Research question: What are the limitations of free speech?
Claim: Free speech is a right granted to all citizens but does that mean its okay to say
whatever you please?
Reason 1: While many people believe they can just say what they must because it’s
their right to do so doesn’t mean it’s right for them to. Many newspapers and magazines
come up with fake news so would that count as free speech? It wouldn’t because you
can’t bash a person for something that isn’t true so really you don’t have complete
freedom of speech. It is called defamation if there are false statements made that would
harm someone’s reputation.
Evidence: “ Freedom of speech does not permit someone to make a false
statement about another person that could damage his or her reputation. This
applies to the spoken word, which is called slander, as well as libel, which is
defamation in print. Making these false statements must also be done with the
intent to harm another. In one of the most important libel cases in the U.S., a
police commissioner in Montgomery, Alabama, L.B. Sullivan sued the “New York
Times” for making inaccurate statements about the police department. The
Supreme Court ruled that the newspaper did not commit libel because the
statements were a mistake, not intentional, and that it could be more difficult to
debate public issues if those who work in the public can sue anytime a false
statement is made.”
“The First Amendment and Limits on American Freedom of Speech.” BrightHub
Education , 30 Jan. 2011,
Reason 2: Saying something that is endangering others and could cause dispute with
other countries is not protected by the first amendment. For example, saying there’s
emitie danger like a bomb or shooter is not protected under the first adment. Because
others could get hurt while trying to run away and may sue the person who falsely said
that you wouldn’t be protected in court.
Evidence: Americans are not free to make false statements that could cause
panic or place others in danger. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1919, in the
Supreme Court’s ruling in Schenck versus the United States, that there are times,
particularly in times of war, when the government must restrict speech to protect the
safety of the country and its citizens. In this case, the court unanimously ruled that
Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer did not have the right to distribute leaflets
encouraging Americans to avoid the draft. It is within this ruling that Holmes wrote his
often-quoted phrase about the First Amendment not protecting “a man in falsely
shouting fire in a theatre and causing panic.” Creating a clear and present danger is not
a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.
Reason 3: While many americans use obscene language these days there’s a time and
place for everything. It would not be right to use a slur against someone that that slur
targets. They could decide to sue for multiple reasons and you would not be protected.
Evidence: In 1973 in Miller vs. California, the Supreme Court ruled 5 – 4 that the
First Amendment does not protect obscenity. Defining obscenity can be difficult and the
court did state that obscene is not necessarily the same as indecent, which is material
intended for adults, not children. The Supreme Court also noted that caution has to be
used in limiting personal expression, particularly when determining what is obscene and
what is not. However, the court ruled that if the average person would find the speech or
expression obscene and if it cannot be considered art, it is not protected by the
Conclusion Evidence: We are fortunate to live in a place where we are free to express
ourselves, within limits. These limitations do not take away from the meaning of the First
Amendment. The right to free speech is a fundamental American right and a big part of
why Americans cherish their freedom.
Such a cheap price for your free time and healthy sleep
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