Freedom of Speech

Documents Decoded

by David L. Hudson Jr.


What defines "freedom of speech"—in public schools; on the Internet? What constitutes libel? How have our rights regarding freedom of speech changed over the years?

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Cover image for Freedom of Speech

May 2017


Pages 207
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Human Rights and Civil Liberties
  Politics, Law, and Government/History

Detailed yet highly readable, this book explores essential and illuminating primary source documents that provide insights into the history, development, and current conceptions of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The freedom to speak one's mind is a subject of great importance to most Americans but especially to students, minorities, and those who are socially or economically disadvantaged—individuals whose voices have historically been censored or marginalized in American society. Documents Decoded: Freedom of Speech offers accessible, student-friendly explanations of specific developments in freedom of speech in the United States and carefully excerpted primary documents, making it an indispensable resource for educators seeking to teach the First Amendment and for students wanting to learn more about important free-speech decisions. The chronologically ordered documents explore topics typically covered in American history and government curricula, addressing such contemporary issues as the regulation of online speech, flag desecration, parody, public school student speech, and the Supreme Court's recent decisions on the issue of corporate speech rights.


  • Provides readers with accessible explanations of key points in many seminal Supreme Court cases, thereby enabling a better appreciation of specific developments in freedom of speech in the United States
  • Explains confusing legal terms and phrases in plain English for nonspecialist readers
  • Offers easy-to-follow explanations from a noted First Amendment scholar and authority who has been explaining and teaching First Amendment topics for two decades
Author Info

David L. Hudson, Jr., JD, is an author and educator who has written more than 40 books, including many on the First Amendment. He is the Ombudsman for the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center. Hudson teaches at Vanderbilt Law School and at the Nashville School of Law.



"This excellent resource could be used by individual student researchers and also by teachers wishing to spark critical thinking and rich discussion in the classroom. Recommended."School Library Connection

In the News

First Amendment Center's David L. Hudson, Jr. Releases New Book on Free Speech, Newseum , 5/18/2017

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