R/I ~ AA
Madison presented his original proposal for the First Amendment on June 8, 1789. “The people shall not be deprived or abridged,” Madison wrote, “of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”
Although refined by the time of its inclusion in the Bill of Rights, the spirit of Madison’s words remained intact: freedom of speech was a prerequisite for self-government.
Writing later in 1791, Madison asserted, “Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” In other words, governments that place boundaries on free speech create societies in which the people can never truly rule.