On this Independence Day, recalling the Founders' views of a free press
Last updated 7/3/2020 at 9:50am
America’s Founders regarded a free press as so vital to the new nation that they took care to include that right in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Founders spoke glowingly about the press as a pillar of democracy and guarantor of liberty. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, famously wrote in 1787 that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
George Washington framed the issue of free expression in almost apocalyptic terms: “If freedom of spee...