What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.thomas jefferson
Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty, there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.Albert Einstein
At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one's mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.
There is no indication - either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it - that a separate judicial category exists for the American flag alone. ... We decline ... therefore to create for the flag an exception to the joust of principles protected by the First Amendment.
The Administration of Government, is nothing else but the Attendence of the Trustees of the People upon the Interest and Affairs of the People: And as it is the Part and Business of the People, for whole Sake alone all publick Matters are, or ought to be transacted, to see whether they be well or ill transacted, so it is the Interest, and ought to be the Ambition, of all honest Magistrates, to have their Deeds openly examined, and Publickly scann'd[.]
Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well as the Effect of a good Government. In old Rome, all was left to the Judgment and Pleasure of the People, who examined the publick Proceedings with such Discretion, & censured those who administred them with such Equity and Mildness, that in the space of Three Hundred Years, not five publick Ministers suffered unjustly. Indeed whenever the Commons proceeded to Violence, the great Ones had been the Agressors.
There is nothing so fretting and vexatious , nothing so justly TERRIBLE to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a FREE PRESS.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink Half his present repute for the freedom to think, And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak, Will risk t'other half for the freedom to speak.james russell lowell
The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions and ideas become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use.
I realize that, in speaking to you this afternoon, there are certain limitations placed upon the right of free speech. I must be exceedingly careful, prudent, as to what I say, and even more careful and prudent as to how I say it. I may not be able to say all I think; but I am not going to say anything that I do not think.
When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good is better reached by free trade in ideas that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.
Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.
Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.
Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.
[There exists a] profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
The censor is always quick to justify his function in terms that are protective of society. But the First Amendment, written in terms that are absolute, deprives the States of any power to pass on the value, the propriety, or the morality of a particular expression.
The dissemination of the individual's opinions on matters of public interest is for us, in the historic words of the Declaration of Independence, an 'unalienable right' that 'governments are instituted among men to secure.' History shows us that the Founders were not always convinced that unlimited discussion of public issues would be 'for the benefit of all of us' but that they firmly adhered to the proposition that the 'true liberty of the press' permitted 'every man to publish his opinion'.
Prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment Rights.
The Government may not suppress lawful speech as the means to suppress unlawful speech.
Among the principles in place that have seemed to work for us are individual freedom of expression (especially for those whose expression offends us) and a strong individual guarantee of privacy in our First Amendment-protected communications.
In short, individual freedom of speech leads to a stronger society. But knowing that principle is not enough. You have to know how to put it to use on the Net.
Censorship laws are blunt instruments, not sharp scalpels. Once enacted, they are easily misapplied to merely unpopular or only marginally dangerous speech.
Under our First Amendment, a censorship law would have to be written in broad general language and could not be directed at specific religious, ethnic, racial, or political groups. Any such law could be misused by politicians to censor their political enemies or other "undesirable" groups.
Regardless of all of the ways that the media have changed in recent years, one thing that will never go out of style in America is the ability of a free press to keep the public accurately and honestly informed about its government.
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