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Impact of Federalism on Free Speech | Proposal

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 1119 words Published: 3rd Jul 2018

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Thesis statement: 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.


  • Freedom of Speech is not as free
  • The Bill of Rights was established in 1789.
  • Answer the questions: How does Federalism affect really affect freedom of speech? Are Americans really free to speak what they think?
  • Discuss the positive impacts of federalism, civil rights, and civil liberties whether it is positive or negative on freedom of speech.

Main Point 1: Positive and Negative impacts of federalism on Freedom of speech.

  • Looking at freedom of speech in a positive light it is a gift to all Americans. To be able to have the ability to speak freely without the burden of consequences and punishment is something not even the rest of the world has the ability to do.
  • One positive impact of federalism regarding freedom of speech is Democracy.
    • “Freedom of Speech is seen as a basic right that many consider fundamental to the continued health and well-being of a democracy.” (Editor, 2015).
      • Freedom of speech is an important foundation for democracy.
  • A negative aspect of federalism regarding freedom of speech is the fact that there have been restrictions placed on freedom of speech by the government that bring the question of whether or not it is a violation of our basic constitutional rights and whether or not there is actually true freedom of speech.
    • people who send threats to elected officials in the government can be tried and punished for their “protected rights” to say what they think (Editor, 2015)
    • “In some situations, speech can even constitute a crime, such as in the case of criminal threats. A criminal threat, sometimes known as the terrorist threat, malicious harassment, or by other terms, occurs when someone threatens to kill or physically harm someone else.” (Theoharis, 2016).
      • Depending on what you say it can be punishable by law. This is not total freedom of speech.
        • These quotes are important facts because it weighs the impacts of federalism on society.

Main Point 2: Positive and Negative impacts of civil rights on freedom of speech.

  • Freedom of speech played an important positive role in the civil rights movement of the 1950’s
    • “The First Amendment played a crucial role in the epic struggles of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others engaged in sit-ins, protests, marches and other demonstrations to force social change.” (Hudson, 2002)
      • Freedom of speech allowed protesters of this time to speak up on injustices and civil rights violation.
  • Civil rights have a negative effect on freedom of speech through the extremists who over express their distaste on matters they “believe” is in direct violation of their civil rights.
    • “The number of hate groups operating in the United States soared in 2015, according to a recently released report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist activity.” (Kaplan, 2016)
      • The rise in extremist activity due to the confederate flag issue and police brutality have had a direct impact on how people use their freedom of speech to fight the “belief” that civil rights are being violated.

Main Point 3: Positive and Negative impacts of Civil liberties on freedom of speech

  • Freedom of expression is a crucial civil liberty given to Americans that positively impact their social environment.
    • “The Freedom of Speech allows you the protected right to let others know what you think. From minor to major points, the Freedom of Speech will mean that even if people do not like what you say, you can still say it without risking fines and even jail time.”
      • People have the right to express themselves when it comes to all kinds of avenues.
  • One negative impact of civil liberties on freedom of speech is the fact that although freedom of expression is beneficial to the social environment it is limited by the government as well.
    • “In 1912, feminist Margaret Sanger was arrested for giving a lecture on birth control.” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2016)
      • Although people may take certain standpoints based on their beliefs, their right to express those beliefs have not always been allowed.


  • Freedom of speech is not totally free, as seen in federalism, civil liberties, and civil rights, there is always a stipulation or limit to what we can say and when we can say it.


American Civil Liberties Union. (2016). Freedom of Expression. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/freedom-expression-0

Editor, C. (2015, June 28). 5 Essential Pros and Cons of Freedom of Speech. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from NLCATP: http://nlcatp.org/5-essential-pros-and-cons-of-freedom-of-speech/

Hudson, D. L. (2002, September 16). Civil rights & First Amendment. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from Assembly Reaseach, Freedom of Assembly: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/civil-rights-first-amendment

Kaplan, M. (2016, February 2). US Hate Groups Rise In 2015: Immigration, Black Lives Matter, Confederate Flag Debates Fuel Extremism, Report Finds. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/us-hate-groups-rise-2015-immigration-black-lives-matter-confederate-flag-debates-fuel-2310645

Theoharis, M. (2016). Criminal Threats. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from Nolo: http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/criminal-threats.htm


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