Creating the Bill of Rights

Freedom of Speech

Definitions of freedom of speech and of the press differed widely in the eighteenth century. Clearly, congressmen, including Roger Sherman and James Madison, recognized limits based on libel and sedition. But the core intent that people had a right to speak freely in public and private about intellectual and governmental issues without fear of governmental interference was equally strong. It remained for the courts and the legislatures to divine and define the outer edges. Where did this idea come from? »

Bill of Rights, Freedom of Speech section

Article the third . . . Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;