Freedom of Speech
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” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” -First Amendment, U.S. Constitution.
According to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, one of the basic principles our country is based on is the freedom of speech. Because of this, as eras and ages have passed in this still young and growing country, this amendment has had a greater use then stated, as to just insure a citizen of this right; rather it is used and many times directed towards individuals who have suffered great injustices and forms of oppression in the nation and their strive for liberation. However, what speech is such thus uses to reach this liberation and freedom? What hidden phantom is it that can improve the reality of an individual being oppressed and transcend them from injustice in America? The answer is none other than the English language. It is the use of this language, written and spoken, which has altered the subjectivity lived in the past, as well as today.
Take for instance the first official document our country based its freedom on, in the The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies. This document has laid the foundation of freedom and liberation from past oppression (British injustices)and in this country still existing today. However when viewing this document, one must take careful note of not only the theme of the document, rather the text itself to fully understand the genius and skill put forward in scribing such an influential document. For instance, a couple lines from the top, the author(s) state “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration 1). First should be noticed the type of voice used in this segment of the document. From this passage, throughout the rest of the document, the voice is of plural (or as seen “We hold”). With using “We” rather than “The individuals of the colonies” or such else, the author(s) intern portray an equal status with the reader, as not only a citizen rather as a peer. A second passage from this document which personifies the use of the English language in the striving for freedom, is the use of redundancy. For instance, the author(s) state in the text the injustices the King of England has inflicted on them. Rather then writing a paragraph or two or three, the author(s) state individually each injustice staring with “He has..”. After hearing “He has, He has, He has” the reader is left only to understand the great number of faults in his rule, and the reason for seeking liberation (Declaration 1).
A second document that perfectly personifies the achieving of equality amongst individuals, is from Malcolm Xs The Ballot or the Bullet. Malcolm X, like many great orators, uses a number of literary techniques in his speech to persuade the audience of his argument. One example of how Malcolm does this, is seen as he states “No, Im not an American. Im one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.” Immediately following this, again states ” So, Im not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver — no, not I. Im speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I dont see any American dream; I see an American nightmare” (Breitman 26). As can be seen, Malcolm uses a more sympathetic approach to gaining support, or specifically speaking, an emotional appeal. By using his personal reference, like the declaration, he become one with the audience in a peer to peer relationship. This intern wins over the majority of listeners right off the bat without any statistical appeal or logical. A second approach Malcolm X takes immediately following this emotional appeal, is the use of logical. Malcolm X states “In this present administration they have in the House of Representatives 257 Democrats to only 177 Republicans. They control two-thirds of the House vote. Why cant they pass something that will help you and me? In the Senate, there are 67 senators