Freedom of Speech Freedom of speech is the right to speak your mind without fear of prosecution. Recent events have brought up the concept of freedom of speech into the spotlight. However, some people are still quite ignorant of the topic. In this article, we will explore the fruition, conception, and evolution of this decree. As previously mentioned, freedom of speech is the freedom to articulate your thoughts without censorship or retaliation. It is famously the first US Amendment and one of the basic human rights in the UN Human Rights Instruments. However, freedom of speech can be dated to long before modern establishments. The earliest known instance of freedom of speech is in 5th to 6th century BC Athens, in the Athenian democratic principal. Freedom of speech was also a value of the Roman Empire. Early human rights documents contain freedom of speech or some variety on it, such as England’s Bill of Rights 1689. Then in 1776, when the US seceded from the British, the first amendment was freedom of speech, press, and religion. And finally, in 1948, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written. Contractively, while many people against freedom of speech believe it means anyone can say anything, it generally does not protect all forms of speech, primarily, hate speech. Hate speech is speech that attacks a group of people based on attributes such as race, religion, sex, creed, ethnicity, disability, etc. Another exception to freedom of speech is threatful speech. This is when an individual or group threatens to seriously or severely harm another individual or group with the intent to do so. In conclusion, while many believe freedom of speech to be an invention of the modern mind; It has existed for at least 2500 years. Throughout this time, it has developed as the collective societal opinion changed along with it. Also, against certain claims, freedom of speech does have limits. This is not to censor the innocent, but rather to protect from the malicious.