American government Unit 5
Lesson 29pages 207-214 How does the 1st Amendment protect free expression? • Objective: Explain the importance of freedom of expression to both the individual and society and its historical significance. Explain considerations useful in deciding when the government should be able to place limits on freedom of speech and the press and be able to evaluate, take and defend positions on issues invoking the right to freedom of expression.
Why is protecting the right to freedom of expression important? • Founders knew from their own experiences and history that speech, writing, publishing must be protected from government interference. • Danger also is encountered when majorities are intolerant of minority opinions.
Why is protecting the right to freedom on expression important? Benefits of Free Speech: • Promotes individual growth and human dignity. • Forming your own opinion and then not be able to discuss it would be meaningless. • Important for the advancement of knowledge. • New ideas are more likely when there is freedom on discussion. • Necessary part of representative government. • Instruction from “the will of the people. • Access to information • Crucial to determining and monitoring policy • Vital to bringing about peaceful social change. • Safety value for strongly held opinion • Influence opinions- persuasion- no violence • Essential for protection of all individual rights. • Express ideas and speak out against violations.
How was freedom of expression protected in early America? • 17th century- English won the right to speak and publish without prior censorship. • Seditious libel- injure the reputation of the government • Libel- written against an individual • False and malicious accusations
How did the trial of John Peter Zenger help establish freedom of the Press? • Charged with seditious libel in 1735 • What he said was true. • Found not guilty. • Established the importance of freedom of press, but also a jury check on arbitrary government.
When has freedom of expression been suppressed? • War • Government feels threated. • Before Civil War- Congress outlawed abolitionist literature through the mail. • 1st half of 20th century- because of fear of communism many were prosecuted, anarchists, socialist and communists. • Since 1960s- few attempts to persecute unpopular beliefs.
What are commonly accepted limitations on freedom of expression? • NO Limits= we’d have: • People lying in court • Deny right of fair trails • Screaming in libraries • Political speech in the middle of church sermons • Speech on loudspeakers in the middle of the night. • So limits are good. • Liberty is not a license to do anything one pleases. • Limiting speech may increase a person’s ability to be heard.
How may government limit expression? • 1. Laws may not discriminate unfairly on the basis of the content of the expression or the speaker. • Letting on religious group pass out literature and not let another group do so • Can’t single out unpopular views. • Can’t publish military secrets.
How may government limit expression? • 2. Time, Place and Manner restrictions: • These restrictions must be content neutral. • Where, when and how restrictions are okay.
How may government limit expression? • 3. Regulations on expression cannot be vague. • What’s permitted and what’s forbidden must be clearly defined. • 4. Regulations must not be overly broad and must be implemented by “least restrictive means”. • Banning all political speech is too broad.
How do wars and emergencies affect free speech and press? • Limits on speech and press to protect the government. • 1969- Brandenburg v. Ohio: • “Brandenburg Test” • Supreme Court was more tolerant of provocative, inflammatory speech. • “State cannot forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation unless inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
How do wars and emergencies affect free speech and press? • Terrorist attacks of 2001 have cause public debate about Brandenburg being too lenient in times of war and emergency.
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