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Theorizing the first amendment: From Roger Williams to Larry Flynt

Studies in Law, Politics and Society

ISBN: 978-0-85724-615-8, eISBN: 978-0-85724-616-5

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 31 December 2010


This chapter argues that the theoretical core of the First Amendment can be found in the concept of disestablishment, and that the meaning of disestablishment can be, and has been, extended from the religious sphere to the secular. It explores the historical development of rights of conscience and dissent, and the application of those rights to various changing historical circumstances, such as the development of political parties and the struggle over slavery. It then turns to an application of this analysis to several contemporary First Amendment controversies, including campaign finance and sexual expression.


Hirsch, H.N. (2010), "Theorizing the first amendment: From Roger Williams to Larry Flynt", Sarat, A. (Ed.) Studies in Law, Politics and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 53), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-110.



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