Essay Example on New settlers came to America in search of freedom and Liberty









Those two concepts prevailed in their mindsets when they chose to immigrate to the New World which they hoped would assure endless opportunities for those who found their individualism to be a barrier making it impossible to live in any other environment Having been persecuted in England the Puritans main goal was to create a place where they could freely practice their religious beliefs Nevertheless through the decades the concept of freedom appeared vague to everybody concerned The reality in the colonies was rather that of discrimination oppression and even bloodshed for those who were unwilling to conform to the Puritan lifestyle If freedom of speech is taken away George Washington told a group of military officers in 1783 then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter The United States has not always preserved free speech but the tradition of free speech has been both reflected in and challenged by centuries of wars cultural shifts and legal challenges Why is freedom of speech so solidly entrenched in our constitutional law and why is it so widely embraced by the general public Over the years many philosophers historians legal scholars and judges have offered theoretical justifications for strong protection of freedom of speech and in these justifications we may also find explanatory clues The First Amendment s protection of speech and expression is central to the concept of American political system 

There is a direct link between freedom of speech and vibrant democracy Free speech is an indispensable tool of self governance in a democratic society It enables people to obtain information from a diversity of sources make decisions and communicate those decisions to the government Beyond the political purpose of free speech the First Amendment provides American people with a marketplace of ideas Rather than having the government establish and dictate the truth freedom of speech enables the truth to emerge from diverse opinions The amendment as adopted in 1791 reads as follows Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances The link between speech and democracy certainly provides some explanation for the American veneration of free speech but not an entirely satisfying or complete one For there are many flourishing democracies in the world but few of them have adopted either the constitutional law or the cultural traditions that support free speech as expansively as America does Moreover much of the vast protection we provide to expression in America seems to bear no obvious connection to politics or the democratic process at all Directed by Milos Forman and propelled by an Oscar nominated performance from Woody Harrelson The People vs Larry Flynt tells the story of the Hustler magazine founder s rise as a smut peddler and his redemption as a free speech icon

 In The People v Larry Flynt Milos Forman offers a sympathetic rendition of the many legal woes of Larry Flynt While this movie was a financial disappointment it remains worthy of scholarly attention as it contributes to an informed understanding of the complex relationship between popular culture and the freedom of expression The only offence I committed was my bad taste Larry Flynt states in his defense to the Unites States Supreme Court libel suit against the Reverend Jerry Falwell Throughout the film Milos Forman characterizes Larry as a vulgar prankster from Kentucky who made a fortune off the back of naked women and sex and also as a stubborn man fighting against a puritanical society who is unable to forgive the hypocrisy of the whole nation The film depicts Flynt s life story and the personal tragedies that influenced him Flynt survived an assassination attempt that left him paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair bound His wife Althea died from a drug overdose and AIDS As a result Flynt was left alone with his depression and personal demons 

The film oscillates between two classical American film genres biography and court drama For Milos Forman the pivitol scene of the film is when the Supreme Court decides whether freedom of speech includes the freedom to show a woman s naked butt or sexual intercourse in a Santa Claus costume The movie poses the question You don t have to agree with him but would you resign to the unlimited freedom of speech He s the kind of Hollywood creation whose redemption lies in romantic faithfulness and whose endearing almost childlike naivete makes him a sweet naughty boy caught up in a big American issue The life of the real Larry Flynt lent itself infamously to discussion of the Constitution s First Amendment As the movie shows the erstwhile strip club owner Harrelson made a name for himself when he founded Hustler Magazine an immodest show all pornography magazine that made Playboy s airbrushed pullouts look positively uptight In perpetual conflict with the courts which knew pornography when they saw it he spent most of his adult life fighting the legal system The whole affair feels like a prolonged laugh a minute love in designed to make us line up cheerfully behind Flynt s First Amendment rights And as we watch the ugly part of Flynt s life the crippling of a pornographer right where he lives below the belt and the demise of Althea who becomes addicted to her husband s painkillers before her bout with AIDS it seems we re merely undergoing a bummer section before the almost flag waving Supreme Court title fight As the movie ponderously reminds us Flynt with his lurid magazine and energetically irreverent attitude toward society exists as the ultimate test of the First Amendment Why do I have to go to jail to protect your freedom Flynt barks at a reporter But

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