What is Free Speech?

Freedom of speech. Sounds simple enough, right?

However, since that concept was first ratified into law as part of the Bill of Rights in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, there have been vast differences in opinion as to how exactly this phrase should be defined and interpreted.

The websites of many organizations address this question from varying perspectives and offer substantial information and links for further study. We have listed a few we find especially helpful below.

Exploring free speech from a legal or historic or international or artistic viewpoint may also help answer the most important question:

What is the value of freedom of speech to you?

Helpful Websites

Here are a few places to get your started:


Bill of Rights Institutehttp://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/

Cornell University Law Schoolhttps://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/first_amendment

Freedom Forum Institutehttps://www.freedomforuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/

Index on Censorshiphttps://www.indexoncensorship.org/about-free-expression/

United States Courtshttp://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does