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The Myth of RightsThe Purposes and Limits of Constitutional Rights$
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Ashutosh Bhagwat

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377781.001.0001

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Free Speech and Self-governance

Free Speech and Self-governance

Chapter:
(p.79) 5 Free Speech and Self-governance
Source:
The Myth of Rights
Author(s):

ASHUTOSH BHAGWAT

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377781.003.005

This chapter examines the role of the Free Speech Clause in the constitutional structure. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” As we have already seen, the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment — like the rest of the Constitution — are not generally intended to protect individual liberty, but rather to organize and place limits upon government. Yet the First Amendment on its face — by singling out freedom of speech, press, and assembly for special protection — does appear to be concerned with rights of the individual.

Keywords:   U.S. Constitution, constitutional rights, free speech, individual rights, First Amendment

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