Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2010 - History - 221 pages
26 Reviews
More than any other people on earth, Americans are free to say and write what they think. The media can air the secrets of the White House, the boardroom, or the bedroom with little fear of punishment or penalty. The reason for this extraordinary freedom is not a superior culture of tolerance, but just fourteen words in our most fundamental legal document: the free expression clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution. In this book, the story of how the right of free expression evolved along with our nation makes a compelling case for the adaptability of our constitution. Although Americans have gleefully and sometimes outrageously exercised their right to free speech since before the nation's founding, the Supreme Court did not begin to recognize this right until 1919. Freedom of speech and the press as we know it today is surprisingly recent. The author tells us how these rights were created, revealing a story of hard choices, heroic (and some less heroic) judges, and fascinating and eccentric defendants who forced the legal system to come face-to-face with one of America's great founding ideas.
 

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Review: Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

A very good introduction to the history of free speech. Read full review

Review: Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment

User Review  - Harry Steinmetz - Goodreads

It's like having a conversation with a very smart person. It's. It hard to read, but you are going to get lost on occasion. An excellent history of the First Amendment. You will be shocked how ... Read full review

Contents

Beginnings
1
Odious or Contemptible
11
As All Life Is an Experiment
23
Defining Freedom
39
Freedom and Privacy
59
A Press Privilege?
81
Fear Itself
101
Anothers Lyric
131
Vagabonds and Outlaws
143
Thoughts That We Hate
157
Balancing Interests
169
Freedom of Thought
183
Acknowledgments
191
Notes
197
Index
209
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Lewis was a columnist for the New York Times op-ed page from 1969 through 2001. In addition to his long and distinguished career with the Times, Mr. Lewis has been a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and a visiting professor at the Universities of California, Illinois, Oregon, and Arizona, and, since 1983, the James Madison Visiting Professor at Columbia University. His previous books are Gideon's Trumpet and Make No Law. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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