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The Impact of Federalism and Free Speech

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The Impact of Federalism and Free Speech

Brandie Rivera

American Constitution POL303

Instructor Robbin Mellen



The Impact of Federalism and Free Speech

        Federalism is understood to be the utmost simple form of a multi-level government that authorizes the nation and numerous states to function in a corresponding fashion (Ivers, G.,2013). When dealing with federalism not one person or agency has full power. Federalism dissolves powers that are separated through branches of government. The way federalism was made prevented dictatorship. There are many positive impacts of federalism as well as there are negative impacts especially when it comes to the people’s voice as we know it to be the first amendment freedom of speech, which also has its limitations.

        According to the first amendment “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.” (Constitution,1789). Jud Campbell states “after a century of academic debate, however, the meanings of speech and press freedoms at the Founding remain remarkably hazy” (Campbell 2017 p.247) This outline suggestively confuses our understanding of freedom of the press and freedom of speech by identifying these complex sanities of the concepts. It increases interesting inquiries on how we use the first amendment in today society.

       When examining the a few of the positive influences of Freedom of Speech, the people can express that it’s one of most valued rights of living and being an American citizen. Free speech is just one of the many makings that give America its value. Freedom of Speech permits each American to have an ability to speak. “Freedom of Speech is a basic right that many consider fundamental to the continued health and well-being of democracy” (Campbell, 2017 p.249). Democracy is a positive quality of federalism. Democracy is what makes us different from most of the world. It is stated, “Democracy means the government by people. That means that all the people should be able to have their say in one way or another in everything that affects their lives” (Campell 2017 p.248). It would be proven difficult to express that America is named the “land of the free” was not free.  

        An additional positive influence of federalism and freedom of speech would be the inquisitorial of the government benefits found in the system. Previously the Fourteenth Amendment, rested on the “idea of treating federal speech restrictions differently than state and local speech restrictions,” (Winckler, 2006). In the impartiality amongst freedom of speech amid the government, there came people that believed it was valuable to treat each division in a unique way.

        There was a person by the name of John Marshall who believed in the restrictions in state and local speeches. John who was a Supreme Court Justice, rallied for the flexibility of the state speech limitations. He thought that freedom of speech cases was a matter “primarily entrusted to the care, not of the Federal Government, but of the States,” (Winckler, 2006). This confidence positioned an emphasis on the social order to depend on their local government to suggest improved structure for their people, as the substitute of their continuously trusting on government to control the state disagreements. All the battles originate between federal and state government. “Decisions can be due in part to the defense of an individual and Fourteenth Amendment In Gitlow v. New York (1925), the court upheld the conviction of a socialist activist who had violated a state sedition law, but also held that the Fourteenth Amendment “incorporated” the Free Speech Clause to the states,” (Ivers 2013) in which the “freedom of speech and of the press are among the personal rights and liberties protected by due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States,” (Campbell, 2017 p. 300)


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