Today, FINALLY, Craig is going to talk about Free Speech! Now, free speech is so important because it not only allows you to critique the government, but it also protects you from the government. But it's essential to remember that not ALL speech is protected equally under the First Amendment, and just because you have a right to free speech doesn't mean your employer, for instance, can't fire you for something you say (unless your work for the government and then things get a bit more complicated). So we'll take a look at a couple significant Supreme Court cases that have gotten us to our current definition of free speech, and we'll also discuss some of the more controversial aspects of free speech - like hate speech.
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Hi, I'm Craig, and this is Crash Course, Government and Politics, and today, we're talking about free, speech., Other, Craig: Finally.
Today we can let loose and establish the kinds of things we can say to criticize our government, like the crazy idea that money and speech are the same thing.
Other, Other, Craig:, Not, so fast, Clone, the Supreme Court, has ruled that spending money, at least in the political context, is speech.
You do have the right to criticize that decision.
Though., Unless, your boss or YouTube says that you can't.
Craig: All right, we're trying to talk about free, speech, shut, up., Let's, get started and see if we can figure out what the limits of free speech are, assuming that there are some.
Other, Other, Craig:, There, aren't., Craig:, That's, a lie., But, I'm free to say, that.
Craig: There are two really important things to remember about the First Amendment protection of free speech., The.
Primary reason we have freedom of speech is to allow for public criticism of the stupid, government.
That's, the sort of thing that can land you in jail in countries that don't have strong free speech protections, or should I say.
You would be Putin, jail, heh, don't put me in jail.
Oh, that's right, I'm in the US.
It doesn't matter.
The stories of oversensitive kings and dictators.
Silencing people who question their rule or even make jokes at their expense, are too numerous to recount, but for the most part, that kinda thing doesn't happen in the US, which is why no one gets arrested for carrying around a giant picture of Obama as Hitler, or former President Bush as a monkey.
Well, that's stuff's okay, as far as the First Amendment is concerned, but that doesn't mean it's respectful or in good taste.
The second thing to remember is that the First Amendment protects you from the government doing things that try to deny your speech, but not anyone else.
This means is that you don't have an absolute right to say whatever you want, wherever you want, to whomever you want and not suffer any consequences.
Isn't that right, Stan, you dingus? I'm fired? I was just kidding;.
It was a joke.
You work for a private company.
Your boss can certainly fire you for saying mean things about them or revealing company secrets, and you don't have any First Amendment claim against them.
Unless, of course.
Your boss is the government, or a branch of the government, in which case, you might be able to claim a First Amendment right.
See, like most things, it's complicated.
Among the speech that is protected.
Not all of it has the same level of protection under the First Amendment.
Let's exercise our right to free, Thought, Bubble., The speech that gets the strongest protection is political, speech., Criticism of, but also praise for particular officials.
Their parties, or their policies is usually protected.
It's, given what is called preferred position, which means that any law or regulation or executive act that limits political speech is almost always struck down by courts.
The big case that made pretty much.
The final decision on political speech was Brandenburg v.
Ohio in 1968.
In, this case, a Ku Klux Klan leader, was making a speech that, as you can.
Imagine, was offensive to a lot of people and could have been considered.
The court ruled that, because the speech was political, it was protected by the First Amendment, no matter how outrageous it was.
The court, said, "The, Constitutional, guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation, except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent action and is likely to produce such action." According to the court.
The First Amendment protects speech, even if it advocates the use of force or encourages people to violate the law.
You can advocate overthrowing the government or not paying your taxes as much as you want.
Unless what you say is likely to produce the thing you're advocating.
Overthrowing, the government, say.
And, it is likely to happen imminently, meaning very soon after you make the statement.
This case limited an older standard regarding free speech that was put forward in the case US v.
Schenck in 1917.
In that case, Schenck distributed pamphlets, urging people to avoid the draft for World War I.
This was a violation of the Espionage Act, which made it a crime to obstruct the draft or the war.
The law was more complicated than that, but that's the basic gist.
His decision on this case, Oliver Wendell Holmes, wrote that, "When.
