12345...102030...


Free Speech | Human Rights Watch

Trump’s asylum proposal violates US law; LGBT harassment in Indonesia; torture against activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo; three million Venezuelans have fled the country; Mauritania should release unlawfully detained blogger; Indian women use #MeToo to publicly denounce their harassers; Rwandan opposition leader disappeared for one month; and where does the UN Security Council stand on Yemen?

Visit link:

Free Speech | Human Rights Watch

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

See original here:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Free Speech | NC State University – ncsu.edu

How does the First Amendment right to free speech apply to speakers who have been invited by student groups to speak on campus?

As a public institution of higher education, NC State is committed to fostering free speech and the open debate of ideas. NC State is prohibited from banning or punishing an invited speaker based on the content or viewpoint of his or her speech. University policy permits student groups to invite speakers to campus, and the university provides access to certain campus venues for that purpose. NC State cannot take away that right or withdraw those resources based on the views of the invited speaker. Only under extraordinary circumstances, as described on this page, can an event featuring an invited speaker be canceled.

Once a student group has invited a speaker to campus, NC State will act reasonably to ensure that the speaker is able to safely and effectively address his or her audience, free from violence or disruption.

Although NC State cannot restrict or cancel the speech based on the content or viewpoint of the speech, the university is allowed to place certain content- and viewpoint-neutral limits on how the speech can take place. These limits can be based on the time, place and manner of the speech.

What are time, place and manner restrictions?

Courts have long recognized that public educational institutions have the right to impose certain restrictions on the use of their campuses for free-speech purposes. Content- and viewpoint-neutral restrictions on the times and modes of communication, often referred to as time-place-manner restrictions, are common features universities implement to ensure that they can continue to fulfill their mission while allowing free expression to occur. Simply put, this means that the when, where and how of free-speech activity may be reasonably regulated if such regulation (1) is scrupulously neutral (in other words, it must apply to all speech, no matter how favored or disfavored) and (2) leaves ample opportunity for speech in alternative areas or forums. The right to speak on campus is not a right to speak at any time, at any place and in any manner that a person wishes. The university can regulate where, when and how speech occurs to ensure the functioning of the campus and to achieve important goals, such as protecting public safety.

Examples of acceptable time-place-manner restrictions include permit requirements for outside speakers, notice periods, sponsorship requirements for outside speakers, limiting the duration and frequency of the speech and restricting speech during final-exam periods.

The need to consider time, place and manner regulations is the reason the university requires students to work with the administration when setting up certain events, as opposed to students scheduling and creating the events on their own without university input.

Can NC State cancel a student-sponsored event if the administration or the campus community disagrees with the speakers views?

No, NC State is prohibited from canceling an event based on the viewpoint of the speaker.

If it is known that an event with a speaker may lead to physical violence, is that legal grounds for the university to cancel the event?

In general, NC State cannot prevent speech on the grounds that it is likely to provoke a hostile response. Stopping speech before it occurs due to the potential reaction to the speech is often referred to by courts as the hecklers veto and is a form of prior restraint. Prior restraints of speech are almost never allowed.

The university is required to do what it can to protect speakers and prevent disruption or violence. Although the university is committed to fulfilling these obligations, if despite all efforts by the university there is a serious threat to public safety and no other alternative, an event can be canceled. NC States primary concern is to protect the safety of its students, faculty and staff. NC States Police Department makes security assessments with input from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

How does NC State respond to hate speech?

NC State is dedicated to fostering free speech in an environment where members of our community can learn from one another and where all are treated with dignity and respect. The university vigorously opposes and denounces all forms of hateful speech. The university encourages faculty, staff and students to use their free-speech rights, consistent with federal and state laws, to condemn hateful speech and to help create opportunities for the campus community to understand and learn from these actions. Students who encounter hurtful or offensive speech are encouraged to reach out to university administrators, including the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), or to make a report to the universitys Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT). More information about responding to acts of intolerance may be found at the OIED and BIRT websites.

How does NC State ensure the safety of the campus community in light of freedom of speech?

NC State balances its commitment to free speech with a commitment to safety. Individuals who threaten or commit acts of violence or other violations of law may be subject to arrest and prosecution by law enforcement, as well as disciplinary sanctions imposed by the university.

