Free Speech, The People's Darling Privilege: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History - Constitutional Conflicts (Hardback)Michael Kent Curtis (author)
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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.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 536
Weight: 862 g
Dimensions: 244 x 165 x 36 mm
"Michael Kent Curtis's first book, No State Shall Abridge, was one of the most important and most impressive works of constitutional scholarship of the late twentieth century. This second book is a worthy successor, building on a decade of painstaking scholarship and filled with fascinating tales and keen insights. Until Curtis came along, many of the most important chapters in the story of American free expression had been all but lost. Now, thanks to Curtis, they are found-and what a find it is! No law professor I know handles constitutional history better than Curtis-he is a national treasure."-Akhil Reed Amar, author of The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction
"This book is a major contribution to scholarship on the history of free speech in the United States from 1800 through the Civil War."-David Rabban, University of Texas School of Law
"This engrossing book recounts a series of remarkable stories about our country's hard-fought battles for freedom of expression. Taken together, these often-inspiring tales show how our current reverence for free speech evolved and emerged painfully through Americans' bitter and sometimes bloody experience. Free Speech: 'The People's Darling Privilege' is a must-read for everyone who cares about the First Amendment."-Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union and Professor, New York Law School