Freedom Of Speech During The Pre-Enlightenment Era

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One of our most precious rights as American Citizens is our Freedom of Speech. Our Constitution was written to protect us from being criminally punished due to beliefs, actions or speech. We were ensured that our right for expression, verbal and non-verbal, would be heard without restriction or limitation. The First Amendment regarding Freedom of Religion, Press, [and] Expression states: “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 grievance” (U.S. Const. amend. I). In this paper, I will argue that the ideas of freedom, such…show more content…
During the Pre-Enlightenment, the views of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press shaped the ideas that were part of that era. Without the ideas from thinkers, such as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, there would be no protection of freedom of expression. While they continually tried to publish their thoughts, they came upon strict censorship, religious and governmental, which made them fight for tolerance, reason, freedom of religious belief and freedom of speech. John Locke was one of the most influential thinkers during the Pre-Enlightenment and his writings catapulted him into notoriety since it touched upon the subject of religious toleration. In his “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” Locke states that “no private person has any right in any manner to prejudice another person in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church or religion. All the rights and franchises that belong to him as a man, or as a denizen, are inviolably to be preserved to him. These are not the business of religion. No violence nor injury is to be offered him, whether he be Christian or Pagan.” Furthermore, no “civil rights [are] to be either changed or violated upon account of religion.” Therefore, Locke argued that religion is not a reason to reject someone’s rights. It is a person’s right to have an opinion, religious or otherwise and as such, government cannot censor these opinions through punishment, therefore freedom of speech is a protected civil
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