Freedom of Speech in America and Its Limits Essay

Freedom of Speech in America and Its Limits Essay

Length: 2410 words (6.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview


Like most democratic nations in the world, the United States has had its own fair share of issues with hate speech. There has been a lot of controversy over whether hate speech should be regulated. In analyzing the concept of free speech, one cannot ignore that it does not occur in a vacuum. There have been all types of debasements ranging from ethnic, religious, racial and gendered stereotyping. Freedom of speech inherently includes all other fundamental human rights. Hence, as acknowledged through natural rights, other rights and personhood should adamantly be included within this scope of this protection. Hate speech is a limit on free speech, as it not only puts the victim under deliberate psychological and physical harm, but also silences them, and hence to prevent hate speech one needs to foster free speech.
Freedom of Speech is a human right. It is an extension of our autonomous nature and action. Free speech is about everyone having a level platform, not privileging any one voice above others. It is a right for everyone, not only those who have the loudest voices or sound most eloquent but a freedom to which all should have access. It means that everyone is given an equal weight when getting their ideas across. The point of free speech in a democracy is to allow progress and give citizens an opportunity to question authorities in ways that benefit society. Dissent is welcome in free speech; there is no wrong answer in the way one expresses oneself, as long as one does not bridge others’ rights to do the same. When addressing issues of hate speech, the right to insult someone is not what is in question. It is the fact that hate speech silences the others showing obvious disempowerment of the other in ways that they cou...


... middle of paper ...


...First Amendment. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1993.

Bleich, Erik. "Freedom of Expression versus Racist Hate Speech: Explaining Differences Between High Court Regulations in the USA and Europe." Journal Of Ethnic & Migration Studies40, no. 2 (February 2014): 283-300.

Jacobs, James B., and Kimberly Potter. Hate crimes: criminal law & identity politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Heumann, Milton, Thomas W. Church, and David P. Redlawsk. Hate speech on campus: cases, case studies, and commentary. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997.

Lawrence, Frederick M. Punishing hate: bias crimes under American law. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Matas, David. Bloody words: hate and free speech. Winnipeg: Bain & Cox, Publishers, 2000.

Tedford, Thomas L. Freedom of speech in the United States. New York: Random House, 1985.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Freedom In America

- America is the universal symbol of freedom. But is it really free. Does the history of the United States stay true to the ideas of our forefathers. Or has the definition been altered to fit American policies. Has freedom defined America. Or has America defined freedom. I believe America was at first defined by freedom, then after time, America defined freedom, altering the definition to fit the niche it fits in, but still keeping key components so it still seems to be staying true to the ideas of America’s founding fathers....   [tags: Defining Freedom in America]

Term Papers
891 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Liberty of Freedom

- The Limits of Freedom Liberty is the state of being free, to be able to speak and say anything freely. Liberty was not absolute for everybody. Back then and even today people still don’t have complete liberty in America. The early Americans put limits on freedom even when they were trying to create more freedom. They type of limits that the early Americans put on freedom were limits on freedom of speech, and much more. Even with the American Revolution, it was not for everybody. The American Revolution was only for the colonist and men, but over time the idea of liberty and equality became for everyone....   [tags: Liberty, Freedom of Speech, American History]

Term Papers
1658 words (4.7 pages)

The Importance of Rhetoric and Discussion of Freedom of Speech

- In the essays, “In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected” by Jonathan Rauch and “The Debate over Placing Limits on Racist Speech Must Not Ignore the Damage It Does to Its Victims” by Charles R. Lawrence III, the writers express their beliefs on the topic of freedom of speech and prejudice speech; particularly racist. As far as any benefits of prejudice speech go, the two writers thoroughly disagree. Lawrence believes that there are no benefits of prejudice speech and it should not be included in what America’s “freedom of speech” entails, because of its effect on minorities as he writes, “Whenever we decide that racist speech must be tolerated because of the importanc...   [tags: prejudice speech,racist speech,jonathan rauch]

Term Papers
1396 words (4 pages)

Arguments Against Freedom Of Expression Essay

- ... The People’s Republic of China, a country that is neither a republic or true representative of the People, regularly cracks down on those who speak against the autocratic nature of the government. In just recent months the government has pushed hard against expat writers speaking against the PRC, going as far as to secretly kidnap authors from other countries, return them to China, and jail them without trial. As the PRC forces citizens to figuratively lock away non-conformist notions in their mind, the PRC literally locks away citizens who refuse to do so....   [tags: Democracy, Freedom of speech, Hate speech]

Term Papers
1053 words (3 pages)

America's Decline of Freedom of Speech

- A Burmese comedian by the name of Zarganar was sentenced to 35 years for violating the Electronics Acts in 2008. Afterwards, Zarganar received an additional 14 years for supporting destructive acts against the state. Even though he was arrested and sentenced for violating the Electronics Acts and Video Acts, his only real crime was openly criticizing the Burmese government's handling of a past incident (Farrington 66). The Burmese government and others like it are the types of governments our nation's founders separated from and protested against....   [tags: Government, Rights, Censorship]

Term Papers
1492 words (4.3 pages)

Losing Free Speech

- “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These words were spoken by François-Marie Arouet, more well known by his pen name, Voltaire (Quotes About Censorship, #36). A French philosopher from the seventeen hundreds, Voltaire is believed to have influenced the Founding Fathers of America. As a matter of fact, this quote makes up the backbone of the First Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, which states: 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...   [tags: Freedom of Speech]

Term Papers
1823 words (5.2 pages)

Freedom Of Speech And Speech

- Everyone in the United States according to the US Constitution has freedom of speech and is allowed to be vocal on their thoughts and ideas. Having the constitutional right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without having to worry about any censorship or the government getting involved in most instances, all fall under a part of the First Amendment in the United States. This part allows each citizen to have the right to freedom of speech and expression. Not only is this freedom a part of the Constitution of the United States, but it makes up everyday life by allowing each and every one to be diverse in their own unique way....   [tags: United States Constitution, United States]

Term Papers
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Censorship and Freedom of Speech

- Censorship may be protection from inappropriate materials, but it also limits free speech. For the limitation of free speech, it is reasonable why people are emphatically against censorship. It is understood that there is a need to filter some of the materials released in today’s society, but too much is being done by people who have no right meddling with everyone’s rights. Civilization has always been plagued by a never ending battle being fought over what is deemed right and wrong. In today’s culture, censorship oppresses everything in the media....   [tags: American Constitution, Bill of Rights]

Term Papers
666 words (1.9 pages)

Freedom Of Speech On Social Media

- America is famous for its freedom. Freedom of speech is one of the most wonderful freedoms that Americans are enjoying. This human right is protected by the First Amendment. People should feel free to express their opinions, feelings, and wishes. However, it is the fact that not all of nations are free as much as America. Free speech is different in each country. Vietnam is on opposite side with America. Vietnamese people have limits on their speech; in another word, this nation does not have free speech....   [tags: Human rights]

Term Papers
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Freedom of Speech

- Imagine a time when one could be fined, imprisoned and even killed for simply speaking one’s mind. Speech is the basic vehicle for communication of beliefs, thoughts and ideas. Without the right to speak one’s mind freely one would be forced to agree with everything society stated. With freedom of speech one’s own ideas can be expressed freely and the follower’s belief will be stronger. The words sound so simple, but without them the world would be a very different place. Without the right to speak freely one would not be able to debt, nor would one be able to receive full coverage on world issues....   [tags: First Amendment Essays]

Term Papers
1581 words (4.5 pages)