Free Speech, The People's Darling Privilege: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History

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Duke University Press, 17.11.2000 - 533 Seiten
Modern ideas about the protection of free speech in the United States did not originate in twentieth-century Supreme Court cases, as many have thought. Free Speech, “The People’s Darling Privilege” refutes this misconception by examining popular struggles for free speech that stretch back through American history. Michael Kent Curtis focuses on struggles in which ordinary and extraordinary people, men and women, black and white, demanded and fought for freedom of speech during the period from 1791—when the Bill of Rights and its First Amendment bound only the federal government to protect free expression—to 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment sought to extend this mandate to the states. A review chapter is also included to bring the story up to date.
Curtis analyzes three crucial political struggles: the controversy that surrounded the 1798 Sedition Act, which raised the question of whether criticism of elected officials would be protected speech; the battle against slavery, which raised the question of whether Americans would be free to criticize a great moral, social, and political evil; and the controversy over anti-war speech during the Civil War. Many speech issues raised by these controversies were ultimately decided outside the judicial arena—in Congress, in state legislatures, and, perhaps most importantly, in public discussion and debate. Curtis maintains that modern proposals for changing free speech doctrine can usefully be examined in the light of this often ignored history. This broader history shows the crucial effect that politicians, activists, ordinary citizens—and later the courts—have had on the American understanding of free speech.
Filling a gap in legal history, this enlightening, richly researched historical investigation will be valuable for students and scholars of law, U.S. history, and political science, as well as for general readers interested in civil liberties and free speech.

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Inhalt

Introduction
1
1 The English and Colonial Background
23
2 The Debate over the Sedition Act of 1798
52
Enforcement and Its Aftermath
80
Reflections and Transitions
105
5 The Declaration the Constitution Slavery and Abolition
117
6 Shall Abolitionists Be Silenced?
131
The Post Office and Petitions
155
Transformations
246
12 The Free Speech Battle over Helpers Impending Crisis
271
The Struggle for Free Speech in NorthCarolina on the Eve of the Civil War
289
Lincoln and Vallandigham
300
15 The Free Speech Tradition Confronts the War Power
319
16 A New Birth of Freedom? The Fourteenth Amendment and the First Amendment
357
17 Where Are They Now? A Very Quick Review of Suppression Theories in the Twentieth Century
384
Conclusion
414

8 The Demand for Northern Legal Action Against Abolitionists
182
9 Legal Theories of Suppression and the Defense of Free Speech
194
Mobs Free Speech and the Privileges of American Citizens
216
Notes
438
Index
513
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Über den Autor (2000)

Michael Kent Curtis is Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law. He is the author of No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, also published by Duke University Press.

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