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Free Speech Analysis

You should read the article first.

You need give me two draft versions of an introduction in 2/ full draft and then the final draft. They are should in different word documents.

For this essay I need two different way introduction. I will give you the example you can take look.

You should find the argument in the article.

The two introduction should have one same idea, but use different way to write. The example already give you.

Essay #1 Paper Topics: Free Speech Analysis (15%)

Two draft versions of an introduction for essay 1 are due on Thurs. 2/6. This paper should be 5 pages long (not including Works Cited). Please type the essay in 12 point font, double spaced, with 1” margins all around.

  • Limit the scope of you paper. You need to make sure you have a thesis statement, which is a central argument in your introductory paragraph which you support throughout the essay, and which you revisit in your conclusion.
  • Close analysis of specific passages from the class reading are important. Use MLA format for documenting sources (see handout). Include a Works Cited page at the end of your essay, including the essay you analyze and any other sources you make use of (sources not required).
  • The purpose of this paper is to analyze the issue of free speech by demonstrating that you have carefully read and understood in depth the readings we have done in class. Outside information is not required; you may bring in current events, but all sources need to be well-documented, and outside sources should only be supplemental to the focus on materials I have assigned for class. Part of your grade for each essay includes the writing process: turning in drafts, revising, and workshopping according to course deadlines. Keep all of your drafts and comments from other students together in a folder to turn in with your final essay.•Note that Canvas has a plagiarism-checking software, so be careful not to copy sentences from elsewhere without giving credit and quotations.

Questions taken from Elements of Argument page 597 (“Are Limits on Free Speech Ever Justified?” handout). Also take note of the online resources provided in the book for further research (“Are Limits on Free Speech” 598).

Please choose one the following choices for your paper topic. A significant part of how well you carry out an assignment relates to following instructions, so carefully read this handout and specifically, the topic you choose. Ask me if you are planning to bring in supplemental information; however, outside research does not take the place of the focused analysis I would like to see of readings we have done in class.

Choice 1: What are the limits of free speech? In “Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser” (583-586), the US Supreme Court ruled that children in a public school do not have the same rights as adults to use sexual speech in a public forum. What reasons did the Court give for making a distinction? What reason did Justice Marshall give for his dissent? The case was argued in 1986. Do you think the case would be treated in the same way today? (583) Consider how key terms, such as “offensive” and “disruptive,” were debated over and defined in the court opinions. You may also want to draw upon the handout readings on free speech to see how free speech has been defined in various contexts. Also note the web resources (598). Please pay close attention to and quote from “Bethel School District” and other relevant texts.



For your information: More Free Speech Cases

  • Schools may set codes to punish expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other kinds of bias, but courts may ask them to modify these speech codes so as not to violate the First Amendment right to free speech.
  • Is the truth offensive to some groups? What should the attitude of the university be, as an institution based on the search for truth?
  • To what extent should feelings and arguments that could be offensive be allowed in academic discussion? (Rottenberg and Winchell, “Resources for Teaching” 65)
  • The University of Massachusetts created a speech code that ensured “freedom from harassment based on race, color, national, or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age religion, marital status, military service status, and disability” (Rottenberg and Winchell 66). The Graduate Student Employees Organization wanted to extend this definition to include “citizenship, culture, HIV status, language, parental status, political affiliation or belief, and pregnancy status,” but the faculty thought this went too far in terms of impeding discussion of social issues in the classroom (Rottenberg and Winchell 66).
  • Freedom of speech may be treated differently on campus than on the street. The President of Emory University stated that hate speech should not be allowed on campus because these are places that foster “the habits and manners of civil society” (66). In contrast, New York State’s highest court ruled that on the street, abusive language is protected under free speech, in relation to an incident where a retarded woman was called names by her neighbor (66).
  • Teenagers in Miami went to jail for distributing a pamphlet that contained racist comments, obscene cartoons, and a veiled threat against the principal. Their defense claimed it was a satire, but the superintendent of the school states, “free speech doesn’t give anyone the right to use a word that would inflame” (66). The US Supreme Court has upheld students’ right to expression but also allowed schools to censor school newspapers and discipline students making

suggestive comments (66).

  • Should offensive ideas, such as the denial of the Holocaust, be

allowed to be taught in schools?




In Pennsylvania, a court ruled against a school’s antiharassment

policy that prohibited “jokes, name-calling, graffiti, innuendo, making

fun of a students’ clothing, social skills or surname” (66).

  • Is labeling albums that contain offensive lyrics a violation of free

speech rights?

  • Was it censorship for radio executives to ask their program directors not to broadcast certain songs after 9/11 like “When You’re Falling” by Peter Gabriel which could be taken the wrong way? (67)
  • In 1996 Congress passed the Communications Decency Act which outlawed “distribution of indecent material to minors on the Internet” (67). But in 1999 the Supreme Court ruled this Act unconstitutional. John McCain sponsored a bill to require that schools and libraries that receive federal funding for the internet must install antipornography filters.
  • To what extent should schools be allowed to control school newspapers on the web. What if they incite violence?
  • Terrorists put up propaganda and plan attacks on the web. Should they be controlled and censored, or does this violate their rights?


Coles, Robert. “Safety Lessons for the Internet.” New York Times 11

Oct 1997: A23.

This articles asks for protection for children from pornography on

the Internet.

Hanna, Judith Lynne, “Wrapping Nudity in a Cloak of Law.” New York

Times 29 July 2001: E14.

Hentoff, Nat. Living the Bill of Rights. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Rottenberg, Annette and Donna Winchell. Resources for Teaching Elements of Argument. Boston: Bedford, 2006.

Tribe, Laurence H. “The Internet vs. The First Amendment.” New

York Times 28 April 1999: A27. This article argues that surveilling the internet is unlikely to prevent violent crimes like the school massacre in

Littleton Colorado.


Last Updated on January 29, 2018

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