There are many issues that revolve around the right to speak freely. There are responsibilities that should be recognized that correlate with the freedom of speech. At what point does one’s words, written or spoken, become inappropriate? Should Americans be held accountable for the things that they might say or write? Should there be consequences for publishing or broadcasting information that is not correct? How are Americans suppose to differentiate what should and should not be deemed common knowledge, or privileged information? These issues are an important aspect of being American. When examining freedom of speech, Americans should be aware of how speech, verbal or written, affects the unity of our nation, government policy and public safety.
The very core of America is based on freedom. The pilgrims left Europe because of religious persecution, and inability to practice or say what they believed. The United States of America was founded in a great part due to the idea that the states would be able to be created according to what different groups of people believed to be right. The greatest example of this is the difference in free states and slave states. The northern states had great economic prosperity based on farming and shipping. The southern states used slaves to become prosperous in farming and exporting goods to other countries. Together, the north and south were able to prosper, as a nation, because the states had common business interests, however, there was a major disagreement in how these goals would be reached.
Abraham Lincoln was instrumental in recognizing these differences and creating a solution that would become the standard for protecting everyone’s rights and beliefs. In The Portable Abraham Lincoln, it states that Abraham Lincoln was first exposed to slavery around the age of nineteen when he made a trip to Illinois for his father.
“After a trip down the Mississippi to sell meat and grain in New Orleans (it was on his first river journey three years earlier that he had been introduced to the sight of chained slaves), he settled in New Salem, Illinois.” (Deblanco, 1993) After being elected president, Lincoln was concerned about how the north and south were conflicted in the ideas of slavery. He was compassionate toward the southern state because he realized that there was a culture that promoted slavery and that the people of the south had been raised with this standard as the norm. He also related to the northern states because he understood that economic stability did not have to involve the use of slaves, and he had a great desire to keep the union intact. He was able to walk the fine line between these two sides. In reality, the emancipation proclamation was only for the states that were in rebellion to the union. The states that were in agreement with the union and had slaves were permitted to keep their slaves.
Lincoln did not like the idea that America was divided. He made decisions that, at the time,...