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Freedom In The United States Essay

2370 words - 9 pages

No other democratic society in the world permits personalfreedoms to the degree of the United States of America. Within thelast sixty years, American courts, especially the Supreme Court, havedeveloped a set of legal doctrines that thoroughly protect all formsof the freedom of expression. When it comes to evaluating the degreeto which we take advantage of the opportunity to express our opinions,some members of society may be guilty of violating the bounds of theFirst Amendment by publicly offending others through obscenity orracism. Americans have developed a distinct disposition toward thefreedom of expression throughout history.The First Amendment clearly voices a great American respecttoward the freedom of religion. It also prevents the government from"abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thepeople peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for aredress of grievances." Since the early history of our country, theprotection of basic freedoms has been of the utmost importance toAmericans.In Langston Hughes' poem, "Freedom," he emphasizes thestruggle to enjoy the freedoms that he knows are rightfully his. Hereflects the American desire for freedom now when he says, "I do notneed my freedom when I'm dead. I cannot live on tomorrow's bread."He recognizes the need for freedom in its entirety without compromiseor fear.I think Langston Hughes captures the essence of the Americanimmigrants' quest for freedom in his poem, "Freedom's Plow." Heaccurately describes American's as arriving with nothing but dreamsand building America with the hopes of finding greater freedom orfreedom for the first time. He depicts how people of all backgroundsworked together for one cause: freedom.I selected Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as a fictitiousexample of the evils of censorship in a world that is becomingilliterate. In this book, the government convinces the public thatbook reading is evil because it spreads harmful opinions and agitatespeople against the government. The vast majority of people acceptthis censorship of expression without question and are content to seeand hear only the government's propaganda. I found this disturbingyet realistic. Bradbury's hidden opposition to this form ofcensorship was apparent throughout the book and finally prevailed inthe end when his main character rebelled against the practice ofburning books.Among the many forms of protests are pickets, strikes, publicspeeches and rallies. Recently in New Jersey, more than a thousandcommunity activists rallied to draft a "human" budget that puts theneeds of the poor and handicapped as a top priority. Rallies are aneffective means for people to use their freedoms effectively to bringabout change from the government.Freedom of speech is coneztly being challenged as isevidenced in a recent court case where a Gloucester County schooldistrict censored reviews of two R-rated movies from a schoolnewspaper. Superior Court Judge, Robert E. Francis ruled that...

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