Why is Free Speech Essential to Self-Government?
America's Founders recognized the necessity of vigorous public debate and enshrined the right to speak freely in the Bill of Rights. This component of the Constitution protects a wide range of speech, including speech we might find disagreeable. While the First Amendment's primary purpose was to protect political speech, its protections do have limits. This lesson explores this essential principle of free speech.
How Has Speech Been Both Limited and Expanded, and How Does it Apply to You and Your School?
The Founders meant for the First Amendment to protect a wide array of expressive activities. The Supreme Court, recognizing changes in society and technology, has applied the First Amendment's protections in some ways that are broader than ever. Student speech in public schools, however, poses unique questions. This lesson will help students to understand the operation of the First Amendment in both their school and in the wider context of society, and it will help foster students' appreciation of their rights, preparing them for responsible and effective participation in their school, community, and nation.