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 U.S. Supreme Court has defined and redefined what free speech means, whether in wartime or peacetime and in many controversial contexts.
Ian Drake, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science and Jurisprudence at Montclair State University
Ian Drake is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Jurisprudence at Montclair State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Maryland in 2010. His teaching interests include the American judiciary and legal system, the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional history, and the history and contemporary study of law and society. Prior to earning a Ph.D. in history, he practiced insurance and tort law.