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Persuasive Essay On Fighting Words

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On the sidewalks of Rochester in the year 1942, Walter Chaplinsky was arrested for repeating 'You are a God damned racketeer' and 'a damned Fascist’ to a police officer. Chaplinsky’s statements violated a New Hampshire law prohibiting offensive, derisive, or annoying words or sounds said unto an individual or party in a public place. He appealed the decision of the District Court, and when it came to the Supreme Court, they came to a profound decision. Supreme Court Justice Murphy said there are certain words that could reasonably result in a fight or a breach of peace when uttered. These “fighting words” are not protected under the first Amendment. Fighting words shouldn’t be a constitutional issue because people are allowed to speak, even is it will cause a flare in tempers. There is no society in which freedom of expression is absolute (Bangstad). In America, there are six different types of limitations on speech, and fighting words is one of them. The most confusing aspect of the Fighting Words Doctrine is that there is not a strict definition on what…show more content…
Words do not directly lead to violence, in fact words are often used to settle disputes in a more constructive way than violence. One’s inability to accept the views of another person is not the fault of the latter, but the former. Fighting words can be qualified as words that are not necessary to communication of information or opinions. The Fighting Words Doctrine allows the government to favoritize and discriminate citizens, which is exactly the opposite of what the First Amendment is all about. The First Amendment keeps the government from limiting speech, especially unpopular opinions because the views of the minority are just as important as the views of the
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