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9.4: Free Speech
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- Define the concept of free speech and discuss its origins.
- Discuss the First Amendment to the US Constitution in terms of free speech.
- Describe how free speech relates to other freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
What Is Free Speech?
The First Amendment to the Constitution
- Freedom of speech is the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations.
- Free speech helps us to enact other freedoms protected by the First Amendment, including freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. Without free speech, we would not be able to assemble in groups to publically debate and challenge government policies or laws. Without free speech, we would not be able to exercise our rights to express our religious views even when they are at odds with popular opinion.
- What are your campus’s internal codes on speech and free speech? Do you have free speech areas on campus? If so, how are they used and regulated?
- Some college campuses have experienced controversy in recent years when they invited speakers such as Ward Churchill or those who deny that the Holocaust occurred to campus. Discuss in a small group how these controversies reflect the importance of free speech in our society.