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Freedom Of Speech Should Be Limited

1330 words - 5 pages

Topic: Do you believe that free speech as proscribed under the first amendment of the constitution should be limited?

The entire American Government is based in the belief that all human beings are born with certain rights. People do not receive their rights from the Government; its function is actually to guard the rights we already have. Citizens are protected by the first amendment, which prohibits government from acting against anyone's rights.

The first amendment applies to every single citizen in the country, but most of them do not even know what it is about or what it means. The first amendment states "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." In other words, the first amendment defends humans' rights to worship-or not worship- who ever they want, their right to express ideas and beliefs, and their right to unite and protest for what they believe right.

It is more than clear by now that people have the right to believe what they please and to expose their thinking without fear, but is this an absolute freedom? Is there any limit to it? I believe there is. Freedom of speech is a base for American society, but so are other values, and when there is conflict between the freedom of speech and these values, the government tries to regulate or balance the situation.

Freedom of speech cannot be considered an absolute freedom, and even society and the legal system recognize the boundaries or general situations where the speech should not be protected. Along with rights comes civil responsibility, which demands respect from individuals to each other. What this means is that people is entitled to protect their rights, but at the same time they are obligated to respect the rights of others.

There are four general situations in which freedom of speech should be banned. The first one is Clear and present danger: Freedom of speech will not be protected if the words that come from any person's mouth put in danger someone else, provoke violence, or even incite or suggest illegal actions. A second situation is fighting words: These are the terms socially know to rage anyone, and when they are told face-to-face to a second person, they are not protected by the first amendment because they tend to alter public order and stimulate violence. The third main situation in freedom of speech is known as libel and slander: In this situation the Supreme Court explains that when speech or communication is used to damage someone else's reputation, to lie, or to tergiversate the truth and make it look as something it is not, it is not covered under the first amendment. The forth and last boundary of the first amendment is referred to as time, place and manner: This particular scenario does not disallow the content of the...

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