Free Expression and Democracy in America
Charting the course of free expression alongside the nation’s political evolution, from the birth of the Constitution to the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Stephen M. Feldman argues that our level of freedom is determined not only by the Supreme Court, but also by cultural, social, and economic forces. Along the way, he pinpoints the struggles of excluded groups—women, African Americans, and laborers—to participate in democratic government as pivotal to the development of free expression. In an age when our freedom of speech is once again at risk, this momentous book will be essential reading for legal historians, political scientists, and history buffs alike.
“Blending together a discussion of how such notions as the public good, virtue, rights, citizenship, and value relativism are rtransformed from one era to another, Feldman subtly explains how constitutional doctrine on free expression evolves both within and across eras. . . . He offers readers a useful place to begin pondering this difficult topic. Highly recommended.”
“This book is the best comprehensive overview of the law, history, and politics of free expression in America ever published. Stephen Feldman’s history is confident, sure-footed, and scrupulously accurate. His interpretations and explanations for subtle shifts and developments in the law of free expression are convincing and, quite often, thrilling. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
“Free Expression and Democracy in America is a splendidly detailed study of free speech in the United States. It is likely to set the standard in the field for many years to come. Feldman does a masterful job integrating American democratic and jurisprudential traditions.”
“Professor Feldman details all the major free speech fights in the history of the United States from colonial days until the end of the Vietnam War. As is the case with good comprehensive histories, this book hits all the classics and suggests a number of themes that unite disparate strands of American free speech history, most notably the transition from a republican democracy to pluralist democracy.”