Freedom of Speech


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. This course details the freedoms we enjoy under the First Amendment to the Constitution, including freedoms of speech, the press, assembly and petition.

This is an introductory level course and no prior knowledge of law is required.

The course starts with a discussion of freedom of speech and the ways in which government may regulate speech. We will discuss the protections afforded to political speech and how viewpoint discrimination by the government is almost universally prohibited.

In module 2, we will discuss various types of speech and the different levels of protection they are afforded. These include religious speech (where freedoms of speech and religion intersect), student speech, anonymous speech and even some forms of “hate” speech. We will also discuss non-verbal forms of expression that are protected by the First Amendment.

In module 3, we will turn to unprotected speech that the government may control or prohibit. This includes some forms of commercial speech (such as dishonest or misleading advertising), incitement, obscenity, criminal conspiracies and copyright infringement.

Module 4 covers the freedoms of assembly, petition and association, all protected under the First Amendment. We will cover the extent of these freedoms and when the government can place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech, assembly and protest.

Finally, module 5 covers freedom of the press. We will look at how freedom of the press intersects with defamation and the interests of the government in conducting criminal investigations. We will also look at the constitutional right to privacy and how it relates to the freedoms in the First Amendment.

When you complete this course, you will understand the First Amendment rights, their frameworks and limitations. You should also understand how these rights have developed and been interpreted by the Supreme Court in many series of landmark cases.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.


Introduction to the Freedom of Speech - Module 1 of 5


Protected Speech and Expression - Module 2 of 5


Unprotected Speech, Module 3 of 5


First Amendment Rights of Assembly, Petition and Association, Module 4 of 5


Freedom of the Press and the Right to Privacy, Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.