Commander of the “Rough Riders” cavalry during the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) made a name for himself as a robust outdoorsman, scrappy soldier, clever statesman and American nationalist. He was one of the most outspoken proponents of American interventionism of his time.
Roosevelt believed a country could only progress if men fought and died for ideals they believed in. A product of the bloody 19th and early 20th centuries, Roosevelt’s nationalist ideology fell just short of fascism.
Roosevelt penned his essay “Lincoln and Free Speech” at the conclusion of the First World War, an international conflict sparked by rampant, surging nationalisms across Europe. Just as Abraham Lincoln pressured then-president James Polk to intensify America’s war efforts against Mexico, Roosevelt thought it necessary to pressure any president who spoke of peace during time of war. His essay on presidential skepticism stemmed from his vehement dislike for Woodrow Wilson and his policy of isolationism during WWI.
Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy as a presidential skeptic rides on the coattails of his legacy as a war hero and great American executive.
The Democratic and Republican candidates both claim to be Free Speech crusaders, albeit for different reasons. They must if they want to make a serious run at becoming Commander in Chief. Americans hold their First Amendment dear, but they are increasingly losing sight of what the document means. The next President of the United States will be sure to help them figure it out.Read More
America is built on complete, uninhibited Freedom of Speech. But recent events prove this is one of many definitions that will be redefined in the coming decades. In order to reaffirm America’s values, Freedom of Speech will have to figure out where it stands in relation to two yet unexplored issues: climate change denial and media demonization.Read More
One of the loudest voices of this period is Eugene Debs, outspoken proponent of labor unions and leader of the Socialist Party. Labeled a “traitor” by the Wilson administration, Debs takes the stand at Nimissila Park in Canton, Ohio. Before him stands a crowd of hundreds of anti-war protestors. Debs knows that he can, and probably will, be arrested for the comments he is about to make. However the self-proclaimed orator has made a name for himself by speaking out against injustice. He will not be silenced by anyone, not even his government.Read More
The demand for censorship on campus has led many to wonder whether today’s college students care about Free Speech at all. While the list of anti-Free Speech examples grows longer by the day, the students at Sam Houston State University have proven that even if a majority of their peers don’t support Free Speech, they still do.Read More
During Harvard Law’s panel discussion “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the U.S.,” third-year Palestinian law student Husam El-Qoulaq inquired of visiting Israeli dignitary Tzipi Livni, “how is it that you are so smelly?” He added, “It’s regarding your odor, very smelly.” Many spectators including Law School Dean Martha L. Minow immediately rose to condemn the comment’s alleged anti-Semitic undertone. Others in the room rose in defense of El-Qoulaq’s right to Free Speech.Read More