The First Amendment, freedom of speech: its constitutional history and the contemporary debate

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Prometheus Books, 2009 - Law - 304 pages
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Burning the American flag to protest an "unjust" war, wearing a T-shirt displaying obscenities, blocking access to an abortion clinic, displaying works of art that are condemned as "offensive," offering huge corporate donations to political campaigns, shouting hateful or denigrating statements, producing pornography-are these protected forms of free speech or actions that society has the power to prohibit? What did the founders of our democracy have in mind when they crafted that portion of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech, and how has our understanding of this cherished freedom evolved over the years? At a time when America is trying to encourage democracy abroad and preserve it at home against a backdrop of intense national security concerns, understanding the origins and intricacies of freedom of speech is more crucial than ever. Whether you're interested in examining how law impacts society, appreciating the social and political consequences of major legal decisions, or simply hoping to better understand the basics of American self-government, the themes, values, conflicts, and proposed resolutions surrounding our coveted freedom of speech offer a spring-board for further vital discussion.

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Series Editors Preface
Commentaries on the Laws of England
An Inquiry into the Foundations

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