Here is the original post:

Free Speech | NC State University – ncsu.edu

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

See original here:

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Read more here:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd: Free Speech

Free Speech

[[A person speaking to the reader.]]Person: Public Service Announcehment: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.[[Close-up on person’s face.]]Person: It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, – or host you while you share it.[[Back to full figure.]]Person: The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.[[Close-up.]]Person: If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.[[Person, holding palm upward.]]Person: It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,[[A door that is ajar.]]Person: And they’re showing you the door.{{Title text: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.}}

This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

View post:

xkcd: Free Speech

Free Speech | NC State University – ncsu.edu

How does the First Amendment right to free speech apply to speakers who have been invited by student groups to speak on campus?

As a public institution of higher education, NC State is committed to fostering free speech and the open debate of ideas. NC State is prohibited from banning or punishing an invited speaker based on the content or viewpoint of his or her speech. University policy permits student groups to invite speakers to campus, and the university provides access to certain campus venues for that purpose. NC State cannot take away that right or withdraw those resources based on the views of the invited speaker. Only under extraordinary circumstances, as described on this page, can an event featuring an invited speaker be canceled.

Once a student group has invited a speaker to campus, NC State will act reasonably to ensure that the speaker is able to safely and effectively address his or her audience, free from violence or disruption.

Although NC State cannot restrict or cancel the speech based on the content or viewpoint of the speech, the university is allowed to place certain content- and viewpoint-neutral limits on how the speech can take place. These limits can be based on the time, place and manner of the speech.

What are time, place and manner restrictions?

Courts have long recognized that public educational institutions have the right to impose certain restrictions on the use of their campuses for free-speech purposes. Content- and viewpoint-neutral restrictions on the times and modes of communication, often referred to as time-place-manner restrictions, are common features universities implement to ensure that they can continue to fulfill their mission while allowing free expression to occur. Simply put, this means that the when, where and how of free-speech activity may be reasonably regulated if such regulation (1) is scrupulously neutral (in other words, it must apply to all speech, no matter how favored or disfavored) and (2) leaves ample opportunity for speech in alternative areas or forums. The right to speak on campus is not a right to speak at any time, at any place and in any manner that a person wishes. The university can regulate where, when and how speech occurs to ensure the functioning of the campus and to achieve important goals, such as protecting public safety.

Examples of acceptable time-place-manner restrictions include permit requirements for outside speakers, notice periods, sponsorship requirements for outside speakers, limiting the duration and frequency of the speech and restricting speech during final-exam periods.

The need to consider time, place and manner regulations is the reason the university requires students to work with the administration when setting up certain events, as opposed to students scheduling and creating the events on their own without university input.

Can NC State cancel a student-sponsored event if the administration or the campus community disagrees with the speakers views?

No, NC State is prohibited from canceling an event based on the viewpoint of the speaker.

If it is known that an event with a speaker may lead to physical violence, is that legal grounds for the university to cancel the event?

In general, NC State cannot prevent speech on the grounds that it is likely to provoke a hostile response. Stopping speech before it occurs due to the potential reaction to the speech is often referred to by courts as the hecklers veto and is a form of prior restraint. Prior restraints of speech are almost never allowed.

The university is required to do what it can to protect speakers and prevent disruption or violence. Although the university is committed to fulfilling these obligations, if despite all efforts by the university there is a serious threat to public safety and no other alternative, an event can be canceled. NC States primary concern is to protect the safety of its students, faculty and staff. NC States Police Department makes security assessments with input from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

How does NC State respond to hate speech?

NC State is dedicated to fostering free speech in an environment where members of our community can learn from one another and where all are treated with dignity and respect. The university vigorously opposes and denounces all forms of hateful speech. The university encourages faculty, staff and students to use their free-speech rights, consistent with federal and state laws, to condemn hateful speech and to help create opportunities for the campus community to understand and learn from these actions. Students who encounter hurtful or offensive speech are encouraged to reach out to university administrators, including the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), or to make a report to the universitys Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT). More information about responding to acts of intolerance may be found at the OIED and BIRT websites.

How does NC State ensure the safety of the campus community in light of freedom of speech?

NC State balances its commitment to free speech with a commitment to safety. Individuals who threaten or commit acts of violence or other violations of law may be subject to arrest and prosecution by law enforcement, as well as disciplinary sanctions imposed by the university.

