What is free speech? The definition is not easy, and the courts have identified three types of free speech, each protected at a different level:
In considering whether context could import a violent meaning to ACLA's non-violent statements, we deem it highly significant that all the statements were made in the context of public discourse, not in direct personal communications. Although the First Amendment does not protect all forms of public speech, such as statements inciting violence or an imminent panic, the public nature of the speech bears heavily upon whether it could be interpreted as a threat. As we held in McCalden v. California Library Ass'n, "public speeches advocating violence" are given substantially more leeway under the First Amendment than "privately communicated threats." There are two reasons for this distinction: First, what may be hyperbole in a public speech may be understood (and intended) as a threat if communicated directly to the person threatened, whether face-to-face, by telephone or by letter. In targeting the recipient personally, the speaker leaves no doubt that he is sending the recipient a message of some sort. In contrast, typical political statements at rallies or through the media are far more diffuse in their focus because they are generally intended, at least in part, to shore up political support for the speaker's position. Second, and more importantly, speech made through the normal channels of group communication, and concerning matters of public policy, is given the maximum level of protection by the Free Speech Clause because it lies at the core of the First Amendment.
The First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Speech
There are other non-physical harms that also have to be taken intoconsideration. MacKinnon argues that pornography causes harm becauseit exploits, oppresses, subordinates and undermines the civil rightsof women, including their right to free speech. A permissive policy onpornography has the effect of prioritizing the right to speech ofpornographers over the right to speech of women. MacKinnon's claim isthat pornography silences women because it presents them as inferiorbeings and sex objects who are not to be taken seriously. Even ifpornography does not cause violence, it still leads to discrimination,domination and rights violations. She also suggests that becausepornography offers a misleading and derogatory view of women, it islibelous. Along with Andrea Dworkin, MacKinnon drafted a MinneapolisCouncil Ordinance in 1983 that allowed women to take civil actionagainst pornographers. They defined pornography as:
Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion and the press
Note first of all that the state action doctrine does not only limit the power of courts to protect persons from private power that interferes with public freedoms. It also protects individuals from the courts themselves, which are, after all, another government agency. By limiting the First Amendment to protecting citizens from government (and not from each other), the state action doctrine enlarges the sphere of unregulated discretion that individuals may exercise in what they think and say. In the name of First Amendment "values," courts could perhaps inquire whether I must grant access to my newspaper to opinions I abhor, must allow persons whose moral standards I deplore to join my expressive association, or must remain silent so that someone else gets a chance to reach my audience with a less appealing but unfamiliar message. Such inquiries, however, would place courts in the business of deciding which opinions I would have to publish in my newspaper and which would so distort my message that putting those words in my mouth would violate my freedom of speech; what an organization's associational message really is and whether forcing the organization to accept a dissenting member would distort that message; and which opinions, though unable to attract an audience on their own, are so worthy that they must not be drowned out by more popular messages. I am not convinced that whatever changes the Internet has wrought in our environment require the courts to mount this particular tiger.
Introduction to the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment
They adjusted their ideals and plans for the United States because of their past experiences.
According to the Free Republic, the First Amendment was developed and brought up by the Founding Father's to prevent the authoritarianism or dictatorship over freedom of speech.
Understanding the ideals of the Founding Father's
"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.
Freedom of Speech (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
There is a great deal of debate about what Mill had in mind when hereferred to harm; for the purposes of this essay he will be taken tomean that an action has to directly and in the first instance invadethe rights of a person (Mill himself uses the term rights, despitebasing the arguments in the book on the principle of utility). Thelimits on free speech will be very narrow because it is difficult tosupport the claim that most speech causes harm to the rights ofothers. This is the position staked out by Mill in the first twochapters of On Liberty and it is a good starting point for adiscussion of free speech because it is hard to imagine a more liberalposition. Liberals are usually willing to contemplate limiting speechonce it can be demonstrated that it does invade the rights ofothers.