict doesn’t mean they cannot let their voice be heard. Being able to speak is very important. Without the right to speak one’s mind... [continues]
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