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. Then, in 1789, our nation's forefathers made it official with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, including the first of ten amendments:
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.1
Ever since, the United States has been a country known, and in some cases hated, for the freedom it promises to its citizens. As we move into the 21st century, not only do we have speech in the form of oral communication, written correspondence, and even physical action, we have the internet - a global network by which people communicate regardless of their geographic location. Today we see the internet as a vast resource which is exploited for its business prospect as well as its entertainment value. However, there is a problem: Bringing the rest of the world on board with the standards of the United States - or perhaps less arrogantly put - bringing the United States on board with the standards practiced by rest of the worl...
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...e only way for everyone across the globe to be able to embrace their individual freedoms while not imposing on the innocent who wish to remain just that - innocent.
1 Harjinder Rahanu, "Freedom of Speech", paper, University of Wolverhampton, 2003/2004, 23.
2 Winchel "Todd" Vincent, III, "Freedom of Speech in Cyberspace: Are You a Criminal?", paper, Georgia State College of Law, 1996, 25.
3 "Freedom of Speech is Not Absolute", editorial, CaymanNetNews.com, 2000, 1
4 P. Bernt Hugenholtz, "Copyright And Freedom Of Expression In Europe", paper, University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law, 2000, 16
5 Sara Baase, A Gift of Fire (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Prentice Hall 2003) 401-420
6 National Coalition Against Censorship, "Internet Free Expression Alliance", paper, National Coalition Against Censorship, 1998, 1
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