In the united states freedom of speech and expression is strongly protected from government restrictions by the first amendment to the united states constitution many state constitutions and state and federal laws. The first amendment states in relevant part that congress shall make no lawabridging freedom of speech freedom of speech includes the right not to speak specifically the right not to salute the flag west virginia board of education v barnette 319 us 624 1943. The united states has not always preserved free speech see my illustrated history of american censorship for more on that but the tradition of free speech has been both reflected in and challenged by centuries of wars cultural shifts and legal challenges. Understanding freedom of speech in the united states of america what the 1st amendment to the constitution does does not protect in the united states if you defame someone truth is an affirmative defense even if your actions lead to their total financial ruin and destruction
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