The founders of the United States understood how important Freedom of speech was to the United states and knew that if freedom of speech could be ended, the consequences could be disastrous. Benjamin Franklin understood that for a nightmarish dictatorship to take root they have to first get rid of freedom of speech.
Benjamin Franklin said “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
George Washington understood a dictator who controlled the press and all speech could inflict great harm on a civilization. George Washington said “For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.”George Washington, Address to the officers of the army, March 15, 1783
In countries like Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and Communist China, it was very important to first control the press and speech in the country and then end the people’s ability to defend themselves.
After ending freedom of the press and all dissenting speech and their right to bear arms, these countries were able to commit mass genocide.
Dictators would make sure that no one could be allowed to say anything that was contrary to their views.
People have pointed out that while governments should not curtail freedom of speech, there is nothing to stop companies or organizations from restricting freedom of speech or even freedom of thought. Many large Companies have used their influence to silence people on social media and have been successful in punishing social media networks that allow different political views of the world.
James Madison who is one of the founders of the country was very clear on this matter when he said “The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable”. James Madison knew that people should not be barred by anyone whether it be a company, organization or government. All people have a right to speak and write their sentiments.
Thomas Jefferson thought that if there was a choice between freedom of press or government, he would choose the press as being more important to society. Thomas Jefferson said “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.
The founders of the United States understood how important Freedom of speech was to the United states and knew that if freedom of speech could be ended, the consequences could be disastrous for our country. While tyrannies have engulfed and enslaved the world, the United States can maintain freedoms and avoid the pitfalls of so many nations. May this nation heed its founders and stand as a beacon of light to all nations to follow and continue in freedom of speech and of the press.