That speech presents a clear and present danger.
The state can then abridge that person's speech." Memorably.
He explained that the First Amendment does not protect a person who shouts "fire" in a crowded, theater.
In later cases, Holmes limited this idea, largely because it gives the government a lot of leeway to say what kind of speech creates danger, especially during a war, as was the case with Schenck.
Thanks, Thought Bubble.
Political speech isn't the only type of speech that the courts have addressed.
Symbolic speech can also be protected by the First Amendment, and if that symbolic speech has political content, it usually is protected.
Symbolic speech includes wearing armbands, carrying signs, or even wearing a jacket with an obscene word directed at the military.
Symbolic speech also includes burning an American flag, which pretty much is always a political message.
All symbolic speech is protected, though.
If you're a high school student who holds up a banner that reads, "Bong hits 4 Jesus" at a school-sponsored function.
Don't expect that the First Amendment will prevent the school, a government agent, from suspending you.
And yes, that really happened.
This is not symbolic.
Even hate speech is protected.
If it's really hateful, like burning a cross on a person's lawn, although this might be prosecuted as vandalism or trespassing.
Public universities that try to punish hate speech have seen their discipline code struck.
Commercial speech might not be protected, but if it's a political commercial, it will be, and, as we've pointed out, before, spending money on political campaigns has been determined to be speech that is protected by the First Amendment.
Although we shall see, donations to political campaigns are still treated differently, at least for now.
The only kind of speech.
That's not protected.
Other than speech, that's likely to incite immediate violence, is what's called fightin' words.
In the actual case that dealt with fighting words, Chaplinsky v, New Hampshire, the defendant uttered.
What seemed more like insults than a call to engage in fisticuffs.
You call me? Still.
The court ruled that some words were so insulting that they were more than likely to result in a fight.
So fighting words are not protected.
One thing to note, though, the fighting words free speech.
Exception is almost never used.
So, as you can see, the First Amendment.
Pretty much protects you from the government, throwing you in jail or otherwise punishing you for what you say in most instances.
But it's important to remember than the First Amendment is not unlimited.
It only protects you from government action, not the action of private people, especially your employers.
One final example might make this clear.
In Pickering v.
Board of Education, a public school teacher, wrote a letter to the editor of his local paper, complaining about the way that the school board was spending money on the schools., He didn't write it on school time or using school paper or email, especially since it was 1968, and there was no email.
The school board, or his principal, fired.
He brought the case to the Supreme Court, claiming that he was fired for his speech, which was political in nature, criticizing local government and not for anything related to his job performance, and he won.
The only reason he was able to get his job back is that his employer was the government.
So it was the government that punished him for speaking out.
For most of us, complaining about our employer's policies.
May get us fired, and unless we are government employees, we can't claim that it violated our First Amendment rights.
The First Amendment, like all of the Amendments, is meant to protect us from an overreaching.
There are other types of laws that help us deal with individuals who do things that we think are wrong, but we'll talk about those in another episode.
Thanks for watching.
Mmmph!, Third eagle punch in the video.
Is that too much? It doesn't matter.
I'm free to do it., Crash, Course, Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios.
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The speech that gets the strongest protection is political speech. Criticism of, but also praise for particular officials, their parties, or their policies is usually protected.What are 3 limits to our right of free speech? ›
Second, a few narrow categories of speech are not protected from government restrictions. The main such categories are incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and threats.What is the freedom of speech in short notes? ›
According to Article 19(1)(a): All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression. This implies that all citizens have the right to express their views and opinions freely. This includes not only words of mouth, but also a speech by way of writings, pictures, movies, banners, etc.What are frequently asked questions about freedom of speech? ›
- What is protected speech? ...
- Do faculty, students, staff and visitors enjoy freedom of expression? ...
- Is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment? ...
- Is there speech that is not protected by the First Amendment? ...
- Is defamation protected by the First Amendment?
