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Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History
     

Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History

by Stephen M. Feldman
 

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From the 1798 Sedition Act to the war on terror, numerous presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and local officials have endorsed the silencing of free expression.  If the connection between democracy and the freedom of speech is such a vital one, why would so many governmental leaders seek to quiet their citizens? Free Expression and

Overview

From the 1798 Sedition Act to the war on terror, numerous presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and local officials have endorsed the silencing of free expression.  If the connection between democracy and the freedom of speech is such a vital one, why would so many governmental leaders seek to quiet their citizens? Free Expression and Democracy in America traces two rival traditions in American culture—suppression of speech and dissent as a form of speech—to provide an unparalleled overview of the law, history, and politics of individual rights in the United States.

Charting the course of free expression alongside the nation’s political evolution, from the birth of the Constitution to the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Stephen M. Feldman argues that our level of freedom is determined not only by the Supreme Court, but also by cultural, social, and economic forces. Along the way, he pinpoints the struggles of excluded groups—women, African Americans, and laborers—to participate in democratic government as pivotal to the development of free expression.  In an age when our freedom of speech is once again at risk, this momentous book will be essential reading for legal historians, political scientists, and history buffs alike.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

“Blending together a discussion of how such notions as the public good, virtue, rights, citizenship, and value relativism are rtransformed from one era to another, Feldman subtly explains how constitutional doctrine on free expression evolves both within and across eras. . . . He offers readers a useful place to begin pondering this difficult topic. Highly recommended.”

Law and Politics Book Review
Feldman is to be congratulated for his rigorous blending of judicial history, American history, and constitutional jurisprudence, all the while keeping dissent and suppression at the fore.

— Jerome O'Callaghan

Journal of American History
A valuable addition to the literature of free speech and the most complete historical discussion of the topic.

— L.A. Scott Powe Jr.

Ken I. Kersch
“This book is the best comprehensive overview of the law, history, and politics of free expression in America ever published. Stephen Feldman’s history is confident, sure-footed, and scrupulously accurate. His interpretations and explanations for subtle shifts and developments in the law of free expression are convincing and, quite often, thrilling. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

Alexander Tsesis
Free Expression and Democracy in America is a splendidly detailed study of free speech in the United States. It is likely to set the standard in the field for many years to come. Feldman does a masterful job integrating American democratic and jurisprudential traditions.”

Mark Graber
“Professor Feldman details all the major free speech fights in the history of the United States from colonial days until the end of the Vietnam War. As is the case with good comprehensive histories, this book hits all the classics and suggests a number of themes that unite disparate strands of American free speech history, most notably the transition from a republican democracy to pluralist democracy.”

Law and Politics Book Review - Jerome O'Callaghan
"Feldman is to be congratulated for his rigorous blending of judicial history, American history, and constitutional jurisprudence, all the while keeping dissent and suppression at the fore."
Journal of American History - L.A. Scott Powe Jr.
"A valuable addition to the literature of free speech and the most complete historical discussion of the topic."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226240664
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Edition description:
1
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen M. Feldman is the Jerry W. Housel/Carl F. Arnold Distinguished Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Wyoming. He is the author or editor of several books, including Law and Religion: A Critical Anthology.
 
 
 

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