PopularSurprising SciencePersonal GrowthMind & BrainSex & RelationshipsTechnology & InnovationCulture & ReligionPolitics & Current Affairs
What can and can't you say? A brief glimpse of precedent-setting free speech cases in the United States.
15 May, 2019
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
- There's a reason you're free to wear clothing with protest statements on them today. In 1968, 19-year-old Paul Robert Cohen was arrested for disturbing the peace by wearing a jacked that read "F*ck the Draft" in a California courthouse. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that being offended by the jacket did not merit censorship.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that the history of debate in the U.S. – of who gets to say what, and how that has evolved – should be taught to every American.
- Zimmerman also says it's ahistorical for free speech to be cast as a conservative issue. For much of U.S. history, champions of free speech were those who fought for social justice to help the powerless keep the only power they had: their voices.
Keep reading Show less
Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of History of Education at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school social studies teacher, Zimmerman is the author of "Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know" (Oxford) and six other books. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, and other popular periodicals.