Read the original:

Free Speech | NC State University – ncsu.edu

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Go here to see the original:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

Follow this link:

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Read more here:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Free Speech

[[A person speaking to the reader.]]Person: Public Service Announcehment: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.[[Close-up on person’s face.]]Person: It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, – or host you while you share it.[[Back to full figure.]]Person: The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.[[Close-up.]]Person: If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.[[Person, holding palm upward.]]Person: It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,[[A door that is ajar.]]Person: And they’re showing you the door.{{Title text: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.}}

This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

Here is the original post:

xkcd: Free Speech

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

Read more:

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Read more:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Free Speech

[[A person speaking to the reader.]]Person: Public Service Announcehment: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.[[Close-up on person’s face.]]Person: It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, – or host you while you share it.[[Back to full figure.]]Person: The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.[[Close-up.]]Person: If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.[[Person, holding palm upward.]]Person: It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,[[A door that is ajar.]]Person: And they’re showing you the door.{{Title text: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.}}

This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

Read more:

xkcd: Free Speech

The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech …

“A searing and courageous indictment of the growing intolerance of the American leftwritten with passion and eloquence by one of the nation’s most principled and fair-minded liberals. An important book on a subject many are simply too afraid to touch.”Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prizewinning syndicated columnist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Things That Matter

“Kirsten Powers convincingly calls out her fellow liberals for being astonishingly illiberal. A great read.”Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst

“Kirsten Powers explodes and skewers ‘The Silencing’the demonizing and repression of different views, especially conservative views. Here is a liberal calling out other supposedly liberal people who claim to believe in free speech but tell all who disagree with them to shut up. Hallelujahyou are lucky to have this book in your hands!”Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Muzzled

“I salute my friend Kirsten Powers for boldly and eloquently breaking the spiral of silence on silencing.”Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Miracles and Bonhoeffer

“Tolerance and free expression are founding values of our republic and yet they’re under attack from the extreme wings of the American political spectrum. Shining a harsh light on the ‘illiberal left,’ Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech. This is an important book.”Ron Fournier, senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal

“In this examination of the multiplying attacks on freedom of speech, Kirsten Powers casts a cool eye on the damages done to politics, academia, and civic discourse by the aggressive assertion of a perverse new entitlement. It is the postulated right to pass through life without being disturbed, annoyed, offended, or discomposed by the expression of anyone else’s thoughts.”George F. Will, Pulitzer Prizewinning syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times bestseller A Nice Little Place on the North Side

View post:

The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech …

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd: Free Speech

xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Free Speech

[[A person speaking to the reader.]]Person: Public Service Announcehment: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.[[Close-up on person’s face.]]Person: It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, – or host you while you share it.[[Back to full figure.]]Person: The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences.[[Close-up.]]Person: If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated.[[Person, holding palm upward.]]Person: It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole,[[A door that is ajar.]]Person: And they’re showing you the door.{{Title text: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.}}

This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

Continued here:

xkcd: Free Speech

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

Go here to read the rest:

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Continued here:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech …

“A searing and courageous indictment of the growing intolerance of the American leftwritten with passion and eloquence by one of the nation’s most principled and fair-minded liberals. An important book on a subject many are simply too afraid to touch.”Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prizewinning syndicated columnist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Things That Matter

“Kirsten Powers convincingly calls out her fellow liberals for being astonishingly illiberal. A great read.”Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst

“Kirsten Powers explodes and skewers ‘The Silencing’the demonizing and repression of different views, especially conservative views. Here is a liberal calling out other supposedly liberal people who claim to believe in free speech but tell all who disagree with them to shut up. Hallelujahyou are lucky to have this book in your hands!”Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Muzzled

“I salute my friend Kirsten Powers for boldly and eloquently breaking the spiral of silence on silencing.”Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Miracles and Bonhoeffer

“Tolerance and free expression are founding values of our republic and yet they’re under attack from the extreme wings of the American political spectrum. Shining a harsh light on the ‘illiberal left,’ Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech. This is an important book.”Ron Fournier, senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal

“In this examination of the multiplying attacks on freedom of speech, Kirsten Powers casts a cool eye on the damages done to politics, academia, and civic discourse by the aggressive assertion of a perverse new entitlement. It is the postulated right to pass through life without being disturbed, annoyed, offended, or discomposed by the expression of anyone else’s thoughts.”George F. Will, Pulitzer Prizewinning syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times bestseller A Nice Little Place on the North Side

See the article here:

The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech …

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

See the original post:

Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …


12345...102030...