Eichman), the Court struck down government bans on “flag desecration.” Other examples of protected symbolic speech include works of art, T-shirt slogans, political buttons, music lyrics and theatrical performances. Government can limit some protected speech by imposing “time, place and manner” restrictions.What are 3 examples of unprotected speech? ›
Types of speech the Supreme Court has held deserve less or no protection from regulation. Examples include fraud, obscenity, or defamation.What are 3 things not protected by freedom of speech? ›
Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (and therefore may be restricted) include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, speech that violates intellectual property law, true threats, and commercial ...What are the 4 limits on freedom of speech? ›
Teach incoming students about when speech crosses the line and loses First Amendment protection. This module focuses primarily on defining and providing examples of freedom of speech limitations, such as harassment, true threats, intimidation, and other unlawful conduct.What isn't protected by freedom of speech? ›
The categories of unprotected speech include obscenity, child pornography, defamatory speech, false advertising, true threats, and fighting words. Deciding what is and is not protected speech is reserved to courts of law. The First Amendment only prevents government restrictions on speech.What is the basic right freedom of speech? ›
The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that: “Congress shall make no law... abridging freedom of speech.”
Without freedom of speech, individuals could not criticize government officials, test their theories against those of others, counter negative expression with a different viewpoint, or express their individuality and autonomy.What is the freedom of speech in politics? ›
Freedom of expression is crucial to democracy. It means that everyone can take part in political discussions, and the media can hold those who are in power to account. A free, independent and diverse media plays the role of a “public watchdog”, keeping people informed and holding power to account.Does freedom of speech have limits? ›
Freedom of speech is not regarded as absolute by some, with most legal systems generally setting limits on the freedom of speech, particularly when freedom of speech conflicts with other rights and protections, such as in the cases of libel, slander, pornography, obscenity, fighting words, and intellectual property.What are key facts about freedom of speech? ›
Freedom of speech was established in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1791 along with freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble. In 1948, the UN recognized free speech as a human right in the International Declaration of Human Rights.What are deep questions about freedom of speech? ›
|(1)||What is freedom of speech?|
|(2)||How does freedom of speech improve a society?|
|(3)||Should there be some limits on what we are free to say?|
|(4)||Should people be free to spread hatred, incite violence and ridicule others' religions and nations?|
Although it has not been put in a separate category, political speech has received the greatest protection. The Court has stated that the ability to criticize the government and government officials is central to the meaning of the First Amendment.What is protected vs unprotected speech? ›
Regulations of protected speech generally receive strict or intermediate scrutiny, which are high bars for the government to meet. In contrast, the government typically has more leeway to regulate unprotected speech.What are the limitations to freedom of speech within the United States? ›
Free speech is not absolute – US law does recognize a number of important restrictions to free speech. These include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, harassment, incitement to illegal conduct and imminent lawless action, true threats, and commercial speech such as advertising, copyright or patent rights.How does the Constitution limit our individual rights? ›
The government only limits our rights in particular scenarios. These primarily include instances in which exercising the right causes harm to others. It also can include instances where the right is almost impossible to protect, like our right to privacy when in public spaces.What is an example of a true threat? ›
True threats constitute a category of speech — like obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and the advocacy of imminent lawless action — that is not protected by the First Amendment.
The First Amendment provides that Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.Do you have the right to say whatever you want? ›
The First Amendment guarantees our right to free expression and free association, which means that the government does not have the right to forbid us from saying what we like and writing what we like; we can form clubs and organizations, and take part in demonstrations and rallies.What rights aren't protected by the Constitution? ›
The Supreme Court has found that unenumerated rights include such important rights as the right to travel, the right to vote, and the right to keep personal matters private.What are 3 rights protected by the Constitution? ›
First Amendment: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. Second Amendment: the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Third Amendment: restricts housing soldiers in private homes. Fourth Amendment: protects against unreasonable search and seizure.What are the 27 constitutional rights? ›
|1st||1791||Rights to Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition|
|2nd||1791||Right to Bear Arms|
|3rd||1791||Quartering of Soldiers|
|4th||1791||Search and Seizure|
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.Is profanity protected speech? ›
At times, profanity is a non-protected speech category
Profanity can be regulated, however, under certain circumstances consistent with the First Amendment. Profane rants that cross the line into direct face-to-face personal insults or fighting words are not protected by the First Amendment.
