|About the Book|
In a stinging dissent to a 1961 Supreme Court decision that allowed the Illinois state bar to deny admission to prospective lawyers if they refused to answer political questions, Justice Hugo Black closed with the memorable line, We must not be afraid to be free. Black saw the First Amendment as the foundation of American freedom - the guarantor of all other Constitutional rights. Yet since free speech is by nature unruly, people fear it. Consequently, the impulse to curb or limit it has been a constant danger throughout American history. In We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free, two of Americas leading free speech scholar-activists, Ron Collins and Sam Chaltain, provide an authoritative history of free speech in modern America. Each chapter is an engaging narrative account of a landmark First Amendment case that foregrounds the colorful people involved-judges, plaintiffs, attorneys, defendants-and the issue at stake. Cumulatively, the chapters provide a definitive account of how the First Amendment evolved over the course of a century. Tracing the development of free speech rights from a more restrictive era-the early twentieth century-through the Warren Court revolution of the 1960s and up to the current post 9/11 era of heightened security concerns, Collins and Chaltain not only cover the history of an ideal, but explain in accessible language how the law surrounding the ideal transformed. Essential for anyone interested in this most essential of rights, We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free will be a standard work on free speech for years to come.