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Freedom of Speech

Category: 2010 High School (Grades 9-12)
Student: Laura Wojcik
School: Bishop Eustace Preparatory School Pennsauken, NJ (Camden County)
Teacher: Kathleen Burke-Esposito

Throughout American history, it is fairly easy to identify those who have acted as catalysts in social, political, or economic change. History books highlight and praise the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. They all share two significant characteristics the pursuit to better their country and the bravery to stand up for what they thought was right. Without their bravery and the freedom to act on it, it is questionable whether America's courageous figures would have accomplished all that they did. For that reason, the American citizens' right to the freedom of speech makes their lives and their posterity's lives better.

Freedom of speech not only allows for change, but it encourages freethinking and the open exchange of ideas. It fosters healthy debate, active participation in government, and reform when needed. By being able to discuss suspected problems and trying to work towards a solution, the participants are making the country a better place for themselves and for future generations.

Free speech enables regular citizens to question the majority, the elite, and the authority, even if it is the government. It helps ensure equality and justice, without the fear of retribution. Our government has been successful because free speech makes it possible to adapt and change, while seeking out previous wrongs to correct. Freedom of speech is vital to an active and thriving political system. As George Washington said, " If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."


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