Early French and German Defenses of Freedom of the Press: Elie Luzac's Essay on Freedom of Expression, 1749 and Carl Friedrich Bahrdt's On Freedom of the Press and Its Limits, 1787 in English Translation
This volume contains English translations of two important early French and German defences of freedom of the press. Almost unknown in the English-speaking world, these texts demonstrate that freedom of the press was an important issue in other parts of Europe in the early modern period, giving rise to articulate theories. Elie Luzac's Essay on Freedom of Expression (1749) defended freedom of the press for atheists on natural law and other grounds. Carl Friedrich Bahrdt's On Freedom of the Press and its Limits (1787) drew on natural law, religious rhetoric, and political journalism to make the case for understanding freedom of the press as a human right. Together, these texts show that the French and German traditions included their own intellectual resources for defending modern rights, before the American Bill of Rights and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man.
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