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Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights can be termed as what the government is supposed to do for its citizens and
what it should avoid. The first draft on the Bill of Rights stated what the government should do, failing to
include what it couldn’t do. With this absence in the bill of rights, constitution ratification in the U.S
become a problem. The anti-Federalists opposed it due to the fear of a centralized government. In 1791,
the American bill of rights was adopted, with its first ten amendments in the constitution, becoming the
directives for the land. The First Amendment establishes the range in civil and political rights that include
freedom of religion, press speech, and assembly, thereby becoming the most important bill of rights.
Among these rights granted by the First Amendment, freedom of speech remain the most important. With
the freedom of speech, all the other rights can be effected within this amendment. For example, the
freedom of the press. For the press to report an event, the need to have the freedom to express itself.
Manifestation for freedom of speech in the world
The freedom of speech is contained in the First Amendments of Bill of Rights. Each individual is
entitled to its own opinion and expression. The rights include the freedom of holding opinions without
interference, expressing one's ideas on media regardless of frontiers. After the constitutional ratification in
the U.S, the state legislatures and the anti-Federalists had a concern since much power was placed on the
federal government by the new constitution (A.L.B, 2019).
With the adoption of Alien and Sedition Acts by congress in 1798, publications on “false”
malicious and scandalous write-ups were prohibited concerning the federal government, the president, or
any house of congress. The law only allowed the truth in order to provide proof for that malicious intent.
In between the 1800s to 1900s, there come other laws that restricted the freedom of speech compared to
today. The state government and the city monitored books, comedy acts, newspapers, and those films that
had offensive content. They imposed laws with arrests and fines. For instance, with the Comstock laws,
one was not supposed to send materials via the U.S emails that contained information relating to abortion,
contraception, sex toys, and phonography.
During the colonial era, restrictions were laid on the English speech. With the English
colonialism in America, they established fewer prosecutions towards serious libelss. Controls on speech
were laid on actions that outlawed speech, which was considered blasphemous for religious purposes. For
instance, the Massachusetts law was meant to punish those denying immortality of the soul. A case
scenario considered in freedom of speech is whereby Virginia, a governor, issued a death penalty for a
person who was denying the trinity, by speaking badly with the use of offensive words (Matsuda, 2018).
In the modern view, since the First Amendment, the U.S government cannot control the content
of speech unless for specific reasons. The reason for this is to allow self-fulfillment for each person, build
culture and politics by allowing people to express their thoughts. With this hidden censorship, content
control will be achieved.
In the books “Playing the Enemy” and the “Game that Made a Nation” by Nelson Mandela and
John Carlin, the country of South Africa is seeking its independence. The rugby team, the Springboks,
which won the cup final against New Zealand 15-14, creating international attention in the country.
The British colony in South Africa introduced the apartheid rule that tortured most of Africans.
Nelson Mandela was among the top leaders of Africans who fought for independence in their countries.
In the books, the process of negotiation and freedom is being sought. Nelson Mandela, while at 21 years
in 1985, went for a life sentence after attempting to overthrow the British era. While in prison, people of
South African cause riots for his release, for they needed freedom. The freedom of speech was not
allowed for the one who tried to negotiate with the British colonies ended up in jail.
After the release of Mandela, he goes for further negotiation to hold the international champions
for rugby in South Africa after winning elections in 1994. He knew this was the only way to express the
nation in seeking freedom. The Springboks, under their team leader, Carlin, made history by beating the
New Zealand rugby team, winning this game created freedom in that the "son of apartheid" for many days
could not express themselves to the whites. With the match full of blacks and whites, the blacks felt the
need for equality, and the only way to that was trough expressing themselves. Mandela knew that winning
the game, his team will continue singing the black national anthem. Through singing, the team will
express their needs, thus the need for freedom of speech. Expressing one's ideas to the British people in
South Africa was so tricky in that they could not allow the interaction between the two. Since, with the
arrival of the British in the south, they occupied most of their territories.
In the year i970, the United States remained a fragile hope in seek for their independence. The
states were under the British colony and were unable to declare their independence. Now, the book
“Founding Brother," written by Josseph J. Elllis provides a channel to the freedom of expression. By
analyzing the six fascinating episodes- Adam's political and administration partnership with his wife,
Burrs and Hamilton deadly duel, the Washington’s Precedent-setting farewell among others, the states
gain the confidence to fight for its freedom by expressing itself to what was termed as the impossible.
Why freedom of speech remains most important
With the Bill of Rights constituting the ten amendments, the freedom of speech remain the
stepping pillar for the other rights. Allowing one to express himself/herself makes it easier to practice the
other rights. In America, freedom of speech grants all citizens the liberty to criticize the awful actions by
the government, without the fear of being prosecuted or censored.
Speech Types in Attaining Freedom
The core political speech of freedom remains the most protected due to its expressive nature and
influence on the republic. In the American bill of rights, regulations are held for those undertaking
political speech. Political leaders are the ones to unite or divided citizens, depending on the kind of
speech they offer. Commercial speech also remains under the protection of the First Amendment. The
speech is used for commercial transition. The freedom to express in the international marketplace which
is regulated by the state. The amendment also protects expressive conduct. This includes the symbolic
actions undertaken during events, for example, the burning of the flag during a political protest.
Shortcomings Underlying Freedom of Speech.
The press is the most accused of violating freedom of speech. In most instances, they have
exaggerated the actions which they report. With the regulations being held, they tend not to follow them
to gain fame on the public. On the other hand, they reveal the "hidden." Many awful events may happen
under government leadership, which affect the citizens and remain silenced with the freedom given to the
press, the work, and duplicate publications on social media.
The speech from political leaders can either be of benefit to a country’s citizens or disadvantage
them. In countries with opposition movements, the freedom by politicians to express themselves need to
be controlled. During the pre-colonial periods, the freedom of speech by political leaders led to
independence. For instance, the gain for independence by the black people was facilitated by the freedom
of speech.
To conclude, the Bill of Rights are essential in that they provide what the government and its
citizens ought to do. With the First Amendment, the right to freedom of speech comes to be. Even before
the ratification of this right, many nations aspired to adopt it. For instance, the gain for independence in
America was facilitated by this right. To gain independence was a hard task without the "colonizer" and
the “colonized” coming to negotiation. With the two nations not in good terms after the war, peace was
always attained after allowing the freedom to speech.
Works cited
American Library Association. (2019). Library bill of rights. College & Research Libraries News, 29(6),
Matsuda, M. J. (2018). Words that wound: Critical race theory, assaultive speech, and the first
amendment. Routledge.