Art Censorship

Throughout the history of mankind, a portion of the population have felt the need to remove or suppress material that they consider to be morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable, such as books, films, or other materials. Censorship can be dated back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Some of the works of art and literature that were considered taboo a long time ago, are widely available in modern day life. William Shakespeare, Michelangelo, John Lennon, Diego Rivera, and the Venus de Milo were all thought to be morally wrong or offensive at one time or another. In the twentieth century, censorship has gone to more extreme measures by involving the government and legal system.
Many artists take for granted the freedom to create art. Most do not understand or appreciate this freedom until it is taken from them. Fortunately, this freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech” (1).The 14th Amendment makes the protections of the First Amendment applicable to state laws. Almost any attempt to regulate written or spoken word can be scrutinized by the courts to assure that it does not violate the protections provided by the First Amendment.. However, despite what on the face of the First Amendment appears to be a total prohibition on government restricting freedom of speech, not all exercises of expression or speech will be protected by the First Amendment.
Many people think that the focus of the First Amendment is to protect the freedom of speech of controversial political groups such as the American Nazi Party. Although many cases involve purely political speech, courts have also declared that artistic expression is also protected by the First Amendment. These cases are not as black and white as those involving political speech, because the United States Supreme Court, over the years, has strug…

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