Censoring Americans and so called "Hate Speeches" seem to be making news lately. MTSU Professor Larry Burriss dives into a little history about speeches that may have made people uncomfortable in the past.
Read what Dr. Burriss has to say below or listen on the above link:
We've heard a lot lately about hate speech, about attempts by liberal groups to censor speech they consider inappropriate, and about the kind of speech it takes to be a "real" American. But we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble if we ignore a few incidents from our past when it comes to determining just who a "real" American is.
On May 29, 1765, Patrick Henry made a speech in which he said, "Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First, his Cromwell; and George the Third may profit by their example." When the speaker of the convention cried "Treason," Henry went on to say, "If this be treason, make the most of it."
Some 10 years later Paul Revere spread the word as the British marched into Lexington and Concord, and the patriots said, in essence, "The British are coming to get our guns, we better shoot them before they do."
The point here is not that violence is a good thing, or that we should shoot people who disagree with us. In fact, it is just the opposite. If there is speech we disagree with, the solution to is not suppression, but more speech.
In his speech more than two centuries ago, Henry was protesting the Stamp Act, which was an attempt by the British government to put certain newspapers out of business; newspapers opposed to royal control of the colonies.
Other patriots used public speech to say the same thing: the Declaration of Independence, for instance, very clearly says if the people don't agree with what the government is doing, then they need to vote that government out of business and vote in a new one.
The whole point here is that free speech, while it may make us uncomfortable, is how free people, real Americans, let the government know what they are feeling, and they want some changes.