Freedom of speech is the right to speak, write, and share ideas and opinions without facing punishment from the government. The First Amendment protects this right by prohibiting Congress from making laws that would curtail freedom of speech.Is free speech an inalienable right? ›
Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and association, and the corollary right to receive information without interference and without compromising personal privacy.Is freedom of speech a natural right? ›
Freedom of expression was understood by the nation's Founders to be a natural, unalienable right that belongs to every human being.
The five freedoms it protects: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Together, these five guaranteed freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest in the world.What is freedom of speech examples? ›
This includes the right to express your views aloud (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through: published articles, books or leaflets. television or radio broadcasting. works of art.What happens if we don't have freedom of speech? ›
Without freedom of speech, there is no preacher in the pulpit, no defense at a trial. Without freedom of speech, we cannot cast our vote or call our representatives. Without freedom of speech, there is no women's suffrage or March on Washington, no marriage equality or Black Lives Matter or #MeToo movement.What is the most important freedom? ›
The First and Second Amendments. The First Amendment is widely considered to be the most important part of the Bill of Rights. It protects the fundamental rights of conscience—the freedom to believe and express different ideas—in a variety of ways.Is freedom of speech absolute? ›
The right to free speech is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government sometimes may be allowed to limit speech. Historically, a fundamental distinction arose between the content of speech and the means whereby that speech is expressed.What are the 2 questions that you have now about freedom? ›
- What does freedom mean to you?
- How do you define being free? Are you free?
- Is freedom at risk? If so, what are you concerned about?
- What grey areas do you see when you think about this topic? ...
- What type of “harm” gives one the right to limit another's freedom?
'What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” Religions, governments, and flags cannot be harmed – only people can. That's why human rights protects people – not ideas, states, or religions.What are five questions about freedom? ›
|(1)||What is freedom?|
|(2)||How important is freedom for you?|
|(3)||Would you fight for your freedom?|
|(4)||Is working 40 hours a week closer to freedom or slavery?|
|(5)||What does freedom feel like?|
The First Amendment also protects expression that is written and expression that is typed and published. It protects symbolic speech or expressive conduct (like burning a flag), and it protects speech plus conduct (like peaceably assembling to engage in protests and boycotts).What is considered protected free speech? ›
Freedom of speech is the right to speak, write, and share ideas and opinions without facing punishment from the government. The First Amendment protects this right by prohibiting Congress from making laws that would curtail freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech includes the right:
Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”). Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
Do I have First Amendment rights in school? You have the right to speak out, hand out flyers and petitions, and wear expressive clothing in school — as long as you don't disrupt the functioning of the school or violate school policies that don't hinge on the message expressed.What speech is not protected by First Amendment? ›
The categories of unprotected speech include obscenity, child pornography, defamatory speech, false advertising, true threats, and fighting words. Deciding what is and is not protected speech is reserved to courts of law.Can our freedom be legally taken from us? ›
The Bill of Rights guarantees that the government can never deprive people in the U.S. of certain fundamental rights including the right to freedom of religion and to free speech and the due process of law.What is the purpose of freedom of speech? ›
The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without government interference or regulation. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for interference with the right of free speech when it attempts to regulate the content of the speech.Why is freedom of speech important? ›
Without freedom of speech, individuals could not criticize government officials, test their theories against those of others, counter negative expression with a different viewpoint, or express their individuality and autonomy.What does the 2nd Amendment protect? ›
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.What are the limits to the First Amendment freedoms? ›
The First Amendment does not protect violent activity. Those engaged in riotous conduct – breaking windows, vandalizing the Capitol and its contents, assaulting officers, using bear spray, etc. – can't invoke the First Amendment as a defense to these criminal acts.What are the 5 types of protected speech? ›
The five freedoms it protects: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Together, these five guaranteed freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest in the world.What are four types of protected free speech? ›
The Supreme Court has recognized that the First Amendment's protections extend to individual and collective speech “in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.” Roberts v.