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Discourses of Freedom of Speech

From the Enactment of the Bill of Rights to the Sedition Act of 1918

Discourses of Freedom of Speech by Juhani Rudanko
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Freedom of speech is a tradition distinctive to American political culture, and this book focuses on the major debates and discourses that shaped this tradition. Today the American Bill of Rights, with its famous First Amendment, is generally taken for granted, but when James Madison proposed a Bill of Rights in 1789, the reaction among his colleagues in the first Congress was hostile. The book examines how Madison was able to prevail in spite of such opposition. It focuses on discourses connected to the Sedition Act of 1798, which represented a serious threat to freedom of speech and the first Amendment. The author sheds fresh light on key Congressional debates on the Bill of Rights and the Sedition Act by developing and applying an approach to fallacy theory that is suitable to the study of political discourse. He further focuses on criticism of the Madison administration in Federalist newspapers during the War of 1812, arguing that Madison's toleration of such criticism was important in shaping a tradition of free expression in the United States. Efforts to suppress free expression during the Wilson administration represented a serious challenge to this tradition, and the author goes on to employ fallacy theory in examining Congressional discourses for and against Wilson's policy of repression.

Palgrave Macmillan; October 2012
211 pages; ISBN 9781137030603
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Title: Discourses of Freedom of Speech
Author: Juhani Rudanko
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