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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Symbolic Free Speech in American History

Committing an act of symbolic free speech is often more powerful then just simply speaking one’s mind. This presentation focuses on the subject of symbolic free speech, and whether or not the United States government has the right to regulate and censor it. To support this question, information is provided about four separate events in history that have all had their legality and morality questioned. Is burning a military draft card as a show of protest a symbolic act, or an illegal one? Can handing out anti-war literature be conceived as treason? How can wearing an armband denouncing war be considered legal while burning the American flag can be challenged by the law? All of these questions were once asked in the annals of the Supreme Court during landmark cases, and they have had profound effects on today’s legal system.

Presenters: Peter Digiorgio (Undergraduate Student)
Alan Lippa (Undergraduate Student)
Ian MacMaster (Undergraduate Student)
Brian Seward (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 9:30 am (Session I)