Fundamental Liberties of a Free People: Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly

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Overview

Of the American Bill of Rights, perhaps the forty-five words that comprise the First Amendment-allowing freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly, and the guaranty of the writ of habeas corpus-are the most precious. Only a legal expert could lay claim to truly understanding the meaning and intention of those basic freedoms. Yet it is precisely the expert, knowing the complexity of the subject, who would be the first to hesitate to claim to possess such a thorough understanding. In analyzing such freedoms basic to American society, Milton Konvitz helps make comprehending our fundamental liberties easier.

The book is divided into three parts: I. Freedom of Religion; II. Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly; III. Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly: The Clear and Present Danger Doctrine. The reader will find included such topics as the debate over the scope of the separation of Church and State, whether or not freedom of religion is an absolute right, religious freedom prior to 1776, the liberty of private schools, heresy, the right for a religious group to seek converts, the freedoms not to speak and listen, obscene literature, picketing in labor disputes, the freedom to think and believe, abridgments of speech and press, and loyalty oaths and guilt by association.

Konvitz's work includes an important chapter on the history of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. His careful tracing of the development of constitutional attitudes to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment is a scholarly benchmark, and is still an archetype for students doing research and writing about these issues. It is of critical importance to anyone seeking an authoritative statement on the basic liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Fundamental Liberties of a Free People is a relevant and practical guide to understanding the liberties so fundamental to a free society. In his new introduction and afterword, author Milton Konvitz brings First Amendment developments up to 2002. It will be welcomed by students and scholars of constitutional law, government, politics, religion, and American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professor Konvitz does the near impossible: He makes the complexities of historical legal wranglings accessible to a secular readership." – Religion & Liberty
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809544
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/26/2003
  • Edition description: W/a New Introduction by the Author
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 5.93 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Milton R. Konvitz (1908-2003) was a professor of law and professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the founder of Cornell’s department of Near Eastern studies and of its program in Jewish studies. He is the author and/or editor of many important books in constitutional law, Judaic studies, and philosophy, including Liberian Code of Laws Revised, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander,and Nine American Jewish Thinkers. Milton R. Konvitz (1908-2003) was a professor of law and professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the founder of Cornell’s department of Near Eastern studies and of its program in Jewish studies. He is the author and/or editor of many important books in constitutional law, Judaic studies, and philosophy, including Liberian Code of Laws Revised, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander,and Nine American Jewish Thinkers. Milton R. Konvitz (1908-2003) was a professor of law and professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the founder of Cornell’s department of Near Eastern studies and of its program in Jewish studies. He is the author and/or editor of many important books in constitutional law, Judaic studies, and philosophy, including Liberian Code of Laws Revised, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander,and Nine American Jewish Thinkers.

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Table of Contents

Transaction Introduction
Preface
Pt. I Freedom of Religion
1 The Roots and the Flower 3
2 What Is a Church? 10
3 Before 1776 17
4 The Virginia Experiment 21
5 The First Amendment 30
6 The Fourteenth Amendment 34
7 Is Freedom of Religion an Absolute? 40
8 The Police Power 44
9 The Principle of Separation of Church and State 52
10 The Liberty of Private Schools 82
11 The Liberty of Churches 88
12 The Law Knows No Heresy 98
13 The Right of Seek Converts 102
Pt. II Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly
14 The Freedom Not to Speak 109
15 The Freedom Not to Listen 119
16 The Right to Be Let Alone 128
17 Fighting Words 153
18 Obscene Literature 157
19 Previous Restraint 173
20 Picketing in Labor Disputes 194
21 Texas on Knowledge 202
22 Limited abridgments of Speech and Press 209
23 Test Oaths and the Freedom to Think and Believe 217
24 Loyalty Oaths and Guilt by Association 229
Pt. III Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly: The Clear and Present Danger Doctrine
25 The Original Meaning of the Doctrine 275
26 History of the Doctrine 280
27 The Doctrine Reduced to a Phrase: Dennis v. United States 307
28 The Loss of a Constitutional Jewel? 334
App Adoption of the Bill of Rights 345
Notes 363
Table of Cases 407
Afterword 415
Index 447
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