Freedom of Speech

About this Collection

Debates over free speech are a near-constant feature of human history. They form a key part of the religion and politics of England in the 17th century. English subjects demanded the right to debate opinions freely in both speech and print, to assemble in order discuss these opinions, to engage in public debate, and to petition the king and parliament. The American colonies carried these issues over the ocean, with free speech becoming a key point in the 18th century struggle against the Crown.

Key People

Titles & Essays

A – Z List

America

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English Literature

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Ethics

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Language And Literature

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Law

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Philosophy, Psychology, And Religion

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Political Institutions And Public Administration (United States)

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Political Theory

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Social Sciences

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United Kingdom And Ireland

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United States

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Not Categorized

Areopagitica (1644) (Jebb ed.)

John Milton (author)

An edition based upon Sir Richard Jebb’s lectures at Cambridge in 1872, with extensive notes and commentaries on this famous work: Milton’s famous defense of freedom of speech. It was a protest against Parliament’s ordinance to…

Quotes

Freedom of Speech

Benjamin Constant and the Freedom of the Press (1815)

Benjamin Constant

Freedom of Speech

Jefferson’s preference for “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers” (1787)

Thomas Jefferson

Freedom of Speech

John Milton defends the right of freedom of the press and likens government censors to an “oligarchy” and a free press to a “flowery crop of knowledge” (1644)

John Milton

Freedom of Speech

John Milton on the tyranny of government licensed printing (1644)

John Milton

Freedom of Speech

John Milton opposed censorship for many reasons but one thought sticks in the mind, that “he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself” (1644)

John Milton

Freedom of Speech

Shaftesbury on the True Test of Bravery

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury

War & Peace

The Duke of Burgundy asks the Kings of France and England why “gentle peace” should not be allowed to return France to its former prosperity (1599)

William Shakespeare

Freedom of Speech

The Earl of Shaftesbury on the value of good conversations for questioning everything (1709)

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury