Summary Of Charlotte Anita Whitney's Speaking Freely

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It is of the utmost importance that Americans uphold and honor the true quintessential values upon which our country was founded; values which allow us to function as a democracy. Arguably the most profound is freedom of speech. So that while we indulge in the privileges of today, we regard with great respect the fight that it took to get here. Charlotte Anita Whitney fought until her final days for freedom to speak in America. In the impressive book, “Speaking Freely,” Philippa Strum outlines both the struggles and victories of Whitney’s life testament through the Progressive Era, I.W.W, and state and federal courts. In her third book of the Landmark Law Cases and American Society Series, Strum identifies two First Amendment heroes who set …show more content…
The underlying gender issues deserves more of a mention. Whitney’s role as a woman in society was significant. She not only defended the American ideals of speech, but she also unknowingly set an example for women. Her vigilance and determination in rebellion are particularly admirable, since she was a female activist during a time in which women were suppressed. Though women didn’t typically voice their opinions, when Whitney saw an opportunity for discussion, she shared her viewpoints, with no fear of the repercussions. She broke gender stereotypes and paved the way for women to voice their opinions. Strum hardly mentions anything about gender and how this played into the case, despite her expertise in women’s studies. This aspect of the book needs more attention.
In the end, the Supreme Court ruling upheld her conviction in a unanimous decision in 1927. Through this decision, Strum establishes Justice Brandeis as the second hero for his concurring opinion and beliefs about what should be considered unconstitutional speech. Brandeis refined the terms of free speech through his notion of “clear and present danger,” and urged the public to allow speech even if it was unpopular or disgraceful to some. He believed that free speech was the only way to really maintain democracy. After all, it is more dangerous to leave words unsaid rather than to expose them for the world to

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