Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ity of every legislative enactment that seems to abridge the privileges or immunities of American citizens.

Thus have I noticed provisions in the nature of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution itself-referring to only iwo or three of the amendments. The Constitution itself, probably, could not have been adopted had not the people believed that the amendments recommended by so many of the States would soon be adopted and made part of the Constitution. May our people ever be suspicious of power and jealous of their rights.

CHAPTER VIII.

VIII.-BILL OF RIGHTS-CONTINUED.

« Take away

The construction that is given to the First amendment is that Congress cannot take measures in advance to prevent the speaking or publication of any sentiment. It can pass laws to punish slander or libel, but it cann require the writer to submit his sentiments to another for approval previous to publication.

Men' are responsible for the bad use of words just as they are for the bad use of a gun. responsibility," says Laboulaye, "and liberty becomes the right of every man to do as his caprice dictates, which is the exact definition of tyranny. The only difference between tyranny and liberty is that tyranny is not responsible for its acts, and liberty carries in its train responsibility.”

“The greatest of all our liberties,” says May, the liberty of opinion. When the art of printing had developed thought and multiplied the means of discussion, the press was subjected throughout Europe to a rigorous censorship. First the church attempted to prescribe the bounds of human thought and knowl. edge, and next the State assumed the same presumptuous office. No writings were suffered to be published without the imprimatur of the licenser, and the print

"*

[ocr errors]

* Const. U.

vol.

p. 539.

« AnteriorContinuar »