During a time of war in Europe and deep political divisions in the United States, there are calls for individuals, organizations and governments to suppress speech that makes others uncomfortable, speech that is hateful, or that is considered untrue, such as fake news…

… “As Jacob Mchangama notes in “Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media,” there is a long history of group libel laws — laws against hate speech — in the United States. Prior to the Civil War, many southern states passed laws banning publications and speeches that called for the abolition of slavery on the grounds that such “incendiary” speech insulted white Americans of the South and increased their fear of violent slave uprisings. After the war, similar group libel laws were used to suppress speeches and publications advocating for equal rights for Black Americans. ”

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Jacob Mchangama is the Founder and Executive Director of The Future of Free Speech. He is also a research professor at Vanderbilt University and a Senior Fellow at The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).