The guarantee of free speech enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights draws upon two millennia of Western thought about the value and necessity of free inquiry. Acclaimed legal scholar George Anastaplo traces the philosophical development of the idea of free inquiry from Plato's Apology to Socrates to John Milton's Areopagitica. He describes how these seminal texts and others by such diverse thinkers as St. Paul, Thomas More, and John Stuart Mill influenced the formation and the earliest applications of the First Amendment. Anastaplo also focuses on the critical free speech implications of a dozen Supreme Court cases and shows how First Amendment interpretations have evolved in response to modern events. Reflections on Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment grounds its vision of America's most basic freedoms in the intellectual traditions of Western political philosophy, providing crucial insight into the legal challenges of the future through the lens of the past.
""Drawing on the Socratic tradition in political philosophy as well as on British and American traditions of constitutional law, Anastaplo shows why freedom of speech is essential to republican government."" -- Eugene F. Miller, University of Georgia
""Anastaplo's understanding of the importance of thoughtful speech for good government allows him to offer chapters on individuals and books or documents that standard treatments of the first amendment do not cover."" -- Murray Dry, author of Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth: The First Amendment
""Distinctive, self-assured, audaciously unconventional, and challenging. Those within Anastaplo's circles will want to look at this book for its skilled and precise rendition of established fare. And those outside those circles, who are less familiar with Anastaplo's concerns, or even those ill-disposed toward those circles, should yet find the book worth careful reading and deliberation."" -- Ira L. Strauber, Grinnell College, Law & Politics