Synopses & Reviews
In a stinging dissent to a 1961 Supreme Court decision that allowed the Illinois state bar to deny admission to prospective lawyers if they refused to answer political questions, Justice Hugo Black closed with the memorable line, "We must not be afraid to be free." Black saw the First Amendment as the foundation of American freedom--the guarantor of all other Constitutional rights. Yet since free speech is by nature unruly, people fear it. The impulse to curb or limit it has been a constant danger throughout American history.
In We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free, Ron Collins and Sam Chaltain, two noted free speech scholars and activists, provide authoritative and vivid portraits of free speech in modern America. The authors offer a series of engaging accounts of landmark First Amendment cases, including bitterly contested cases concerning loyalty oaths, hate speech, flag burning, student anti-war protests, and McCarthy-era prosecutions. The book also describes the colorful people involved in each case--the judges, attorneys, and defendants--and the issues at stake. Tracing the development of free speech rights from a more restrictive era--the early twentieth century--through the Warren Court revolution of the 1960s and beyond, Collins and Chaltain not only cover the history of a cherished ideal, but also explain in accessible language how the law surrounding this ideal has changed over time.
Essential for anyone interested in this most fundamental of our rights, We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free provides a definitive and lively account of our First Amendment and the price courageous Americans have paid to secure them.
"Collins and Chaltain vividly bring to life inspiring but little-known, real-world stories of remarkable men and women who personally struggled with fear and freedom, thus endowing us with an enduring legacy of enhanced liberty. Superb in both substance and style, this book demonstrates that the defense of free speech epitomizes courage and patriotism."--Nadine Strossen, Professor, New York Law School, and Past President of the ACLU
"If you've ever wanted to know the life history of the First Amendment--the parties, the lawyers, the justices, the agony, the glory--this is the book for you!"--Geoffrey R. Stone, Professor, The University of Chicago Law School
"We Must Not Be Afraid to be Free is a well written and loving tribute to our First Amendment tradition and to the people who have given it life. The book is packed with original history and a deep understanding of the tensions internal to our commitments to freedom of speech. It is a major contribution to the First Amendment literature."--Steven H. Shiffrin, Charles Frank Reavis, Sr., Professor of Law, Cornell University
"A terrific, lively, informed, and engaging read that is certain to interest not only students but the general public. Collins and Chaltain's book is in a class of its own--a must read for anyone who cares about freedom."--David M. O'Brien, Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor, University of Virginia, Department of Politics
"This engagingly written tour of First Amendment law will interest political scientists, prelaw and law students, and lawyers with a special interest in the subject. The authors present their expertise in a storytelling, literary style, and their authoritative mastery of their subject is evident." --Washington Lawyer
"Fascinating. Meticulously researched. [Collins and Chaltain] have written a book that every student of the First Amendment, especially every judge and justice, should read. Not only does it provide a thorough overview of free speech law, but its stories are a wonderful reminder of the people and lives that shaped constitutional law." --Erwin Chemerinsky, The Washington Independent Review of Books
"We Must not be Afraid to be Free skillfully blends history and doctrine, furnishing the reader with an introduction to core free speech cases through vivid and real-life accounts of the parties, judges, and attorneys involved. Collins and Chaltain thus successfully bring to life the law and history of the First Amendment, providing a deeply engaging work of scholarship for general readers and students of the law alike."--Harvard Law Review
In a stinging dissent to a 1961 Supreme Court decision that allowed the Illinois state bar to deny admission to prospective lawyers if they refused to answer political questions, Justice Hugo Black closed with the memorable line, "We must not be afraid to be free." Black saw the First Amendment as the foundation of American freedom - the guarantor of all other Constitutional rights. Yet since free speech is by nature unruly, people fear it. Consequently, the impulse to curb or limit it has been a constant danger throughout American history. In We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free, two of America's leading free speech scholar-activists, Ron Collins and Sam Chaltain, provide an authoritative history of free speech in modern America. Each chapter is an engaging narrative account of a landmark First Amendment case that foregrounds the colorful people involved-judges, plaintiffs, attorneys, defendants-and the issue at stake. Cumulatively, the chapters provide a definitive account of how the First Amendment evolved over the course of a century. Tracing the development of free speech rights from a more restrictive era-the early twentieth century-through the Warren Court revolution of the 1960s and up to the current post 9/11 era of heightened security concerns, Collins and Chaltain not only cover the history of an ideal, but explain in accessible language how the law surrounding the ideal transformed. Essential for anyone interested in this most essential of rights, We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free will be a standard work on free speech for years to come.
About the Author
Ronald K. L. Collins
is the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law and a fellow at the First Amendment Center. He is the editor of The Fundamental Holmes: A Free Speech Chronicle and Reader.
Sam Chaltain is the past National Director of the Forum for Education and Democracy in Washington, DC. He writes and consults regularly about democracy and learning.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Freedom and Fear: Justice Hugo Black
1. First Amendment Fundamentalism: George Anastaplo and Free-speech Absolutism
2. "Everybody is Against the Reds": Benjamin Gitlow and the First and Fourteenth Amendments
3. Calling Dr. Meiklejohn: Alexander Meiklejohn and First Amendment Theories
4. "The Final Jury of the Nation": Daniel Ellsberg and National Security
5. Fighting Times and Fighting Faiths: Eugene Dennis and the Clear and Present Danger Test
6. Saving the NAACP: Robert Carter and the (Civil) Right to Associate
7. Crosses and Crises: Edward Cleary and Hate Speech
8. Striking Back at the Birchers: Elmer Gertz and Defamation
9. Saving Old Glory: Gregory Johnson and Flag Desecration
10. Count-me-ins and Count-me-outs: Mary Beth Tinker and Student Speech
Epilogue: Hugo Black and Beyond: The Future of Freedom
Free Speech Timeline