Synopses & Reviews
The guarantee of free speech enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights draws upon two millennia of Western thought about the value and necessity of free inquiry. Acclaimed legal scholar George Anastaplo traces the philosophical development of the idea of free inquiry from Plato’s Apology to Socrates to John Milton’s Areopagitica. He describes how these seminal texts and others by such diverse thinkers as St. Paul, Thomas More, and John Stuart Mill influenced the formation and the earliest applications of the First Amendment. Anastaplo also focuses on the critical free speech implications of a dozen Supreme Court cases and shows how First Amendment interpretations have evolved in response to modern events. Reflections on Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment grounds its vision of America’s most basic freedoms in the intellectual traditions of Western political philosophy, providing crucial insight into the legal challenges of the future through the lens of the past.
"Governments throughout history have struggled to define the boundaries of the right to freedom of speech. Even though the United States explicitly articulates freedom of speech in the First Amendment to the Constitution, the judicial branch frequently reinterprets the amendment by allowing laws to limit that freedom. In Reflections on Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment, noted legal theorist George Anastaplo details the history and intellectual foundations of freedom of speech, using examples from Socrates, Jesus, and Sir Thomas More to demonstrate how freedom of speech has evolved over centuries. Anastaplo pays particular attention to freedom of speech as it relates to the U.S. Constitution, and he describes potential First Amendment issues, such as cases involving the Internet. Anastaplo provides an in-depth look at a controversial issue, and he defines freedom of speech in precise terms for both scholars and those interested in one of our most cherished rights.