Freedom of Speech as Defined by Law Essay

Freedom of Speech as Defined by Law Essay

Length: 3118 words (8.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

The definition of freedom of speech is the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction. (Morse & Mish, 2012) However, one cannot go about just saying whatever they please. There are in fact limitations to what one can say. Some might say that that is unconstitutional, but is it unconstitutional to prevent people from threatening others or preventing others from incriminating another person’s rights. I think not. The Supreme Court is the judge of whether or not a person has or has not broken the law regarding freedom of speech.
Schenck v. United States
The Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States was argued January 8 thru January 10, 1919. The court case was decided on March 3, 1919. The Court’s decision was a unanimous 9-0 against Schenck, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes; Chief Justice Edward D. White and associative Justices Joseph McKenna, William R. Day, Willis Van Devanter, Mahlon Pitney, James C. McReynolds, Louis Brandeis, and John H. Clarke were all members of the court. The main topic of the case was the violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 and therefore the 1st Amendment as well.
Charles Schenck was strongly against World War I as were many other socialists at the time. As a result of Schenck’s hatred towards the war he mailed thousands of pamphlets to men who could potentially become drafted into the United States Armed Forces. The pamphlets stated that the men should not submit to the draft and the government itself. Schenck declared that the draft was involuntary servitude which is illegal under the 13th Amendment. The pamphlets also urged draftees to sign an anti-draft petition at the So...

... middle of paper ...

...derson, K., Barnes-Svarney, P., Brown, B., Corey, M., Jones, C., Heacock, P., Nolen, A., & Elliot, S. (1998). New york public library desk reference. (3rd ed., p. p.436). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
Baen, D., Simon, F., Saire, T., & Aldorsen, K. (2013, November). Dennis v. united states / casebriefs. Retrieved from
Herrick, A., & Johnson, L. (2013). Tinker v. des moines independent community school district. Retrieved from
Morse, J., & Mish, L. (2012). DOI:
Pearson Prentice Hall. (2012). Pearson prentice hall: Supreme court cases. Retrieved from

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Freedom Of Speech And Expression

- Freedom of Speech and Expression Although we are guaranteed freedom of speech in our fundamental freedoms under section two of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and freedom of expression under section two (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Anti Terrorism Act infringes this right. Much of “political activity, including expression and activism that challenges government policy is and always has been a target of high policing in Canada.” (Larsen, M., 2015) Perhaps the government feels threatened by new ideas and does not want to be challenged....   [tags: Freedom of speech, Censorship, Freedom of thought]

Research Papers
879 words (2.5 pages)

Freedom Of Speech : An Essential Part Of A Democratic Society

- Although freedom of speech is regarded by many as an essential part of a democratic society, there is ongoing debate as to how far this right should extend, and whether it is acceptable to place limitations upon the right on the grounds that the speech could be classified as “hate speech”. Hate speech is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “speech expressing hatred or intolerance of other social groups”. This covers a wide array of language, from racist or homophobic language, through to the publication of unsavoury views such as holocaust denialism....   [tags: Human rights, Democracy, Freedom of speech]

Research Papers
784 words (2.2 pages)

Freedom, Order, And Equality Essay

- Maya Rzajeva Robin Datta 9057 2/06/2016 Freedom, order, and Equality The difficulty associated with democracy is evident in making challenging choices which unavoidably create conflict between critical values of a political system. The three main aims of democratic governments include maintenance of order, provision of basic liberties, and promotion of equality. In pursuance of these goals, governments infringe on the freedom of individuals, however, the level of the infringement depends on the commitment of a specific government to equality and order....   [tags: Democracy, Government, Freedom of speech]

Research Papers
990 words (2.8 pages)

What Does Freedom Of Speech Mean?

- ... In the First Amendment, people may believe there are no limits to freedom of speech; however, people need to recognize that limits do exist, and they can actually limit individuals from freely expressing their thoughts or emotions in written or spoken words. The First Amendment only mentions that the United States government shall not make any law restricting the freedom of speech; the limits are not defined in the amendment itself. Thus, when people don’t see the limitations some of them would assume it don’t exist, but in reality there are censorships for freedom of speech....   [tags: First Amendment to the United States Constitution]

Research Papers
1214 words (3.5 pages)

What Is Speech- How Is It Defined?

- ... The test to determine whether obscenity is present was presented in Miller v. California. The Miller test concludes that work is obscene if: 1) it appeals to the average person 2) displays “hard-core” sexual acts which have been previously classified as per state law in an offensive way 3) lacks scientific, artistic, political, literary, etc. value. The three criteria must exist before the material in question can be deemed obscene. First Amendment permits the states to apply laws regulating the sale of explicit materials minors....   [tags: First Amendment to the United States Constitution]

Research Papers
1603 words (4.6 pages)

Freedom of Expression on the Internet Essay

- I.Introduction This paper addresses whether we should censor or block access to websites with controversial material. It looks at the issue from several sides: The relevant US laws that are in place, how censorship is used at the university and corporate levels, how other countries are attempting censorship, and finally what I feel about the topic. Given all that I have read in preparing this paper, I have come to the conclusion that without a set of globally-accepted rules, we should not be censoring the Internet except where these rules are being broken....   [tags: Freedom of Speech]

Research Papers
3924 words (11.2 pages)

Freedom of Speech and Expression

- On December 15, 1791, Congress adopted the freedom of speech as a constitutional right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as a law to protect all American citizens. The law clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (   [tags: Law, Autonomy, Ethics]

Research Papers
1013 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Freedom of the Press

- Freedom of the Press Although a cherished right of the people, freedom of the press is different from other liberties of the people in that it is both individual and institutional. It applies not just to a single person's right to publish ideas, but also to the right of print and broadcast media to express political views and to cover and publish news. A free press is, therefore, one of the foundations of a democratic society, and as Walter Lippmann, the 20th-century American columnist, wrote, "A free press is not a privilege, but an organic necessity in a great society." Indeed, as society has grown increasingly complex, people rely more and more on newspapers, radio, and television to kee...   [tags: Freedom Rights Media Governmental Essays]

Research Papers
5635 words (16.1 pages)

Freedom of Speech

- Freedom of Speech Freedom of speech is something that, traditionally, has been unique to the United States. In fact, it was one of the founding principles of our country. It was the group of repressed colonists that decided that they would no longer accept the fact that they were not allowed to speak out against the throne. They decided that they would not accept not being able to denounce the Church of England. And on July 4, 1776, what could be seen as one of the boldest forms of speech ever ensured that never again would American's be subject to the harsh regulation of Great Britain....   [tags: Censorship Rights Essays]

Research Papers
2664 words (7.6 pages)

Freedom of Speech

- Freedom of Speech In a society where the media creates stereotypes, showcases imperfect celebrities as role models, and often hurts more than helps the public with its mad rush for ratings, musical expression is an indicator of the times, not a cause of crimes. If Ice-T's violent and degrading song is offensive, it is because the listeners ask for offensive. They want to rebel, to shock the world, and musical artists are more than willing to help them out. The problems of broken homes, misled teens, and a culture too reliant on its own powers and not enough on God are therefore reflected in the type of music it listens to....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
361 words (1 pages)