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American Constitution and Freedom of Speech

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 961 words Published: 26th Jul 2018

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THESIS: Throughout the years, the legislatures assurance of the right to speak freely has been giving Americans voices and the privilege to be heard without dread of discipline, be that as it may, the right to speak freely simply like anything can be mishandled and used to damage individuals, not simply in federalism but rather through common freedoms and social equality too.

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I. Introduction

The First Amendments of the U.S. Constitution awards us the privilege to free discourse and expresses that Congress should make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. The aim behind the Constitution was to permit people the privilege to completely communicate without laws ruining them; the Framers of the Constitution made laws that have progressed since 1797. The right to speak freely has favored this country that awards us a voice to vote on laws affected by the American government.

II. Main Point 1: Identify implications for federalism related to the topic

1. One positive effect of federalism on free discourse is that the Constitution’s assurance of the right to speak freely applies similarly to laws received by the federal, state, and local governments. In treating every division in an unexpected way, Justice Harlan contended that state speech limitations be given more breathing space than federal ones.

2. One negative impact of federalism on free speech is that we cannot always trust the government when it comes to dealing with our individual rights. Those in charge will often take advantage, often putting that federal laws above the local and state laws in the hopes that federals will long outlive the state and local laws.

3. One scholarly source that supports the topic sentence:

In an article written by Adam Winkler about a study that was done, “the study finds that speech-restrictive laws adopted by the federal government are far more likely to be upheld than similar laws adopted by state and local governments. Courts applying strict scrutiny in free speech cases upheld federal speech laws in 56% of cases, state speech laws in 24% of cases, and local speech laws in a remarkably low 3% of cases.”

III. Main Point 2: Identify implications for civil rights to the related topic

1. One positive impact on the civil rights that was brought about by free speech was the civil rights movement of the 20th century which started in 1954 and carried on well into 1968. This was could be considered a social movement as well since it not only created new civil rights laws but also equality laws.

2. One negative impact of civil rights movement brought about the rise of hate groups that were determined to stop those in the black community who now had found a platform to voice all the injustices that were placed on them by those in power, the whites.

3. One scholarly source that supports the topic sentence:

“The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is the most prominent hate-based organization in American history. Founded in the aftermath of the Civil War as a whimsical social club, the Klan quickly transformed into a terrorist organization aimed at subjugating newly freed blacks and driving out moderate whites that attempted to improve the plight of Freedmen in the Reconstruction South.” (Freyer & Levitt, 2011)

IV. Main Point 3: Identify implications for civil liberties related to free speech

  1. One positive impact on the civil liberties associated with free speech is that it brought about the Amendments which gave us the right to free speech, to vote, to marry whomever we chose, and unreasonable searches of your home and the right to a speedy trial to name a few
  2. One negative impact on the civil liberties associated with free is the fact that speech isn’t really free. Many were arrested for simply speaking about things such as the war or abortion.
  3. One scholarly source that supports this topic sentence:

“In this Article, Professor Curtis explores the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and the contention that other constitutional values must supersede this guarantee during a time of war” (Curtis, 1998)

V. Conclusion

Our Constitutional rights are essential to everyone. The battles Americans underwent from the framers coming together and writing the Constitution, permitting individuals to have a voice as long as no harm was done, to the Civil rights movement where the black community fought for equality, not only for themselves but also for other minorities all while dealing with white hate groups and to the 20th century where in the after the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist acts, the Patriot Act was signed into law by then President George Bush. This act violated both the First and Fourth Amendments. Free speech and free from seizures and unwarranted searches. An individual’s free speech must not be infringed upon to satisfy another’s curiosity because it is unconstitutional.


Adam Winkler, Free Speech Federalism, 108 Mich. L. Rev. 153 (2009). Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol108/iss2/1

Fryer R, Levitt S. Hatred and Profits: Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 2012;127 (4) :1883-1925.

Michael Kent Curtis, Lincoln, Vallandingham, and Anti-War Speech in the Civil War. Retrieved from scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1428&context=wmborj


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