The Founding Fathers protected freedom of speech and freedom of the press as the most important liberties.
They are protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And as discussed below, the Founders recognized that the ability to speak freely was the foundation for all other freedoms.
Thousands of years of history shows how rare and valuable such freedoms really are …
Those in power are always tempted to censor and punish critical speech and reporting. George W. Bush said “You’re either with us or your against us”, and cracked down on criticism and protest. Some powerful Democrats want to suppress right-wing speech.
But freedom of speech and of the press – no matter how much we may disagree with and even hate what someone else says – is the bedrock of America. If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”– George Washington
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
– Ben Franklin
“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo
“The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty.”
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Douglass
“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
The U.S. Constitution guarantees the inalienable rights of citizens, which means they cannot be abolished.