Freedom of the Press

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:

"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; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

On December 15, 1791 the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was ratified by Virginia, thus meeting the requirement of being ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. The freedom of the press is essential to democracy.  In the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

Learn more about this essential American right and it's importance in America's history from some the following resources in the Library's collection.

All the President's men by Carl Bernstein

Investigation and report of the burglary at Watergate that climaxed with a President's resignation.

Vivid and heart-stopping, the dispatches of World War II reporter George Weller are immortalized in a new collection of wartime reports that give firsthand accounts of the Nazi invasion of Eastern Europe.

The muckrakers and the Progressive Era by Laurie Collier Hillstrom

A detailed account of the muckraking movement in early twentieth-century American journalism and its contribution to progressive reforms, and an exploration of  how the muckraking tradition and progressive political ideas have continued through the modern era.