Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom—and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” The United States provides protections for free speech. Not only is actual speech protected, but so too is “expressive behavior” such as spending money on elections, burning a flag, and even nude dancing. Yet it has not always been this way. A fluid concept until the early twentieth century, it’s only been since the time of World War I that the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause was reviewed in depth by American courts.
Through an exploration of case law, participants will consider how the US Supreme Court has defined and redefined what free speech means, whether in wartime or peacetime and in many controversial contexts.
This lecture will be presented by Ian Drake, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science and Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.
About Ian Drake: Ian J. Drake is an associate professor of political science and law at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He holds a PhD in American history from the University of Maryland and is an attorney, who formerly practiced in the areas of tort and insurance law. His research interests include American legal and political history, constitutional law, and the history of animal rights laws and politics in America.
This program is supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of the NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” initiative.
This program will be presented live in the Library and also virtually by registration. It will not be recorded. Register online or by calling the library at (973) 584-2400.