The Freedom of Speech : Throughline Book bans, disinformation, the wild world of the internet. Free speech debates are all around us. What were the Founding Fathers thinking when they created the First Amendment, and how have the words they wrote in the 18th century been stretched and shaped to fit a world they never could have imagined? It's a story that travels through world wars and culture wars. Through the highest courts and the Ku Klux Klan. What exactly is free speech, and how has the answer to that question changed in the history of the U.S.?

The Freedom of Speech

The Freedom of Speech

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1177936377/1200556167" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Volunteers help roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the United States Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall October 20, 2010 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Volunteers help roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the United States Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall October 20, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Book bans, disinformation, the wild world of the internet. Free speech debates are all around us.What were the Founding Fathers thinking when they created the First Amendment, and how have the words they wrote in the 18th century been stretched and shaped to fit a world they never could have imagined? It's a story that travels through world wars and culture wars. Through the highest courts and the Ku Klux Klan. What exactly is free speech, and how has the answer to that question changed in the history of the U.S.?