LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
The Free Speech STORYLINE documents the evolution of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law since the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Students taking American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Online Course, Make History Every Day!, have a chance to define free speech for their generation using our Free Speech Storyline, as they explore the historical free speech heroes featured here.
Behind each person or event on the Free Speech Storyline is a link to more detailed information. For convenience of reference to general information regarding the persons and events listed in the Storyline, American INSIGHT has included links to well-known websites. In providing such links, American INSIGHT makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information provided by such sites. On some sites, it is possible that a balanced and objective view of an individual or event may not be presented because of the omission of relevant information or the inclusion of facts that have not been substantiated. Readers desiring to learn more about individuals and events on the Free Speech Storyline are urged to consult sources that have been subject to peer review by other scholars.
Global climate activist
U.S. General; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Secretary of State
“Queen of All Media,” philanthropist, first black
multi-billionaire in American history
Soviet Empire dissolves into 15 independent states
First Amendment lawyer, scholar of early American history, lifelong defender of the Rule of Law
Nationally recognized leader of the Feminist Movement in America
Comedian, political activist, and pioneer for mocking bigotry and racism
Martin Luther King wins Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence
Robert Indiana makes LOVE during the Pop Art Revolution
Satirist whose conviction in an obscenity trial becomes a landmark for freedom of speech
Civil Rights activist arrested for objecting to the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II
Artist shocks Philadelphia with new style of Art based on radical French Impressionists
Philadelphia artist completes murals in Pennsylvania State Capitol Building and becomes America’s first female muralist.
Civil Rights activist helps found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Civil War abolishes two centuries of slavery in America
Controversial neurologist influences 20th Century with his invention of psychoanalysis.
American farmer and abolitionist who was a “station master” of the Underground Railroad in Delaware
National abolitionist leader famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings
First Black minister to address the U.S. House of Representatives and encourage slaves to rebel against their owners
The project researches the history of a 19th Century African American burial ground in Philadelphia built on land purchased in 1810 by the prominent historical figure, Reverend Richard Allen, and the founding trustees of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Women’s rights activist demands equal human rights for all women.
Abolitionist, writer and activist calls for Black unity in the fight against oppressive and unjust slavery
First Ten Amendments to the US Constitution
guarantee freedom of speech, assembly, and worship
U.S. Constitution delineates national framework of government and individual rights
Declaration of Independence separates American Colonies from the British Empire
Founder, African Methodist Episcopal Church, first independent black denomination in America
Major-general in the Continental Army under George Washington; leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution; author of Declaration of the Rights of Man.
Andrew Hamilton successfully defends publisher John Peter Zenger by establishing that jurors, not judges, determine the truth in a defense to an accusation of libel.
Quaker-born legal scholar, head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System under both Colony and Commonwealth
Poet becomes the first African-American to be published in America
English Bill of Rights limits power of the royalty; supports democratic elections; and reinforces freedom of speech for all people.
Penn welcomes immigrants to Pennsylvania
In 1735, Scottish lawyer successfully argues that Truth is a defense against charges of libel.
Penn writes “The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience” from his jail cell in the Tower of London
William Penn sent to Tower of London for Quaker beliefs.
Civil War shifts power of government from the King to the people
English Dissenter, founder of Religious Society of Friends preaches radical Quaker thought.
Executed on Boston Common for expressing Quaker beliefs
Evangelical martyr, renaissance writer, woman who refused to submit to the rules of her day
Executed for translating the Bible from Latin into English for the common man
‘The Great Charter’ establishes the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king; guarantees the rights of individuals; the right to justice; and the right to a fair trial.