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It’s one thing to have a 1st Amendment. It is quite another thing to figure out what it means. During the 1790s, two Founders—Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—followed the interpretation that it meant that political speech in opposition to the government was protected. But John Adams believed it was illegal to criticize the president—and that was the position he held. He used his power to imprison two dozen newspaper editors, under the Sedition Act. Throughout the 1790s, Americans fought over the…Find out more »
The First Amendment gives voice to those who might otherwise go unheard and empowers Americans to create change in our society and government. It can also be used to prevent change from happening, to silence minorities, and to keep privilege in position. Each action is seen by some part of the population as an effort to create a more perfect union. On the 230th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, join FAM Board member Peter Onuf, celebrated…Find out more »