Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is one of your Five Freedoms protected under the First Amendment. It is protected within certain limits and includes both direct (words) and symbolic (actions). Depending on the delivery of speech or expression, there can be consequences, as the Freedom of Speech does not protect you from libel or slander. You, as an American citizen, have the freedom to exercise this right peacefully without government interference. These include all forms of speech, even those that can be objectionable to groups or individuals.

Nonverbal expressions, such as wearing a T-shirt that states an opinion or shares a message, are also protected under this right. Freedom of Speech is not only the most commonly recognized freedom housed under the First Amendment, but it also ensures that the government does not have a right in forbidding us from saying, writing or expressing what we like.

48%

Only 48% of Americans were able to name Freedom of Speech as one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.1

54%

54% of Americans agree that racist views on social media should not be allowed.2

43%

43% of Americans agree that colleges should have the right to ban controversial campus speakers.2

The First Amendment protects these five freedoms equally.

  1. “2017 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey.” Annenberg Public Policy Center, September 2017. Accessed June 13, 2018. https://cdn.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Appendix_Civics_survey_2017.pdf
  2. Winston, Andrew M. “The State of the First Amendment.” Fors Marsh Group. Accessed on June 13, 2018. https://www.freedomforuminstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/FAC_SOFA17_report.pdf