The First Amendment of Freedom of Speech

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For this essay I have picked symbolic speech and a seditious speech. All of these speeches come under the First Amendment of freedom of speech. This is controversial and generates lot of arguments sometimes on a national level. So, what is freedom of speech in reality? It states that the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental …

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For my symbolic speech I have chosen the Texas Vs Johnson court case. An exceptionally disputable court case in American history was Texas vs. Johnson (1984). In 1984, a man named Gregory Lee Johnson joined the individuals who were protesting against Regan to show their opposition of exploitation of third world nations by the American Government. This act of resistance brought about in the burning of the American flag. Out of around one hundred demonstrators who were included in this protest, Johnson was exclusively charged with the crime of burning the American flag. Johnson was indicted under Texas law, which made the burning of the national or the state flag a crime. Johnson was indicted and sentenced to one year in prison and fined two thousand dollars for his wrongdoing in compensation. Johnson went to the court and his defense stated that under the symbolic speech he did not do anything wrong. And, in the end the court ruled in Johnsons favor protecting his right to free speech under the First Amendment.

I disagree with the ruling little bit because even though the punishment was little too harsh for the crime. I disagree because if someone or some group has a problem with governments actions against their own or some other country, they shouldnt start burning flags or other things. Burning a national flag is disrespectful since it is not going to change anything and it will send a wrong signal to others that doing this is a right way to show your opposition to any policy. There are lot of things which we dont agree with but that should not result in a violence or burning flags and other things. Protect can be done in a peaceful manner and there are other avenues to make your voice and opinion heard. For my seditious speech, which provokes people to tumble the government. It also targets a particular leader in the government and it was criminalized back when the Alien and Sedition Act was introduced.

Brandenburg versus Ohio case which occurred in 1969 is one of the example of sedition. Brandenburg was a Ku Klux Klan leader who planned a rally in Hamilton County, Ohio. Brandenburg called a columnist in Cincinnati before the rally was about to commence in order to communicate the occasion he was holding. Around twelve individuals from the Klan went to the occasion, at which they seared a cross. Brandenburg was dressed in a Klan uniform and conveyed a speech expressing “We are not an exacting retribution association, but if our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, keep on suppressing the white Caucasian race, it’s conceivable that there might need to be some vengeance taken. Amid the rally, around twelve individuals shouted bigot remarks and furthermore needed Jews to be sent back to Israel.

After this Brandenburg was indicted and convicted in violation of Ohios Criminal Syndicalism Act. Brandenburg appealed against his indictment but it was overthrown because it was unlawful for any organization to assemble to provoke violence, terrorism etc. to accomplish any sort of reform. He then went to appeal in the Ohio Supreme Court and they also rejected his appeal on grounds that there werent any genuine constitutional issues involved.
Brandenburg did not stop there and appealed in the Supreme Court and finally the Supreme Court overturned his conviction stating that it is against the first and fourteenth amendment. I do not agree with the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction because rallies like this can create a nationwide hatred which can lead to a greater violence across the country. No matter how much we disagree with the government and their policies we must not burn down any religious symbols or anything for that matter because it will not solve the underlying issue or issues. Any protest, rally or speech which results in an act of violence must be stopped and the person responsible treason must be punished.

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The First Amendment Of Freedom Of Speech. (2019, Apr 27). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from

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